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CANADA: Politicians, Public Health NGO join calls for Basic Income

A former Conservative senator and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies of Ontario have recently expressed their support for Basic Income, joining a number of prominent politicians, political parties and NGOs who now support the introduction of a Basic Income in Canada

The NGO, the Association of Public Health Agencies in Ontario, an organisation of boards of health and public health units across the province, declared their support at a meeting on the 8th of June. The support comes after the health unit of Simcoe Daskoka, Ontario first came out in favour of the policy at the start of June. The support is part of a commitment to focus on the social determinants of health, with income and income distribution the first considered. In the adopted resolution, the association point out “1,745,900 Ontarians, or 13.9 percent of the population, live in low income according to the 2011 National Household Survey after-tax low-income measure.” They join Food Banks Canada (p2), another prominent NGO who declared support for Basic Income recently.

Michael Meighen, a former Conservative senator is another supportive voice. The Québec native, who ran for parliament in support of Basic Income at the 1972 and 74 general elections has re-iterated his support in a recent interview. He cited some uncertainties around support for the proposal, saying ‘That’s where pilot projects come in – we have to test it’, suggesting that successful tests will make the policy easier to promote politically. He joins Hugh Segal, another former Conservative senator in favour of Basic Income.

Another politician, this time Ontario Liberal MPP Jeff Leal also had encouraging words about Basic Income, saying, “This would go a long way to eliminate poverty in Canada”, and added “As long as it is designed in such a way that it wouldn’t create a welfare wall as a disincentive for individuals to move into the workforce, I certainly believe that can be done”.

These voices join the mounting calls for Basic Income in Canada in recent months. As well as the above mentioned Food Banks Canada, a number of prominent politicians have also declared their support. At a recent conference on poverty in Prince Edward Island, the leader of every party contesting the provincial election voiced their support, while the federal Liberal Party also adopted Basic Income as a policy at its national conference last year. Even more recently, the mayors of Alberta’s capital and two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton also voiced their support, with Calgary mayor Don Nenshi calling for mayors to work together to push for its implementation.

For more information, see:

Roderick Benns, “Ontario’s association of health units green lights basic income as policy“, Leaders and Legacies, 10 June 2015

Roderick Benns, “Second prominent Conservative speaks out in favour of basic income pilot projectsLeaders and Legacies, 10 June 2015

Todd Vandonk, “Could a guaranteed basic income solve our poverty problems?”, myKawartha.com, 12 June 2015

About Liam Upton

has written 107 articles.

Creator of the Basic Income Now activist website, moderator of the reddit /r/basicincome community and active member of Basic Income Ireland.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.

One comment

  • Darren MacKay

    There’s a Great Deal of Information- that Poverty can be linked to Poor Health/ mental Illness/ and Crime..

    Can we Afford to keep the current system going?

    There’s also a Great Deal of People that are not getting “Just Deserved Benefits” from Social Programs, such as E.I.

    Worker’s CONpensation; which is a System, that was supposed to HELP INJURED WORKER’S, has been Proven to be Ineffective- causing the Injured Workers to fall back on Welfare, and other Social Forms of Support- and become a Burden on Society, which was what the Meredith Principals were Supposed to Prevent.

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