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Imagine living in a country where everyone—regardless of work or employment status—could possess an income sufficent to live a happy, healthy, and dignified life.
That's the thinking behind the campaign for the Basic Income Guarantee. While the idea of a basic income isn't new, it is a proposal for policy change that is garnering international support as a way to reduce poverty and ensure income security in a rapidly changing world.
Since February 2015, Nourish has supported the work of the Basic Income Peterborough Network, a working group of community members committed to the promotion of a basic income in Peterborough.
Interested in learning more about the local Network? Contact the campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A basic income would mean...
Basic Income Guarantee Principles
A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is a regular payment from the government to all people, regardless of their employment status, who are living below a certain income level. BIG provides enough money for people to meet their essential costs of living and live with dignity.
When people have enough money to maintain a reasonable quality of life, there is improvement in their own physical and mental health and the health of the community. We believe in a Basic Income Guarantee that follows these principles:
• No one receiving BIG, once it is developed, should be any worse off than they were prior to receiving a basic income. This means that other services and supports must be continued (e.g. dental benefits, housing supports, child care subsidies, ODSP supports). The amount of income which is provided takes into account the real cost of living and is enough to adequately live on.
• BIG is a regular payment made to people through the tax system, similar to Canada Child Benefit for families and Guaranteed Income Supplement for Seniors. It would provide a solid floor for everyone in Canada, when they need it.
• BIG does not take away the need for increases in minimum wage, pay equity, or other ways working can make sure a person’s life gets better. A Basic Income is meant to help people, not act as a subsidy for those wishing to pay people less than human effort is worth.
• BIG must involve Indigenous Communities in a way that respects their autonomy, if there is interest in this policy.
• BIG must recognize all basic needs in Canada. These include: food, housing, clothing, transportation, medical supplies and equipment, and internet/communication services.
Basic Income Peterborough Network is a non partisan group run by volunteers, which have been bringing together community members and representatives from local organizations to advocate for a Basic Income for people living in Canada since 2015. BIPN sees a basic income as a means of eliminating poverty, while revitalizing our local economy. We are guided by academic research, citizen input and government reports. We have conducted local public education sessions on a Basic Income, and have advocated for a Basic Income at municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government.