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
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin has spoken out in favour of a basic income guarantee, saying there is “merit” in this policy tool to help lower income Canadians.
Martin is the first former prime minister to speak out about this policy, currently being studied in Ontario through a new pilot project set up in three centres across the province.
“I think there is merit in it,” he tells the Precarious Work Chronicle.
“Studies have shown it could work well for some families who need this money to bring them up to a certain level,” Martin says.
A basic income, also known as a guaranteed annual income, is a payment to eligible individuals that ensures a minimum level of income to meet basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.Read more
Ashly Rigby, 36, had a dream of one day becoming a nurse. No one in her family had any post-secondary education and she was determined to be first, according to what she told herself in Grade 11. She didn’t expect to be pregnant during the Grade 12 school year, though, a fact that “derailed everything.”
The Vancouver, B.C. woman descended into depression and lived solely on income assistance for many years. Now, working part-time with dreams of school this fall, she hopes to reverse her fortune in the very near future.Read more
Having the power and freedom to leave unhealthy relationships is just one of the reasons a Yellowknife woman supports the idea of a basic income guarantee for all Canadians.
Christine Barker, 46, says 15 years ago she got involved with a man who couldn’t hold down a job and who she later realized had undiagnosed mental health issues. This caused a great deal of upheaval and, in tandem with other reasons, led to a downward spiral of poverty for her. It is a freefall she has not yet been able to halt.
Christine was 10 years old when her mother and father uprooted their middle class lives in Ottawa for the charm and challenge of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Her father, a civil servant, had gotten a federal government transfer. Her mother was also a civil servant and found a new government job within six months of being in the small capital city.Read more
More than one in five UK workers, over seven million people, are now in precarious employment according to this analysis of official figures by John Philpott. Since 2006, the numbers on zero-hours contracts has grown by three-quarters of a million are and over 200,000 more are working on temporary contracts. My own recent research has found that some two and a half million adults in the UK may be working for online platforms like Uber, Taskrabbit or Upwork at least once a month, with about 1.2 million people earning more than half their income from this kind of work. A growing proportion of the population is piecing together an income from multiple sources, in many cases making even the concept of a fixed occupation anomalous.Read more
Fifty years ago, MPP Cheri DiNovo’s father was involved with the Basic Income movement in Canada.
That shows the longevity of an idea that has refused to die, she says, as Ontario and other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world contemplate moving forward with some kind of minimum income guarantee.
While the NDP’s DiNovo is very supportive of the idea of a Basic Income for Ontarians, she is adamant it must bring people over the poverty line and that it be created in tandem with stronger workplace standards.Read more
By Scott Santens
Consider for a moment that from this day forward, on the first day of every month, around $1,000 is deposited into your bank account – because you are a citizen. This income is independent of every other source of income and guarantees you a monthly starting salary above the poverty line for the rest of your life.
What do you do? Possibly of more importance, what don’t you do? How does this firm foundation of economic security and positive freedom affect your present and future decisions, from the work you choose to the relationships you maintain, to the risks you take?
From Davos, listen and watch a conversation with Guy Standing, author of The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class and other works, on the rise of a financially insecure and alienated class.
Guy Standing warns that the rapid growth of the precariat is producing instabilities in society. It is a dangerous class because it is internally divided, leading to clashes with immigrants and other vulnerable groups. Its members may be susceptible to the siren calls of political extremism. He argues for a new politics, in which redistribution and income security are reconfigured and in which the fears and aspirations of the precariat are made central to a progressive strategy.
A CBC story has highlighted that more than three-quarters of the world’s workforce have insecure, part-time, or temporary jobs, according to the International Labour Organization. That means that only 25 percent of the world’s population is doing stable, full-time work.
To watch the video, click here.
The Toronto Star
The two richest Canadians have the same amount of wealth as the poorest 30 per cent of the country combined, according to a new report from a group of international aid organizations.
The Oxfam report says the wealth of billionaire businessmen David Thomson and Galen Weston Sr. equals that of about 11 million Canadians.
The group of organizations, under the banner group Oxfam International, published its report “An Economy for the 99%” ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which begins Tuesday. The report also said that the world’s eight richest people have as much wealth as the poorest 50 per cent of the world’s population.Read more
If there’s one thing Prime Minister John A. Macdonald could do exceptionally well, it was to recognize where the political winds were blowing. That’s not a criticism. The most able of politicians help move societies where they actually want to go anyway. Leaders and governments merely ensure a smooth transition, if they are doing their jobs well.
As we get set to celebrate Macdonald’s birthday on Jan. 11, there is a fascinating development occurring on the policy front in Canada that our sage first leader would have already seen coming – the implementation of a basic income policy.Read more