What Is Basic Income?

A basic income is a government-organized unconditional income available to all. It is provided on an individual basis to meet basic needs without means testing or work requirements. The idea of a basic income has been around for a long time. One of the leading studies was conducted in Manitoba in the 1970s, titled the Mincome project.

Basic income is gaining increasing support and interest in Canada and around the world.  Some leading politicians federally, provincially and municipally (Basic Income Interest) have spoken in favour of the idea. In 2014, the Canadian Association of Social Workers called for a basic income in their policy paper Promoting Equity for a Stronger Canada (Canadian Association of Social Workers Calls For Basic Income). The Canadian Medical Association passed a resolution in August 2015 in support of basic income as a means to improve health outcomes (Resolution 45, CMA Big Resolution PDF). That same year, Foodbanks Canada also endorsed basic income in its Hunger Count report (Hunger Count 2015). In 2017, the Ontario government began a pilot study for basic income, but it was cancelled by the new government shortly after the election in June 2018.

Basic Income Manitoba (BIM) was formed in 2013 to educate, support research and promote basic income as a public policy in Manitoba and across Canada.

Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) is a national voluntary, non-profit, non-partisan organization that serves as a central point of information and organizing for basic income in Canada. It is affiliated with the global Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) which was created in 1986 to foster informed discussion on basic income in Europe. BIEN expanded its scope in 2004 to serve as a link between individuals and groups committed to, or interested in, basic income.