The Northern Policy Institute of Ontario has organized a conference to explore the idea of a basic income guarantee. The conference will take place in Sunbury from October 5-6.

The BIG Conference defines a “basic income guarantee” (BIG) as “a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum level of income” — or what is sometimes referred to as a “guaranteed minimum income” (GMI) or “guaranteed annual income” (GAI). The government of Ontario has been moving forward to test such a policy, with a trial set to begin by April 2017. No location has yet been announced for the trial.

Charles Cirtwill, the founding President and CEO of the Northern Policy Institute, takes a favorable view of BIG, although he believes that more trials of the idea are necessary. Last March, he wrote an article arguing that it would be advantageous for Ontario to stage its pilot in one of the small Northern communities (“The North a great place for Basic Income Pilot“). On August 4, he spoke to CBC News about BIG and the upcoming experiment in Ontario (“Is guaranteed income the future to helping the poor in northern Ontario?“).

Cirtwill is one of the speakers at October’s BIG Conference. Additional speakers include the following:

  • Gayle Broad (Assistant Professor in the Community Economic and Social Development program at Algoma University).
  • Lindsay Tedds (Associate Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria), a supporter of a GAI.
  • Adam Patrick (masters student at the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University). Patrick has previously worked as a Policy Intern for Northern Policy Institute, where he examined the effectiveness of existing welfare programs in Northern Ontario.
  • Christine Yip (Policy Associate at the Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto).
  • Michael Crawford Urban (Policy Associate at the Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto).
  • Evelyn Forget (Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba). Forget is well-known in the basic income community for her analysis of the Mincome experiment in Manitoba, a 5-year trial of a GAI conducted in the 1970s. Forget’s current research focuses on the consequences of anti-poverty programs for health and society.
  • Valerie Tarasuk (Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto). Tarasuk has recommended a guaranteed annual income to alleviate food insecurity.

More biographical information about the speakers is available on the BIG Conference website.

Registration for the conference is open through September 16.

Press announcement:

Sudbury Staff, “Sudbury conference to explore guaranteed income“, The Sudbury Star; August 5, 2016.

Reviewed by Cameron McLeod 

Photo CC BY-NC 2.0 Billy Wilson

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About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.