Guaranteed income film will study 1 P.E.I. family

Posted on May 20, 2015 in Social Security Debates – news/canada/prince-edward-island – Filmmakers will top up income of family living below poverty for 1 year
May 18, 2015.   CBC News

In an experiment on guaranteed income, documentary filmmakers will top up the wages of a P.E.I. family living below the poverty line to examine what impact it has on quality of life.

Yukon filmmakers Jayden Soroka and Vivian Belik want to choose a family living below the poverty line and top up their existing wages to examine what impact it has on their quality of life.

Soroka says P.E.I. was at the top of their list when they chose which Canadian provinces to include in his documentary,

Jayden Soroko and Vivian Belik
Vivian Belik and Jayden Soroko say P.E.I. estimate it will cost as much as $60,000 to top up wages for four Canadian families for a year. (CBC)

“P.E.I. has been looking at doing a pilot for a long time, and they really are the furthest ahead in Canada,” said Soroka.

The pair also plans to select a family each from Manitoba, Ontario and Nunavut.

They estimate it will cost about $50,000 to $60,000 to top up wages for all four families for a year.

Belik hopes to start a dialogue about a basic income guarantee — the idea that everyone should have enough money to meet their basic needs and live with dignity.

‘Sparking dialogue’

“Our project will really only be helping four families. Just sparking that dialogue can hopefully help more families,” she said.

Marie Burge, a member of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income, says she is thrilled P.E.I. was chosen for the documentary and hopes it will help push the idea forward.

Marie Burge, Cooper Institute
Marie Burge of the P.E.I. Working Group for a Livable Income says she hopes the documentary will push forward the idea of a guaranteed income. (Laura Chapin/CBC)

“I couldn’t even imagine that that would just drop in our lap, and I’d love it if we could support them as much as possible,” she said.

Guaranteed basic income was discussed by all four party leaders during last month’s provincial election campaign and Burge says Premier Wade MacLauchlan has committed to giving the idea a try.

Soroko and Belik hope to meet with the province to see about partnering in some way.

The filmmakers have not yet chosen the P.E.I. family that will participate in their documentary.

They hope to start production by December.

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