Basic income guarantee conference to he held in Sudbury, Ontario

By Kate McFarland

The Northern Policy Institute of Ontario has organized a conference to explore the idea of a basic income guarantee. The conference will take place in Sudbury from October 5-6.

The BIG Conference defines a “basic income guarantee” (BIG) as “a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum level of income” — or what is sometimes referred to as a “guaranteed minimum income” (GMI) or “guaranteed annual income” (GAI). The government of Ontario has been moving forward to test such a policy, with a trial set to begin by April 2017. No location has yet been announced for the trial.

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Optimism in the basic income movement: A reflection on the World Social Forum in Montreal

By Tara Kainer

After attending three out of the four sessions offered on basic income at the World Social Forum in Montreal last month, I found the mood to be optimistic and forward looking. 

The sessions were well-attended and more than one person stated that while three to five years ago no one seemed to know about basic income, it was now gaining momentum exponentially. They were heartened to find so many like-minded people discussing basic income in one room.

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Physician says everyone has the right to live a decent life

By Roderick Benns

A family doctor says basic income policy represents an acknowledgment “of the right to live a decent life.”

Dr. Danielle Martin, a family physician and Vice President Medical Affairs and Health System Solutions at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, says increasing social assistance amounts would not achieve that goal because of the punitive way the welfare system operates.

“Rather than loading all kinds of rules onto people about their eligibility and policing their behaviour,” basic income allows for the living of a decent life that “decouples income support from complex eligibility rules.”

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Federal government to test poverty reduction ideas in 6 places across Canada

The federal government will go to six cities in the coming months to test ideas that could end up in a promised national poverty reduction strategy.

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement Friday in the first city on the list: Saint John, N.B.

The project will see federal officials run case studies in Saint John, Trois-Rivières, Que., Toronto, Winnipeg, Yellowknife and Tisdale, Sask., which was chosen so federal officials would have a rural community to test ideas.

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Finland and basic income: a potential societal transformation

By Mikko Annala

Finland is about to launch an experiment in which a randomly selected group of 2,000–3,000 citizens already on unemployment benefits will begin to receive a monthly basic income of 560 euros (approx. $600).

That basic income will replace their existing benefits. The amount is the same as the current guaranteed minimum level of Finnish social security support. The pilot study, running for two years in 2017-2018, aims to assess whether basic income can help reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.

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A basic income would be a great first move toward recognizing social inequities

By Roderick Benns, Waterloo Region Record

Social justice thinker R.W. Connell once said: "Statistically speaking, the best advice I would give to a poor child eager to get ahead in education is to choose richer parents."

Connell's advice goes beyond education, though. Income connects not only to education outcomes, but to our very health and wellness. That's why it was heartening to hear federal Health Minister Jane Philpott speak recently of "social inequity" as the greatest barrier to improving health for Canadians. In her recent remarks to the Canadian Medical Association, Philpott cited "social factors" as a key issue that needs to be addressed to improve health.

This is the primary reason we must move forward with a basic income guarantee for Canadians.

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New report out for Ontario pilot on basic income

The long-debated idea of a guaranteed minimum annual income for Canadians moves a small step closer to reality this week.

Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal delivers a report this week on how the "basic income pilot" announced in Ontario's February budget might work.

The Ontario government earmarked $25 million this fiscal year to establish a pilot project in the province sometime before April 2017, and appointed Segal in late June as an unpaid special adviser.

In an interview with CBC News, Segal gave some hints about his report, which is expected to be made public in mid-September for three months of public consultations.

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