About Basic Income

A basic income is a government-organized income available unconditionally to all. It is provided on an individual basis, to meet basic needs, without means test or work requirement. The idea of a basic income has been around for a long time, and indeed one of the leading studies was conducted in Manitoba in the 1970s (the Mincome project). It is gaining increasing support and interest in Canada and around the world in recent years. Basic Income Manitoba (BIM) was formed in 2013 to educate, support research and promote basic income as a public policy in Manitoba and nationally.

The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) is a national voluntary, non-profit, non-partisan organization that originated in 2008 and 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, and to foster informed discussion of the topic throughout the world.

Basic income is gaining interest among Canadians. In Ontario, the government began a pilot study in 2017, although it was cancelled by the new government shortly after the election in June 2018. 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 through 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), and Foodbanks Canada in their 2015 report Hunger Count also endorsed basic income (Hunger Count 2015). In 2018 in response to calls for input on the provincial poverty reduction strategy, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce submitted a report that includes a call for a study of basic income.