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
New research from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy suggests that a universal basic income would not cause people to leave the workforce.
Such proposals, including one considered by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign, include direct payments that ensure each resident has a baseline of income to provide for basic needs. While previous research has focused on the effects of these unconditional cash transfers at the micro level—for example, winning the lottery— this study examined their large-scale impact by looking a government program that has supported Alaska residents for the past 25 years.
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
An American charity launched this week a 12-year-long experiment in Kenya involving 6,000 people and $30 million to test the potential success of basic income. By the year, 2030, researchers will have troves of data on how basic income has affected thousands.
The founders of the New York-based nonprofit GiveDirectly distinguish their basic income experiment from others by selecting people in “extreme poverty” for their study, the early results of which they expect to receive “within the next year or two.”Read more
One of Canada’s most well-known inequality fighters, Senator Art Eggleton, inspired members of the Ontario Basic Income Network recently who were in Lindsay for their annual general meeting.
In his opening remarks, Eggleton wondered aloud if Lindsay would become known as “the Dauphin, Manitoba of this decade.”
Dauphin was a small town in Manitoba which was chosen for a program called ‘Mincome’ (minimum income) in the 1970s, which helped establish a reliable minimum income for about a third of the people who lived there.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
Poverty, especially child poverty, is a huge black mark in my hometown of Surrey and in British Columbia and Canada at large. We know that poverty leads to poor health and social outcomes for children in later years. Poverty is essentially a waste of human resources. It ensures that a segment of the population will not be living up to their potential.
Thousands of people are forced to take low-wage jobs with no benefits or pension to pay the bills. They are unable to pursue their true passion in life, whether that is to go to school or start a new company or volunteer in the community.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
From my kitchen window I could see the two girls were about four and six years old.
They had just hopped out of a rusting, black Suzuki Esteem, circa 2001 maybe, making a beeline for our large recycling bin.
The father was grey, unshaven and hunched as he swiftly followed them. The youngest eagerly picked up a pop can and the father slapped it out of her hand back into the bin.
I could see him pick up a green Steam Whistle can and it was clear that he was explaining to her that the beer can was the real goal.Read more