Basic Income and Ontario’s Pilot Consultations: Ten Benefits of Basic Income

Posted on December 15, 2016 in Social Security Policy Context – blogs/alison-homer/basic-income-and-ontarios-pilot-consultations-ten-benefits-basic-income?
December 7, 2016.   ALISON HOMER

Get Involved and Have your Say!

A Basic Income model is an innovative approach to providing income security. It guarantees all of its citizens a regular predictable income sufficient to live a basic but dignified life.

The idea of a Basic Income has been around for a long time. The idea of a minimum income first appeared at the beginning of the 16th century < >, and a pilot was conducted in Canada in 1974 < >. To gain a basic understanding of Basic Income, the Basic Income in Canada Network’s Frequently Asked Questions provides a concise overview of the approach, including what it is and how it can make a difference.

Hon. Hugh SegalThe Government of Ontario has committed to conducting a Basic Income pilot project as part of a comprehensive reform to the province’s social assistance programs. The Honourable Hugh Segal was appointed as an advisor on the design and implementation of this Basic Income pilot project < >, and has stated that “the potential for a Basic Income to transform income security in Ontario and across the country is tremendous.”

The pilot aims to test whether Basic Income is an effective way of lifting people out of poverty and of improving health, housing and employment outcomes. It will study different ways of delivering income support and reducing poverty in Ontario, and, based on results, will decide whether to make it permanent.

The announcement of the pilot project generated much enthusiasm from poverty reduction practitioners and leaders on the Basic Income discussion in Canada (The stage is now set for a Basic Income for all; Ontario government to try Basic Income guarantee pilot).  < >

Details on who would be eligible for such a program, as well design, delivery, and evaluation considerations, will be informed through a range of public consultations. Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services, has emphasized the government’s commitment to “hearing as many views as possible, including from people with lived experience, community partners and experts, to ensure [they] get it right”.  < >.  The government has also committed to working with Indigenous partners, to “tailor a culturally appropriate engagement process that reflects the advice and unique perspective of First Nations, urban Indigenous, Métis and Inuit communities”.

The Honourable Hugh Segal’s discussion paper, Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income Pilot Project for Ontario < >, was written to support, guide and inspire these consultations. This paper addresses how Basic Income can help reduce poverty, summarizes activities that have been conducted elsewhere, introduces Ontario’s Basic Income project and the consultation process (including implementation considerations, and what it should and should not test), draws conclusions, and summarizes recommendations.

Details on Ontario’s Basic Income Consultations

The Government of Ontario is currently seeking public input to help inform the design of their Basic Income pilot. The closing date for submissions is January 31, 2017.

What questions are being asked through the consultations?

Who should be eligible?
Which communities should be included in the study?
How should the benefit be designed?
How should the project be delivered?
How should the project be evaluated?

How can I participate?

Attend one of the regional in-person discussions being held across Ontario between November 22nd, 2016 and January 31st, 2017.  < >
Submit feedback online. < >.  From this page, you will be able to submit your feedback as either a member of the public,  < > or as someone who works in or is interested in this area < >.
Email your ideas directly < >.

Where can I get more information?

Read the Basic Income Consultation Guide.  < >

Basic Income Considerations

Even the strongest proponents of Basic Income acknowledge that for a Basic Income project to be successful, that is has to be designed and executed carefully. The Mowat Centre, for example notes that “the manner in which Ontario conducts this pilot and the conclusions drawn from it will be of interest worldwide. It is unsurprising then that for Basic Income advocates and sceptics alike, getting the details of this pilot’s design right will be essential”. To understand some of these essential considerations, read Nick Falvo’s Ten things to know about Canada’s guaranteed annual income debate.
< >.  That said, here is a list of 10 ideas from around the country on ways that Basic Income can help reduce poverty.

Ten Benefits of Basic Income

Senator Art Eggleton

1)  Basic Income reflects basic principles of fairness and equality, and addresses our collective responsibility to those who live in need. Prosperity and poverty in Canada: the reality.
< >

2)  Basic Income would first target those who are most vulnerable such as people with disabilities, the homeless or the working poor. Basic Income would help reduce inequality and poverty.
< >

3)  Basic income can avoid the stigma associated with receiving welfare, providing an efficient way of ensuring that all Canadians have a reasonable and secure income. Basic income idea wins backing of
Alberta mayors.  < >

4)  Basic Income would reduce spending on social justice systems, and could create a more efficient and flexible support system. Basic Income: the idea, its benefits & how you can get behind it.
< >

5)  Basic Income can be both a program for those on the left and right sides of the political spectrum. Those who lean left can appreciate ending poverty for all, and those on the right can appreciate a more
simplified tax code, less bureaucracy, and a chance for all Canadians to have more money to spend in our economy. A Basic Income guarantee should be Canada’s next great social program.
< >

6)  Basic Income would ensure that everyone — workers, caregivers, artists, students, entrepreneurs, people with disabilities — has a stable income sufficient for them to live in good health and dignity.
Letter to the editor: Guaranteed Basic Income needed.  < >

7)  Basic Income would make life less stressful for those working hard to start and grow their own businesses. Alberta entrepreneur says Basic Income policy would allow people to contribute more to society.
< >

8)  Basic Income supports people to engage in work that is not amenable to the paid labour market, but that is worthy in its own right. It helps ascribe value to caregiving, volunteering and creative pursuits of
many kinds. Basic income: Time to separate work from security of income.  < >

9)  Basic Income represents an innovative way to progress beyond current systems that often entrap people in poverty.  Senator Art Eggleton calls on federal government to launch Basic Income pilot project.
< >

10) Basic income can “cut to the chase” on a lot of poverty reduction work as it can help people to be able to afford the foundational base they need for success. Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson speaks out in
favour of a Basic Income guarantee.  < >

“We know that many Ontarians are still living in poverty and that we must continue to look for ways to address this challenge. A Basic Income pilot is an innovative, evidence-generating tool that will help us identify what’s working, measure our progress and expand our toolbox as we explore better ways to build a foundation for Ontarians to reach their full potential.” – Hon. Chris Ballard, Minister of Housing and the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, Ontario Seeking Input on Basic Income Pilot.  < >

The Basic Income Guarantee Conference

Learn from experts and researchers around the country by catching up on presentation slides from the Basic Income Guarantee Conference, held in Sudbury ON from October 5-6th 2016  < >.

Need more inspiration to guide your submission? Here are our Top 5 Basic Income Resources.

Caledon Institute of Social Policy – ‘Basic Income’ or ‘Bait and Switch’?  < >
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – A Policymaker’s Guide to Basic Income  <’s-guide-basic-income >
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Ontario – Basic Income: Rethinking Social Policy  < >
University of Manitoba – Towards a National Universal Guaranteed Basic Income  < >
Mowat Centre – Pilot Lessons: How to design a Basic Income pilot project for Ontario  < >

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