June 10, 2020: COVID-19 Update
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all our lives – but Basic Income Waterloo Region (BIWR) continues to advocate for the social policy that could have made dealing with the economic effects of the crisis much simpler! The sudden layoffs and loss of jobs across Canada has brought into stark relief the fact that incomes for many Canadians can drop without warning – and in response to this realization, we are seeing much more discussion in the media about the advantages of a basic income.
Recent BIWR Activity:
We have recently created a Fact Sheet entitled, “Basic Income for Economic Recovery and Wellbeing.” Please share with your networks. See: https://basicincomewrca.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/biwr-covid-communique-may20-2020.pdf
We were pleased to see that on May 11, 2020, the City of Kitchener passed a motion put forward by Ward 7 Councillor, Bill Ioannidis, asking the Ontario government to pursue a partnership with their federal counterparts to establish a Universal Basic Income (UBI). We have written to Mr. Ioannidis thanking him for this initiative, and we have also written to the Mayors of Waterloo and Cambridge suggesting they put forward a similar motion.
We were also pleased that Waterloo Region Record published a piece we submitted that clarified the difference between a University Basic Income and other designs that involve an income test. See: https://www.therecord.com/opinion/contributors/2020/05/26/basic-income-are-we-talking-about-the-same-thing.html
Coalition Canada: Basic Income/Revenu de Base
A new group has formed recently – Coalition Canada: Basic Income/Revenu de Base. BIWR is represented in the Coalition, which includes advocates from almost every province in Canada. The group developed out of a desire to support progress towards a Basic Income in Prince Edward Island (PEI). In July 2019, the Government of PEI struck a Special Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Poverty, and required that it bring recommendations regarding the creation of a fully-costed Basic Income Guarantee program for Prince Edward Island by July 2020. The motion was supported by members of all parties in the Legislative Assembly.
This initiative is one that all Basic Income advocates across Canada can support – because it offers an opportunity for the Federal government to partner with PEI to implement a BI program – that could be evaluated and from which the rest of Canada could learn. The Coalition has been writing to MPs across Canada urging them to support this initiative. The points being made include:
- PEI is ready to go! PEI has twice determined to seek federal support with two cross-party unanimous votes in the Legislature (2016 and 2019).
- PEI’s small population means that with a relatively small financial investment, a full provincial program can be implemented as a first step towards a Canada-wide BI program. It also makes this first step easily evaluated;
- PEI has a good mix of wealth/poverty, paid/unpaid work, urban/rural lifestyles, and economic and employment options for exploring basic income design issues.
- The residents of PEI are exceptionally knowledgeable about basic income and can contribute constructively to design and evaluation aspects of a program.
Basic Income Lobby Day – October 20, 2020
A further development led by the Coalition and the Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) is planning for a Basic Income Lobby Day in Ottawa on October 20, 2020. If our physical presence is not possible, planning is underway to engage MPs virtually. OBIN has posted a template for a letter to your MP that you can personalize. See https://www.obin.ca/lobby_day
Momentum for Basic Income around the World
The pandemic has elicited much more interest and support for a Basic Income not only in Canada but around the world. See https://basicincome.org
Basic Income Youth Network
We are excited that the Basic Income Youth Network has recently been created for “engaged young people under 35 who are passionate about basic income”. See: https://www.basicincomecanada.org/youth_network
Sign up for their newsletter and email updates!
Volunteer Interest Form:
BIWR continues to work towards a Basic Income program for all of Canada. Please let us know if you would like to work with us! Complete our Volunteer Interest form and we will be in touch with you.
Sat, Nov 23, 2019, 2:00-3:00 pm
Waterloo Public Library, Main Branch
“The Manitoba Story: a Basic Income Film” tells the story of the BIG (Basic Income Guarantee) experiments of the 1970s in Dauphin, Manitoba. Following the film, members of the WR Basic Income Coordinating Committee will lead a discussion of the basic income concept and the possible far-reaching benefits for this kind of approach.
LIVING BELOW THE LINE (LBTL) THEATRE PROJECT
Efforts to obtain funding for this community theatre project are underway. We are seeking grants from the Ontario Arts Council and Musagetes (KW Community Foundation) as well as the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Update March 12, 2020: We are pleased to announce that the Ontario Arts Council has agreed to fund nearly $12,000 of our pilot project for Living Below the Line!