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Canada To Give Poor and Needy Citizens $1,320 a Month FOR FREE in Historic ‘No Strings Attached’ Social Trial

Ontario is to be the setting for a ground-breaking study on basic income in 2017. Former senator Hugh Segal has proposed a test in where the unemployed will receive the equivalent of a working wage instead of paltry benefit handout.

Segal believes a supplemental income of $1,320 will help the unemployed to feel more like a part of society, rather than what he called “seriously demeaning” state handouts.

The program will hopefully answer questions on poverty such as:

  • Can basic income policies provide a more efficient, less intrusive, and less stigmatizing way of delivering income support for those now living in poverty?
  • Can those policies also encourage work, relieve financial and time poverty, and reduce economic marginalization?
  • Can a basic income reduce cost pressures in other areas of government spending, such as healthcare?
  • Can a basic income strengthen the incentive to work, by responsibly helping those who are working but still living below the poverty line?

If Ontario’s study is a success, it could pave the way for other similar programs.

Segal has been modest about the study, saying that although it may decrease symptoms of poverty, it might not provide a long-term program to get people out.

“Testing a basic income is a humane and useful way to measure how so many of the costs of poverty (in terms of productivity, health, policing, and other community costs, to name only a few) might be diminished, while poverty itself is reduced and work is encouraged,” Segal says in the report.

The question has arisen as to whether simply giving free money away to people will help solves the problems of poverty, but as Segal says, if we don’t try we will never know.

“There cannot be, nor should there be, any guarantees about what results a pilot might generate,” Segal writes. “The objective behind this endeavor should be to generate an evidence-base for policy development, without bias or pre-determined conclusion.”

This test will join other in Finland, Utricht, and Kenya that are all implementing similar courses, and Segal hopes the results from Ontario will join a bigger body of results.

“This Ontario initiative takes place at a time when other jurisdictions, in Canada and abroad, are working in different ways toward a Basic Income approach to better reduce poverty,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from and engage with these other initiatives should not be overlooked, nor should approaches being tested elsewhere be necessarily re-tested here.”

similar study in the 1970s in Manitoba, Canada returned positive results. Participants were given $9,000 a year (in today’s money) from the government. Evelyn Forget, an economist and professor at the University of Manitoba, studies the data and reported that new mothers were using their additional income to extend their maternity leaves and spend more time with their infants, and teenage boys used their income to stay in school.

Forget told PRI in an interview “When we interviewed people, we discovered that prior to the experiment, a lot of people from low-income families, a lot of boys in particular, were under a fair amount of family pressure to become self-supporting when they turned 16 and leave school. When Mincome came along, those families decided that they could afford to keep their sons in high school just a little bit longer,”

3 out of every 5 Americans will be affected by poverty at some point in their life, and the socio-economic problems that arise from poverty are crippling, and often stay with people throughout their lives, meaning they can never escape it.

“There’s no magic bullet,” said Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre. “So it’s key that government is now exploring various solutions — reforming existing social assistance programs, improving the quality of work, and considering basic income.”

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Canada To Give Poor and Needy Citizens $1,320 a Month FOR FREE in Historic ‘No Strings Attached’ Social Trial Canada To Give Poor and Needy Citizens $1,320 a Month FOR FREE in Historic 'No Strings Attached' Social Trial Reviewed by C C on 13:09:00 Rating: 5