Basic Income Resource Library

CEP Basic Income CoP Resource Library


Vibrant Communities - Communities Ending Poverty (CEP) has been partnering with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction since July 2019 to host a series of webinars exploring what a Basic Income could look like in Canada. The recordings, papers, articles, and other resources in this library will help you catch up with the conversation so far or serve as a refresher to the learning that has happened to date. 

Basic Income: The Experience So Far

July 8, 2019

Our first of many lively discussions led by Tom Cooper of Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, with Dr. Evelyn Forget, Sheila Regehr, and James Collura, regarding what about what we know about Basic Income so far and the benefits of this approach in promoting well-being.

Top Highlights:

  • It's not a new approach - Canada already has a form of Basic Income. Seniors and children receive Basic Income and our social welfare system provides a floor for everyone. The new BI debates are about increasing the threshold.

  • Health and gendered benefits - Mincome studies showed reduced Emergency Room access, increased access to mental health professionals, young boys finished high school, and mothers were able to take more maternity leave.

  • It supports the changing job market - Basic Income will be important to everyone. The rise of technology in every aspect of the workforce is shifting people out of the workforce completely. Basic Income provides stability to pursue contributing what is most meaningful to individuals.

  • Use the tax system - Canada already has the existing infrastructure through which to provide benefits. The tax system is robust and we are using it more and more to re-distribute wealth. Reallocating benefits will allow us to implement BI without anything added.

Ontario Basic Income Pilots

July 22, 2019

Jim Dunn, Mike Perry, Laura Cattari, and Dana Bowman joined us with Tom Cooper to provided information about the parameters of the Ontario Basic Income pilots, goals of the study, early outcomes people were seeing and feeling, results of the cancellation, and what’s happening next.


Communities Supporting Basic Income

August 12, 2019

A discussion between Scott Santens, Jamie Cooke, Jessie Golem, and Tom Cooper, about the experience of Basic Income internationally, and how individual advocates can kickstart a movement in their own communities.

Top 5 Highlights:

  • Two camps of support - Basic Income primarily has support from a social justice perspective and support due to the rise of automation and job market changes. We need to marry the two camps to create a stronger larger coalition.

  • Find the right political storm - Despite whether long-term large-scale pilots are feasible at the time, political turmoil is a good opportunity to seek out innovation and refine the ideas.

  • Start local - Municipalities and states/provinces can and are taking the lead in absence of federal leadership. Gain support for BI state-by-state and eventually the national government will follow suit.

  • The power of stories - Change people's minds and grow the Basic Income movement by humanizing the BI experience and sharing success stories. Issues such as climate change show us that people tend not to be swayed by statistics.

  • Combatting populism - Rising inequality and insecurity in society creates chronic stress, impacting brain functions, and can lead to control-seeking or bullying behaviour (ex. xenophobia) as well as a desire to maintain the status quo. Basic Income could relieve this kind of stress and switch our mindset to abundance


Moving the Political Yardstick

October 16, 2019

This call, led by Tom Cooper, featured the political voices of Hannah Bell, M.L.A.; Joe Ceci, M.L.A.; The Hon. Hugh Segal, and Kathleen Wynne, M.P.P. in a discussion on adding Basic Income to the political agenda.

Top 5 Highlights:

  • A good investment - Conservative naysayers often look at upfront costs and argue that it is unaffordable, but this doesn't account for the upfront savings and return on investment for reducing poverty. In Ontario, it's estimated that poverty costs $33B/year.

  • Negative Income Testing - The negative income testing model is likely the most feasible for Canada (similar to GIS and GAINS) to create a universally accepted floor without risking more wealthy families being able to evade paying back a universal grant.

  • Data convinces conservatives - Poverty Costs reports quantify how much poverty costs us economically and can help strike an evidence-based conversation on what we could do differently to reduce the costs. Understand the government's pocketbook.

  • Provinces build the argument - Some benefits of BI are immediate, but many are long-term and hard to measure the return on investment. We need to demonstrate success at the provincial level to make a credible case nationally.

  • Disaster Response - P.E.I. learned from Hurricane Dorion, that there are working poor everywhere whom are ~$200 away from financial disaster. Basic Income would give people the tools to prepare for what we don't know is coming.


Ending Poverty: Making Basic Income Feasible in Canada

March 12, 2020

Sheila Regehr and Chandra Pasma highlight three policy options from their recent report, that prove a progressive Basic Income is affordable and can be implemented in Canada using our existing social system infrastructure.

Top 5 Highlights

  • How could we do BI? The purpose of the new report is to get closer to defining what kind of Basic Income we want in Canada by presenting three feasible models and sparking a conversation. All models are progressive, improve equality, and provide more security.

  • The three options - The three models are: income-tested excluding seniors' benefits, income-tested including seniors' benefits, and a universal demogrant. Child benefits were left as-is. For all three, the benefit is $22,000 with a 40% reduction rate.

  • Not a trade-off - Each model shows Basic Income is not a trade-off for other important programs and services. These models are paid for primarily through Basic Personal Amount tax credits, refundable tax credits, and provincial/territorial social assistance income.

  • Single individuals - Single individuals are falling behind the fastest as we give enormous benefits to couples and families with children. The income-tested models did the best at supporting singles.

  • People living with disabilities - The income floors being proposed provide enough security for people no matter their ability, as those with hidden or hard-to-diagnose disabilities are often left behind. 


Findings From Southern Ontario's Basic Income Experience

April 9, 2020

In March 2020, McMaster University published a study on the results of Ontario's Basic Income Pilot project which was prematurely cancelled. The study discusses the effects that a Basic Income had on recipients in Hamilton, Brantford, and Brant County.

