James Collura is receiving a basic income through the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Program, in Hamilton. He has been using it in a way that serves his community. Journalist Roderick Benns interviews Collura on exactly how – and why – he is using his new income floor in this way.
Benns: How did you find yourself in the position you were in so that you were able to begin receiving basic income?
Collura: I studied economics at McMaster and graduated with a BA. Like most students in my program, I realized my education didn't exactly qualify me to be an economist or execute any valuable job-skill. I ended up working as a teller at a bank, where I found the most valuable aspect of my job was the personal interactions I had everyday. Meeting new characters, discovering their needs, witnessing their spending habits and lifestyles, and getting to know people from all walks of life. I had a big interest in the future of technology, because at my age, I need to anticipate what’s to come - the future of jobs in an automated world. At the bank, I realized my job was quickly becoming 'app-ified', and my top assignment was to convert customers to 'digital banking'.Read more
The spotlight is shining on Hamilton's role in a three-year experiment where about 1,000 people in the city living in poverty will receive a no-strings attached base income.
Media reports on the basic income pilot project in Ontario have recently been published in the U.K. and U.S., and a correspondent from PBS NewsHour was in town this week to interview participants.
Attention may increase with the Basic Income Congress coming to the city in May.Read more
The Lindsay Advocate
In the three cities in Ontario where basic income is being tested – which includes Lindsay – there are still about 1,200 open spots for lower income people.
If you’re working or own your own business but just not earning enough, or if you’re on Ontario Works or disability, you might be eligible.
Potential basic income recipients must live in Lindsay and have been living there for at least the past 12 months. As well, you must be:
- 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
- living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if you’re single or under $48,000 per year if you’re a couple)
Former security guard Tim Button considers how a sudden increase in his income from an unusual social experiment has changed his life in this Canadian industrial city along the shore of Lake Ontario.
Sipping coffee in a Tim Horton’s doughnut shop, Button says he has been unable to work because of a fall from a roof, and the financial boost from Ontario Province’s new “basic income” program has enabled him to make plans to visit distant family for Christmas for the first time in years. It has also prompted him to eat healthier, schedule a long-postponed trip to the dentist and mull taking a course to help him get back to work.Read more
The mayor of Hamilton, Fred Eisenberger, says his gut tells him basic income is “the wise thing to do” for an employment landscape that is rapidly changing.
Eisenberger told Case for Basic Income that he would like to think that all political parties, both provincial and federal, understand the need to do something different to guard against sweeping economic change.
“It’s about the changing employment environment and any self-respecting government should recognize that,” he says, pointing out he hopes if there is a government change in Ontario that the pilot would be allowed to continue.Read more
About two thirds of basic income sign-ups so far have come from the so-called ‘working poor,’ a fact Lindsay residents who are struggling should take note of as it begins to unfold in the small Kawartha-area town.
Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services, Helena Jaczek, and her counterpart, Peter Milczyn, the minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy and minister of housing, held a press conference in Hamilton earlier this morning to update the public on the basic income pilot.Read more
Ursula Samuels wants to know that basic income will help Hamiltonians on social assistance get ahead.
The 60-year-old mother who attended an information session at the Hamilton Central Library said she receives Ontario Works, and between juggling rent, food and other responsibilities, "it's a struggle every month to get by."
"What I want to see is that people would be better off," she added.
Karen Glass, assistant deputy minister at the Poverty Reduction Strategy Office, spoke about the province's three-year basic income pilot and fielded questions from the crowd of more than 75 people Monday night.
She explained that people on social assistance would have to forego their Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program payments to become part of the basic income study, but they would keep their health and dental benefits.Read more
There was a thick overlay of snow on the ground the day 7-year-old Sebastian Borjas and his family landed in Canada in 2005, tired from their long journey from Honduras. The previous night’s spring snowstorm was perhaps a harbinger of the challenges that were to come.
They came for a better life, the dream of most every immigrant family to Canada. In Honduras they had grown weary of the political instability, kindled by intrusive American foreign policy, with a backdrop of gang violence.Read more
Saying there are “new forces at play” in the economy, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Hamilton/Brantford, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay are the selected communities for the Province’s basic income guarantee project.
Wynne announced details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot today in Hamilton. The three-year study will test how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects for those living on low incomes, while providing greater security for them and their families.
In her lead-up remarks to the announcement, the premier said although Ontario’s economy is showing many signs of improvement, there are also many people in the province who are not feeling that growth in their everyday lives and feel pessimistic about their life direction.Read more