By Toni Pickard
An article recently published in the UK's Guardian newspaper, entitled ‘The basic income is a dangerous idea that gives the state power to control every penny that citizens spend’ (May 15, 2106) is based on a number of misconceptions about how a properly designed basic income guarantee would work.
First, in Ontario, Canada, as an example, right now the state does in fact dictate how the benefits paid out through Provincial welfare systems are spent. In some provinces, the inadequate amount allotted for rent is paid directly to landlords rather than to the recipient, thereby enforcing state control. Basic income, in contrast, is meant to end exactly that kind of micromanagement of people's lives. It removes all state control, distributing the income without conditions (apart from some residency requirement) and regardless of work status. Autonomy and dignity via freedom from state oversight are essential aspects of basic income design.Read more
When pregnant women were trusted with $81 a month in prenatal benefits, no strings attached, their babies' physical health did better, say Manitoba researchers, who would like similar income supplements to be offered across Canada.
The Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit offers support to families with a net household income of less than $32,000, on a sliding scale.
In Thursday's online issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers say babies born to low-income women who received the benefit in 2003 to 2010 did better in terms of low birth weight and prematurity than a similar group born to low-income women who didn't.Read more
By Roderick Benns
Kingston, Ontario’s Basic Income advocacy group is putting forward a range of activities and ideas to educate the public and to network with their colleagues from other areas of the province and country.
Toni Pickard, a long-time organizer for the Kingston group, says they have just completed work on a new website, and something they are calling a “Charter for Basic income.”
“It’s an effort to set out our picture of what principles a basic income program should be guided by,” she says.
Pickard notes that some of the points build on a November workshop agreement, as well as aspects of the design and delivery process the group feels are important.Read more
By Roderick Benns
One of the key organizers for the upcoming North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, says it’s time to go from discussing a “good idea” to figuring out how to make it a reality.
Dr. James Mulvale, Dean of the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba and a basic income scholar and advocate, says conference participants intend to go beyond discussing Basic Income as a somewhat vague understanding “to mapping out how to make it a reality through cooperation among various levels of governments and civil society organizations.”Read more
The recent announcement that the provincial government will fund a basic income pilot project had Windsor’s politicians clamouring to make the case that our city, struggling with chronically high unemployment and persistent poverty, was the perfect proving ground for a seemingly radical approach to public spending.
While pushing for the pilot project was an opportunity any elected leader would take, it’s perhaps a signal that their often-touted dedication to creating jobs and reducing unemployment is at odds with the trends of a changing world.Read more
Canada is seeing increased public and government support for a guaranteed minimum income, with a pilot-project set for 2017.
As automation, digitization, and globalization alter labour market dynamics, calls are increasing for governments to augment their poverty strategies. One such proposal is the introduction of a guaranteed minimum income in order to provide for essentials and reduce poverty. Canada is planning a pilot project in Ontario to study the potential benefits of a guaranteed minimum income scheme.
2016 marks turning point for guaranteed minimum income in Canada
The provincial budget released by Ontario’s Liberal government in March includes a plan to launch a guaranteed minimum income pilot project.Read more
By Roderick Benns
NDP Winnipeg MP Dan Blaikie says he is proud of his party’s recent support of the principle of basic income and says now the work beings to actually define what this means.
Blaikie – considered to be one of the most promising new MPs in Parliament – says he has “long been interested in the idea.”
He points out that the recent resolution in support of basic income at the party’s Edmonton convention was to affirm the party’s support for the concept, study it further, and to support a pilot project.Read more
By Roderick Benns
The chair of the Basic Income Canada Network, Sheila Regehr, will be speaking alongside other distinguished panelists at a community forum on Universal Basic Income in Toronto in June.
In addition to Regehr, MP Adam Vaughn (who also serves as a parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) will speak, as will Josephine Grey, director of Low Income Families Together (LIFT).
John Clarke, organizer of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty is also a panelist. The panel discussion will be moderated by Jacquie Chic from Ryerson University.
She is also a board member of Kensington-Bellwoods Community Legal Services (KBCLS) who are sponsoring the discussion.Read more
By Aaron Broverman -- Yahoo Finance
When the Ontario Government included a paragraph in the 2016 budget discussing plans for a pilot program testing universal basic income, those on welfare and disability income support probably took notice.
Currently, if you’re collecting monthly Ontario Works payments – the province’s version of welfare – you receive a maximum between $681 per month as a single person and $1,408 as part of a couple with two children. The maximum monthly cheque for those on the Ontario Disability Support Program [ODSP] is a bit higher, between $1,110 for a single person and $2,025 for a couple with two children. Neither payment is anywhere near the average cost of living in Ontario. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which sets the living wage for the province ($18.52 per hour, per person), puts average expenses for a family of four in Toronto at $65,850.55 a year. The ODSP payment at its maximum would pay out $24,300 a year.Read more
By Andrew Flowers for FiveThirtyEight
Daniel Straub remembers the night he got hooked on basic income. He had invited Götz Werner, a billionaire owner of a German drugstore chain, to give an independent talk in Zurich, where Straub was working as a project manager for a think tank. He had read an article about the radical proposal to unconditionally guarantee citizens an income and spent a few years casually researching the idea. Straub had heard Werner was a good speaker on the topic, and that night in 2009 he was indeed excellent at connecting with the audience, a sold-out house of 200. “It was a very intense evening; people were paying attention,” Straub recalled.Read more