There was once a town in Canada that essentially eliminated poverty, and at the time no one seemed to know. One filmmaker is doing his best to shine a bright light on the research into this town.

Vincent Santiago is producing “The Mincome Experiment” documentary that looks into the Manitoba experiments in the 1970s, which provided a minimum income guarantee to the entire town of Dauphin. Santiago recently spoke with The UBI Podcast about his project.

“The experiment was completed but there was a change in government in Manitoba and federal level so experiment was never analyzed,” Santiago said.

That is until Dr. Evelyn Forget of the University of Manitoba began digging up these old records. Forget found there was a reduction in hospital visits and instances of mental health issues in the area with a minimum income. Despite worries, there was no large reduction in the amount of work being done, Santiago said.

“The only sector that was affected was the mothers who gave birth and the teenagers who stopped working to finish high school,” Santiago said.

Santiago said any new idea like minimum income guarantee will cause backlash, especially if the research is not explained well.

“Just like when they first introduced universal health care in Canada, there was a lot of opposition,” he said.

In order to explain these results, Santiago said it is important for the basic income movement to focus on public relations. He said his documentary is an important way to show the positive results of minimum income systems.

“I would like to make this documentary to dispel a lot of these misconceptions,” he said.

Currently, Santiago is running a crowdfunding campaign to help cover the costs of production for the film.


About Tyler Prochazka

Tyler Prochazka has written 89 articles.

Tyler Prochazka is a PhD candidate in Asia Pacific Studies at National Chengchi University in Taiwan. He is the features editor of Basic Income News and the chairman of UBI Taiwan. Support my work with UBI Taiwan: @typro