OBIN Annual Report 2020-2021

Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN)  

Annual Report for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021


Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) is a coalition committed to seeing  Basic Income implemented in Ontario. It’s a bold vision of dignity and justice  for everyone, regardless of work status. OBIN works to increase the public  understanding of and lobby governments for the implementation of basic  income by building and strengthening a network of provincial advocates. 

We believe that  any Basic Income  program includes these core values: 

Adequacy: It’s enough money to have one’s basic needs met 

Autonomy: It offers people more life choices 

Dignity: There is no stigma attached to accessing it 

Non-conditionality: It  is provided with no (or very few)  strings attached 

Universality of  Access: Anyone who needs it, gets it


OBIN has had a busy and active year in spite of an ongoing trend of  indifference amongst a number of senior government officials to the increasing financial stressors experienced by a growing number of  Canadians. Regardless, we remain resolved to work even harder for an idea  whose time has come. The majority of Canadians now realize that Basic  Income is not only the right thing to do, but it is essential if we are to have  economic stability and a just society. 

Last fall, we reached out to our members requesting that they apply for  executive positions in order to direct and supervise the work of OBIN in the  coming fiscal years. As a result, we have new members with fresh ideas,  expertise, and energy to guide us during this critical time. We also wish to  thank those who have contributed so much in the last year to make OBIN a  recognized advocate in the Basic Income movement: 

Saul Bottcher and Aleksei Minaev, for providing the technical skills to  build our new website and related database. 

Sharon Zoschke, for the enormous work in organizing and populating the new website. 

Adam Zvric, who expanded our adventure into the social media world.  Joe Foster, who has been our facilitator and co-ordinator since 2018.  For those that do not know Joe, he has worked night and day  advocating for Basic Income and has facilitated many new  

relationships to help build the network. Joe has agreed to remain as  an Advisor on OBIN’s coordinating team to ensure a smooth transition  for the new facilitator. 

In addition, a few people who are key to our smooth operations are: Richard Pommainville, as Treasurer. 

Kevin Smith, who faithfully sees that Minutes are taken and made  available to members expeditiously.  

John Mills, who continues to be our “first responder” for all technical  issues.  

The OBIN Coordinating Team is comprised of many committed and energetic volunteers. In addition to supporting their specific roles as members, all have participated in webinars with various groups across the province. Below are highlights from others who continue to make significant contributions in our efforts to reach out to every person in Ontario. In addition, we have actively collaborated with other Basic Income organizations across Canada.



External Relations Coordinator, Barbara Boraks 

2021 was a year in which we saw a lot of progress both in our developing  sector networks and working with federal politicians. 

In the Case for Basic Income series, we began to develop Case Studies surrounding Justice, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Municipalities. We have  gathered wonderful teams of topic experts and each new Case Study will  result in a two-page evidence-based briefing note. The studies and networks  that we have already developed surrounding the Case for Basic Income for Health,  Food Security, Women, the Arts, Work, and Finance, proved to be invaluable tools in  2021. As a result, OBIN was invited to be a “witness” at four different Federal  Standing Committees, including the Status of Women, Finance, Human  Resources, Skills and Social Development, and Health. In addition, several  points presented in a briefing note for Indigenous and Northern Affairs were incorporated into the Standing Committee’s final report. 

Internal Relations Coordinator, Caterina Lindman 

A new Basic Income Affiliate was started in Stratford, led by Carmen Grant,  and the Kingston Affiliate was revitalized under the leadership of Jamie Swift.  In addition, we have active Affiliates in the Waterloo Region, Hamilton,  Peterborough, and Ottawa, which was recently revitalized by Joe Foster. 

During 2021, three op-eds on the subject of basic income were published;  one in the Waterloo Region Record and the remaining two in all Metroland  Division newspapers, which includes the Waterloo Region Record, the  Hamilton Spectator, the Peterborough Examiner, the St. Catherine’s  Standard, the Welland Tribune, and the Niagara Falls Review. 

Affiliates also helped spread awareness in their communities and beyond by  coordinating educational webinars about Basic Income. Hamilton hosted  several virtual panel discussions and Q&A sessions, as well as holding a vigil  for Basic Income in partnership with the United Church. Basic Income  Waterloo Region partnered with the Waterloo Region Legal Clinic to host a  webinar just before the Federal Election. 

OBIN also got involved in the Federal Election. Affiliates in Ottawa, Hamilton, and Kingston bought “Basic Income Now” lawn signs to sell to supporters in  their communities. Several Federal Candidates, including Mike Morrice, the  

newly elected Green MP from Kitchener Centre, Yasir Naqvi, the newly  elected Liberal MP for Ottawa Center (who had been the Ontario Attorney  General during the Basic Income pilot), and Julie Dzerowicz, the Liberal MP who narrowly won her race in Davenport and is now the author of a Basic  Income Private Member’s Bill, signed the Basic Income pledge. Affiliates also participated in MPP Advocacy Week. We had over a dozen  meetings with members of the NDP caucus, four meetings with Progressive  Conservatives, and several meetings with Liberal MPPs, including the office  of Stephen Del Duca, the Party leader. We also continue to have ongoing  discussions with the office of Mike Schreiner, the leader of the Green Party.  These meetings helped Affiliates build and strengthen relationships,  increasing the political will for Basic Income. 



