Ontario, Canada Plans To Give Universal Basic Income To Its Citizens

A Canadian province plans to move ahead with an experiment to test the results of universal basic income for its citizens.

Credit: The Canadian Press

Credit: The Canadian Press

A Canadian province, Ontario, recently announced that they would be testing out the basic income theory on its citizens sometime soon.

The basic income concept explores the idea of giving every citizen a monthly income check without any conditions. This check would be small enough so that it would encourage citizens to still work but large enough to replace or complement current welfare checks and battle poverty and homelessness. This could reduce the costs of welfare administration and supplement the monthly income of those who already have jobs, eventually stimulating the economy and giving more autonomy to people.

Though Ontario has yet to release details about its basic income plan, the finance ministry has already released a statement that confirms the province’s involvement and intention to move ahead with the experiment.

The idea of universal basic income has been on the rise in recent years and is even being tested out in other nations. The 2015 general election in Britain made the idea more popular as the Green Party made the concept a crucial part of their platform. The Green Party’s Member of Parliament, Caroline Lucas, called on the government to commission research into unconditional universal income and how it could replace other programs. Lucas told The Independent that, “The basic income offers genuine social security to everyone and sweeps away most of the bureaucracy of the current welfare system.”

Pilot projects and studies to gauge whether this concept is feasible are currently underway or were recently run in the Netherlands, Finland, France, India, and numerous other nations. In Namibia, poverty, crime, and unemployment decreased when the concept was tested out. In India, those who received basic income were more likely to start a small business.

Though there is still much to be explored, such as feasibility, simplicity, and the promotion of personal independence, the idea that an alternative to traditional welfare states is compelling. As Ontario’s budget statement said, “As Ontario’s economy grows, the government remains committed to leaving no one behind. Maintaining an effective social safety net is one part of the government’s broader efforts to reduce poverty and ensure inclusion in communities and the economy.”

Do you think that basic income could work for larger nations? Is universal income a plausible solution for poverty and welfare? Comment your thoughts below and share this article!

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