Basic income an 'absolute necessity' to deal with deep poverty: Dennis Raphael

By Roderick Benns

A basic income guarantee is not a magic bullet for all forms of economic deprivation in our society, according to a York University professor – but it’s absolutely necessary for the most severe instances of poverty.

Dr. Dennis Raphael, a professor of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto, says the people in poverty within the bottom 10-15 percent “suffer profoundly.”

“A basic income is a chance to remove the most egregious forms of poverty,” he says.

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Sheila Regehr to tackle labour, work incentive questions at Guelph basic income event

By Roderick Benns

Basic Income Canada Network Chair Sheila Regehr will tackle some of the common challenges she hears about basic income policy at an event in Guelph this Wednesday, Sept. 28th.

Regehr is the keynote speaker for an evening hosted by the Guelph Community Health Centre, the Guelph and Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, and CFUW Guelph.

The key theme of the evening is ‘Can a Basic Income Guarantee Eliminate Poverty?’ After Regehr speaks, she will then be in conversation with Peter Clutterbuck, from the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Noah Zon, Director of Policy and Research, Maytree, and Dr. Nicola Mercer, Medical Officer of Health, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. 

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Wealth of discussion, events and academic papers in Canada for Basic Income Week and beyond

By Roderick Benns

The ninth annual Basic Income Week surpassed all expectations in Canada with a plethora of basic income-related activities of note. This reflects only a limited cross-section of activities: 

Ontario Basic Income Pilot 

Nowhere is the discussion about basic income more developed than in Ontario where the government is poised to release the parameters of a basic income pilot this fall. No one knows yet where the pilot will be set up, or in how many locations, nor the number of people this will affect. Retired Conservative Senator Hugh Segal acted as special adviser for the project and has already reported back to the Province on his recommendations. 

Segal has long been an advocate for a basic income guarantee and has spent 40 years of his professional life arguing for the policy as a way to mitigate poverty.

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Basic income: The social safety net we don't want to do without

By John Rondina

Part Two

If we hadn’t innovated in the past with respect to our social policy, we would have no Canada Pension Plan. We would have no Employment Insurance. We would have no Guaranteed Income Supplement. These safety nets of our present were unaffordable in our past according to their critics at the time.

Often, what we say is unaffordable is because of a current favouritism to one or multiple sectors of the economy. When we revaluate distribution of income, what seemed impossible or unaffordable begins to look like one giant step forward for humankind.

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Let's design a better society with a basic income guarantee

By John Rondina

Part One

Some critics of basic income argue that people will become lazy should we implement basic income in Ontario or Canada. Is there any logic to such thinking?

Is it logical to use deprivation to keep people in jobs that don’t pay? Do we really expect a growing precariat to believe in society if societal attitudes are to carry a big stick when it comes to poverty? Does the mother, the student, the recently unemployed, the person now working a low wage believe in social justice? What happens when people stop trusting in governments, the stock market and other institutions?

We used to use a whip to drive our horses and our buggies forward. Is that how we want to treat our fellow human beings? By using a big stick?

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Jeremy Corbyn to investigate idea of universal basic income

The Guardian

UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn will use a speech in London on Thursday to announce that Labour will research the radical policy of universal basic income, which would replace means-tested benefits with a flat-rate payment.

Some on the left see the idea, which would guarantee every citizen a taxpayer-funded income, as the best way to protect low-paid workers against the insecurity of today’s labour market.

Corbyn will say: “Technological changes and the so-called ‘gig economy’ can mean increased insecurity and uncertainty across our society. It is one of the reasons I am looking at policies that can help provide more security for working households.

“One such possible answer may be the often-discussed suggestion of a universal basic income.” 

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Dr. Gary Bloch on basic income and health through the mitigation of poverty

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Dr. Gary Bloch about basic income. Bloch is a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and co-Chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Committee on Poverty and Health.  His clinical, educational, program development, and research interests focus on the intersection between poverty and health, and specifically on what primary care providers can do to address poverty as a health issue.

Benns: We’re set to introduce a pilot on basic income here in Ontario. Are you optimistic this multi-year project will lead to a full-fledged model for the province and a measurable increase in people’s health?

Bloch: I am cautiously optimistic. I think a pilot like this is a big investment, and wouldn’t be undertaken if there weren’t at least some intent to follow up on the findings longer term.

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