Detailed Background Story

Five year summary of our work from 2014 through 2018

Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee

Kingston, Ontario     March 2019

Major achievements

  • Began to expand the informal Provincial network, recruiting and supporting new colleagues and local groups (2014)
  • Secured the unanimous Basic Income endorsement of the Kingston City Council, the first such endorsement by a publicly elected body in Canada (2015)
  • Initiated the first steps in the process which persuaded the then Minister of Health to champion Basic Income within the Wynne Government, an important step toward the Government’s commitment to a 3-year Basic Income Pilot a year later (2015)
  • Held information meetings with all four major party MPP and MP candidates for the 2015 and 2018 elections, and organized all-candidates MPP and MP debates on poverty and Basic Income for both elections (though the 2018 MP debate didn’t take place because the CPC candidate withdrew on instructions from his Party and the Liberal candidate then did the same in reaction).
  • Organized and hosted the first province-wide meeting of Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) advocates, the forerunner of all subsequent annual meetings (2015)
  • Produced three generations of BIG information postcards to be shared with other advocates and distributed to the public wherever we could (2015/16/17)
  • Wrote a Charter and Call to Action, widely distributed in English and French to fellow advocates and the public (2016)
  • Presented a 3 person panel at NABIG2016 - “Creating a social movement: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: "Making the case in Kingston and beyond”; “BIG: Making the case on the street”; “Making a feminist case for basic income” (2016)
  • Created a 1/2 hour Cogeco TV program (The Big Idea) broadcast multiple times in the Cogeco viewing area reaching, according to Cogeco’s estimate, thousands of viewers (2017)
  • Produced 2 short (2min+) videos of Dr Danielle Martin for YouTube “Basic Income and Work” and “Basic Income and Health” (2017)
  • Coordinated the task force which designed the now official structure of the Ontario network (OBIN) and recruited the first generation of the six Coordinating Team members (2018)
  • Presented 2 sessions at NABIG2018 - “Communicating Basic Income: Lessons from the Past/Choices for the future” and “Basic Income Guarantee: How do we get students to care?” (the first-ever outreach to youth at a NABIG Congress, and the first step toward the founding of the Canada wide Basic Income Youth Network, kicked off six months later.)
  • Organized public meetings with Alex Himmelfarb (Tax is not a Four Letter Word) and Dr Danielle Martin (Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians)
  • Integrated Basic Income into the curriculum of Health 101 at Queen’s University for 2016-18, and into the online curriculum as well for 2018, introducing more than 5,000 Queen’s students to the study of Basic Income.

Ordinary ongoing work

  • Built a supporter base of 235 people to whom we distributed 35 updates, reports and newsflashes
  • Organized and participated in self-education sessions with Sheila Regehr, Alex Himmelfarb, Guy Standing, Guy Caron, and Fred Wilson
  • Published 47 published works - articles in research journals, submissions to government bodies, newspaper and newsletter articles, written interviews and sent 30 letters to politicians, potential allies, progressive think tanks, publication editors, etc.
  • Gave 96 talks to local and regional organizations, university and college classes, poverty round tables, faith, business, food security and other SDOH related groups, Kingston kitchen table talks and in radio and TV interviews
  • Created and maintained a Facebook page, two Twitter accounts and for three of the five years, a website
  • Attended 41 political meetings with individual politicians and as participants in public political meetings