Reducing Poverty with a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG)

Aug 28, 2015

Poverty is a leading cause of poor health in Ontario. People living with low income are more likely to suffer from a number of diseases and die earlier than people with higher income. Low social assistance rates, high levels of precarious employment, and declining social security nets have put a large percentage of our population at risk. In order to improve the health of people living in Ontario, we need to increase the incomes of those at the lower end of the income spectrum.

The idea of A Basic Income Guarantee is gaining momentum as a simple and streamlined approach to poverty reduction. Basic Income pilots have been tested internationally and in Canada with positive results. One example is the MINCOME project in Dauphin, Manitoba between 1974-1979, which found that a guaranteed annual income was associated with an 8.5% reduction  in hospitalization rates and higher levels of high school completion.

Earlier this month, 194 physicians in Ontario sent a letter to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, calling for a basic income guarantee pilot program. Members of HPAP were signatories to this letter.

On Aug 25, the Canadian Medical Association passed a motion in support of basic income at their annual General Council meeting in Halifax.

On Sept 30, HPAP member Dr. Andrew Pinto and former Canadian senator Hugh Segal will discuss basic income in a webinar hosted by Community Food Centres Canada.

Check out these editorials for more on the BIG movement in Canada:

Reducing Poverty, Improving Health. By Andrew Pinto. Community Food Centres Canada. 25 Aug 2015.

Basic Income: Just What The Doctor Ordered. By Danielle Martin and Ryan Meili. The Toronto Star. 26 Aug 2015.

If you are interested in learning more or joining the movement for a Basic Income Guarantee, check out the Basic Income Canada Network.