Preamble – Why basic income?
The Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) believes that a basic income that adheres to the principles below will reduce poverty, enhance economic equality, and help build a more just society and sustainable economy. OBIN also believes that a basic income will help to combat racism and colonialism, advance gender equality, and promote the full social inclusion of marginalized groups in Ontario and Canada.
OBIN: Basic Income Statement of Principles
Basic income ensures that everyone has a sufficient income to meet their needs and live with dignity, regardless of work or family status.
We are committed to a basic income program based on these principles:
- efficient, regular provision of benefits (e.g. on a bi-weekly or monthly basis) that is legislated
- adequacy of benefit level that is indexed to cost-of-living increases
- works in conjunction with other income security programs and health and social services
- provides a secure income floor for everyone - no one receiving a basic income will be worse off than they currently are with existing income security programs
- is built on cooperation of the federal and provincial/territorial governments
Basic income can be delivered as an income-tested program (directed to those whose income falls below a predetermined level of adequacy). In this approach:
- the determination of eligibility and benefit level must be simple, transparent, and non-stigmatizing. This determination must strictly avoid traditional “means-testing” - having to dispose of fixed assets or savings in order to become eligible, or to submit to unnecessarily intrusive or degrading application procedures.
- the basic income benefit must be provided quickly when needed, and adjusted quickly when income from other sources rises or falls
- the basic income payment is not reduced dollar-for-dollar when a recipient engages in paid employment, but at a rate which allows the recipient to benefit from paid work when this is possible and desirable.
Basic income is not a substitute for social and health programs that serve Canadians. It provides a dependable income floor that complements – but does not replace – public services such as universal health care, affordable housing, child care, and in-kind supports for persons who live with disabilities.
Basic income is also not a substitute for measures to ensure fairness in the labour market. These measures include an adequate minimum wage, strong employment standards, pay and employment equity, and the right to organize unions and to bargain collectively with employers. Basic income provides a secure economic floor that enables Canadians to undertake paid employment in more fair, flexible, and fulfilling ways.
26 September 2020