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Canada: Report “Signposts to Success” shows how beneficial the cancelled Ontario basic income experiment was being

The reading of results from basic income type of experiments is, apparently, dependent on who is reading them. The Ontario present government officials did not think, for instance, that there were particular advantages or benefits from pursuing with the Ontario basic income experiment. The particulars of the Ontario (basic income) pilot cancellation have been extensively reported on (some examples below), so much so that a new report was published with some evidence of the benefits experienced by more than 400 participants, according to their responses. This may be another case of dissonance between government power and common citizens: what is felt by the latter as beneficial is discarded as ineffective and wasteful by the former. Why, then, was this basic income pilot program cancelled is a legitimate question one might ask, if the participants themselves felt it as a success.

 

Overall, participant experience compiled in this report partly mirror Finland’s basic income-type experience first results: more agency, anxiety relief, more social connection and financial security. The majority started eating better, and were able to make plans for the future…which evaporated as soon as the pilot was cancelled by Doug Ford’s government. In numbers, answers returned the following results (from Basic Income Canada Network):

 

  • 88% of respondents reported less stress and anxiety and 73% had less depression (the baseline survey reported that at the start of the pilot 81% of participants were suffering from moderate to severe psychological stress);
  • 58% improved their housing situation;
  • 34% found the basic income supported employment by affording transportation to work, child care or ability to start or expand a business;
  • 32% of respondents were able to go back to school or upgrade skills (note that a majority of employed participants in the government baseline survey – recipients and control group – said they were in dead-end jobs);
  • 74% were able to make healthy food choices and 28% stopped using food banks;
  • 46% were able to pay off debt;
  • 52% were able to see friends and family more often, 55% were physically more able to do activities, and 45% reported fewer health problems;
  • Many respondents talked about working hard their whole lives, often at multiple jobs, but never really having a life, until basic income made that possible.

 

More information at:

Kate McFarland, “ONTARIO, CANADA: New Government Declares Early End of Guaranteed Income Experiment”, Basic Income News, August 2nd 2018

Sara Bizarro, “Ontario, Canada: Reactions to Ontario Basic Income Pilot Cancelation”, Basic Income News, September 18th 2018

Daniel Fabbri, “Four Ontario Mayors asking the Federal Government to take over the Basic Income Pilot”, Basic Income News, September 30th 2018

André Coelho, “Canada: Ontario’s basic income experiment ended, but the ground is fertile for more pilots”, Basic Income News, December 22nd 2018

Sheila Rogehr and Joli Scheidler-Benns, “Signposts to Success: report of a BICN Survey of Ontario Basic Income Recipients”, Basic Income Canada Network, February 2019

André Coelho, “When a few drops of rain allow flowers to blossom: Finland’s basic income experiment generates its preliminary results”, Basic Income News, February 16th 2019

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 310 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

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.

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