Content Manager, Piers Eaton 

Piers continued to make user-friendly and a source for  high-quality and up-to-date information. In the last year, Piers was  responsible for: 

Curating content and sending out the monthly newsletter and various e-mail blasts to over 500 members and supporters; 

Uploading the meeting minutes to the website; 

Reorganizing the “BI and Politicians” section of the website (formerly  “BI and Senators”); 

Revitalizing the “BI and Faith” section of the website; 

Restructuring the “BI Quotations” section; 

Consistently uploading new webinars to the website resource page;

Adding new blogs to the website; and 

Undertaking miscellaneous additional website maintenance initiatives. 

Promotion and Communications, Elaine Power  

Elaine has recently undertaken the social media role and looks forward to  expanding OBIN’s network to include a greater number of Ontarians,  especially younger voters.  

Elaine has also been working to re-energize the Kingston Affiliate, which has  recently created and launched a new website: The new  site has the capacity to accept donations, which will be used, among other  things, to purchase more Basic Income Now signs. We will also have a  “Merch” Shop open soon for people to order t-shirts, hoodies, caps, etc. 

The website was purposefully built to be easily exported and duplicated for  other Affiliates to adopt. We plan to ramp up the Basic Income Now campaign  for the upcoming provincial election, with the goal of putting basic income at  the top of the political agenda. 

Independent Artist, OBIN Advisor, Craig Berggold 

Craig has been actively involved with the Arts community, engaging them in  pressing for a Basic Income. The Arts community is one of the major groups  affected by the lack of appropriate income supports, which has been severely  worsened by the pandemic. Below are highlights of activities that support this  and other OBIN endeavours. 

Craig was the co-organizer for the Basic Income Now 

campaign leading up to the 2021 Federal election,  

facilitating the distribution of hundreds of lawn signs  

across the country. He was also the Graphic Designer  

for the “Basic Income Now” campaign logo.  

Another key contribution was the “Basic Income Now”  

video, which Craig directed, co-wrote & co-produced,  

and was subsequently distributed on social media  

leading up to federal election on September 13, 2021. 

Craig was featured in the following article: “Basic income video by gig worker as a call to urgent action.” was-a-labor-of-love-and-a-call-to-urgent-action/. 

He was a key actor in dozens of webinars from South Africa to Europe to  Canada, including “The Case for Basic Income and the Arts”, “Extraordinary  Insurrection – The Power of Art for Universal Basic Income” with the Scottish  Artists Union at the 20th International Basic Income Earth Network Congress,  Glasgow, Scotland, and “No One Left Behind: Income Security for 21st  century, Research & Social Media Advocacy”, with author Dr. Elaine Power at  the 19th Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress. 

Craig consulted with Provincial Arts Service Organizations of Ontario (an  advocate for 270,000 arts & culture workers) for resolutions proposing shifting  provincial income supports to basic income principles; and a call for basic  income demonstration project for precarious workers & artists. Craig also  actively participated in OBIN’s Advocacy Lobby Week, organizing meetings  with OLP and NDP culture critics Amanda Simard (Glengarry—Prescott— Russell) and MPP Dr. Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul's). 



Treasurers Report, Richard Pommainville 

OBIN had a total revenue of $2,444, which was received from memberships and donations. There was a total of $1,830 in expenses, which were related  mostly to communication tools. As of August 31, 2021, there was a cash  balance of $3,602 in the account with $1,583 restricted. 

Looking ahead to 2022…. 

The June 2, 2022, Ontario Provincial Election and the Fall 2022 municipal  elections are a major focus for OBIN. This is an opportunity to further raise  awareness of income inequality and to ensure that “Basic Income Now” is  

promoted as a way to improve the current financial challenges that many  Ontarians are facing. 

Together, with Basic Income Canada Network (BICN), Coalition Canada  Basic Income – revenue de base, Basic Income Canada Youth Network  (BICYN), UBI Works, and the Affiliates across Ontario, we will amplify  Ontarians’ voices by working toward a Federal Basic Income Guarantee.



This includes requesting that the provincial candidates: 

Advocate and work with the Federal Government on the development  and implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee; 

Shift the existing provincial income support system toward Basic  Income principles that require less conditionality while providing  recipients with a liveable income with more autonomy. 

OBIN is currently facilitating a Working Group to develop and implement a  strategic plan for escalating Basic Income as a priority for the 2022 Ontario  Provincial Election.  

The plan will include a two-pronged approach: 

Continue to build the Basic Income movement and expand its  supporters to advocate for a basic income; and 

Educate, support, and identify Basic Income champions within the  candidates for elected positions. 

Many of the tactics used during the federal election will be replicated for the  provincial and municipal elections, including utilizing a variety of  communications tools to build support. OBIN is seeking further financial  donations to assist with the purchase of signs and merchandise for  distribution. 

Critical actions for 2022 include: 

Development of additional Cases for Basic Income to assist with  discussions with politicians and other key stakeholders. 

Collaboration and relationship building with other community  organizations focused on income security that will help strengthen our  message. 

Building the Affiliate networks in Ontario to increase our reach,  strengthen our voice, and to encourage supporters to have discussions  with their local politicians and communities. 

Alongside OBIN’s supporters and the existing Basic Income Network, we will  continue to build a strong and powerful movement for the implementation of a  Basic Income.