Wayne Lewchuk and Laura Cattari join Tom Cooper to discussed this report and what the findings mean in a COVID-19 context.

Top 5 Highlights:

  • Current Data - This pilot was explored how Basic Income would work in a current, urban labour market. Following the Dauphin, MB pilot in 1975.

  • Everybody benefitted - Both employed pre-pilot and those who weren't.

  • Health - Mental and physical health improved universally amongst participants. Anger, fights, stress, and cigarette/alcohol use declined.

  • A stable income floor - Is key for people take risks with longer-term reward. Of the 27% participants who stopped working, 50% went back to school to improve their employment opportunities and 30% became a primary caregiver to a child or parent, or left an abusive environment.

  • BI is a labour policy - Basic Income was more beneficial to those who were employed before the pilot. 1/3 got better paying jobs and 1/3 reported safer jobs. Pre-employed participants also reported more health improvements than those on social assistance.


Basic Income: The International Response to COVID-19

May 14, 2020

Senator Kim Pate, U.S. advocate Scott Santens, and Scotland RSA's Jamie Cooke join Tom Cooper as panelists for this webinar exploring the international use of Basic Income as a response to COVID-19, and how we can work with governments to make Basic Income a permanent reality of our social safety net.

Top 5 Highlights

  • We needed Basic Income before COVID-19 - An income floor would have allowed people to make different choices and could have impacted the course of COVID-19. Introducing Basic Income now should be part of the recovery process.

  • Contact your Prime Minister, MP and MPP's -  The ROI on Basic Income is longer-term than the typical electoral cycle, so the length of COVID-19 presents an opportunity to muster political will from elected officials. Governments need to hear support from their constituents.

  • We are still waiting to see a true basic income - The UK, US, Brazil, Spain, Finland, Canada and others have introduced quasi-Basic Income programs in response to COVID-19, but we are still waiting for the first country to implement a true Basic Income.

  • Basic Income is complementary - BI should not replace targeted strategies and services such as housing, safety, health care, etc. In order to achieve more equality, we need to keep investing in multiple ways to support wellbeing. Basic Income is a foundational floor.

  • COVID-19 has launched the BI movement ahead by years - Even if governments can't deliver a Basic Income right now, COVID-19 has created the space to debate and build support for BI with government on both sides of the political spectrum and with the public.


Basic Income and Youth

May 27, 2020

Young Basic Income advocates, researchers and observers discuss Basic Income as a potential national social policy for Canada.

Top 5 Highlights

  • Choice - Basic Income provides freedom and the ability to make choices that income-stressed individuals can't make; we need more risk-taking ability to innovate in great ways and explore what we're each best at doing.

  • Climate change - Will make vulnerable citizens more vulnerable. Basic Income can help us adapt to the effects of climate change and mitigate it.

  • Income-tested - There is more political appetite to introduce a means-tested Basic Income, though universality tends to ensure sustainability.

  • Shared experience - Now, in the wake of COVID-19, is the right time to push for Basic Income, as everyone can appreciate the stress of uncertainty and how a BI can help alleviate it.

  • Stories convince - Stories from people who have experienced Basic Income are inspirational and a powerful way of swaying more people to support the movement.



Basic Income: Towards Gender Equity

June 18, 2020

A panel of extraordinary female researchers, organizers and advocates explore Basic Income as an important strategy in gender equity actions.

Top 5 Highlights

  • Choice - Economic independence would allow women greater choice and opportunity under many domains, to address: poverty; under-valued and precarious labour; abuse; mental health and wellbeing; etc.

  • Social Assistance - Social Assistance (SA) is highly policed/controlled and doesn't allow the freedom for recipients to choose how to improve their lives. We need a Basic Income, not higher SA rates.

  • Basic Income PLUS - Basic Income is not a panacea. It provides more choice, but money alone won't address systemic causes of inequality or create more affordable housing, child care space, or access to nutritious food.

  • Guaranteed Liveable Income - A guarantee that one's income reflects the cost of living in their area. BI advocates must ensure we call for BI at a liveable level.

  • Challenge - Advocacy on an individual basis is important.  Challenge stereotypes when you hear them.



Basic Income: Business Perspectives

August 18, 2020

Tom Cooper, Bianca Caramento, Floyd Marinescu and Sameer Nurmohamed have a lively debate about why a Basic Income is important for Canadians, and how it could support individuals and the economy.



A Tale of Two Provinces: Basic Income Approaches in PEI and BC

May 27, 2021

Hon. Hannah Bell, Prof. J Rhys Kesselman, Barbara Halliday, and journalist Emma Paling explore the research behind two different sets of basic income recommendations to reduce poverty in PEI and in BC.

Top 5 Highlights

  • Being Bold - All-party committees have more opportunity to challenge the status quo and bring forward challenging recommendations such as Basic Income.

  • Federal Role - Provinces do not have the resources to fund Basic Income on their own.  Any program would require cost-sharing with the Federal Government.

  • One Tool - Basic Income is one tool in a toolbox to reduce poverty; no one believes other targeted programs should end, as they meet specific needs.

  • Disincentives - Looking at disincentives of Basic Income for people who are working, increasing taxation to pay for BI could dissuade workers striving for better jobs due to vanishing return.

  • Falling through the cracks - The reality of BC's social support system is that it's comprised of hundreds of well-meaning poverty reduction services that are often ill-aligned, unknown, and/or inaccessible due to eligibility, administrative, and geographical barriers; as well as life circumstances. It is undignified and creates significant stress.


More Great Resources on Basic Income

Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction's Basic Income Updates

Basic Income Canada Network's website and resource library