Quarter of basic income recipients spent time volunteering: Survey

Roderick Benns

OBIP Chronicles — A quarter of the people who were collecting basic income chose to volunteer at least some of their time, once they felt more financially stable, according to a survey about the Ontario Basis Income Pilot.

Proponents of a basic income have long maintained that when people have a financial foundation they are more likely to give of their time to others.

More than 1,500 of the 4,000 basic income pilot recipients agreed to help the Basic Income Canada Network and the Ontario Basic Income Network continue working for a basic income. BICN conducted a survey of those people. Well over 400 responses have already come back, representing more than 10 per cent of those receiving basic income in Ontario, allowing us to write this special series. The Lindsay Advocate, working in cooperation with BICN, is pleased to be the media partner highlighting these stories. Names have been changed to protect identities.

Collette, a woman in her 30s with three kids under the age of 18, started to volunteer at the local school and at a nearby long term care home.

Janice is a divorced woman in her 40s who worked part-time, and went back to school while collecting basic income.

“Being a basic income recipient allowed me to better be able to enjoy life, pay my bills, volunteer and be mobile,” she says in the survey.

Mary Anne is a woman in her 50s. She says in the survey that it was “great to not have to worry as much.”

“It gave me more freedom (and) I had transportation funds to volunteer in my community.”

The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was initiated by the Province in 2017 in three areas – Hamilton region, Thunder Bay area, and Lindsay. Four thousand people were involved, with 2,000 of them in Lindsay to see if there would be a community-wide effect, given the smaller population (20,000 people) of the Kawartha Lakes centre. It was set to run for three years. When the PC government was elected in the summer of 2018, it cancelled the program despite a campaign promise to allow it to continue, announcing that payments will only run until March of 2019.