September 2020 Newsletter

Ontario Basic Income Network

Hello OBIN Member --

Thank you for opening the September OBIN Newsletter. We apologise for not getting information out to you last month. Scheduling difficulties and 'summer' got in the way. We are pleased to be back in the saddle again, though! There are lots of happenings on the basic income front and we have tried to highlight the different areas your coordinating group has been working on to keep you informed. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or need some help with a locally planned activity. We are here for you. 


Please mark your calendars now!

OBIN Basic Income Day Blitz

September 19

Get ready for the OBIN Basic Income Day Blitz in cooperation with the International Basic Income March to help celebrate International Basic Income Week. Your imagination and action are needed! One proposed activity will be a massive Poster campaign – details will follow shortly.

Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Basic Income Network

Saturday, September 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All are welcome to join us

Held online via Zoom on a computer or phone link.

In addition to the OBIN business meeting, there will be special presentations on:

The Basic Income Project in Kenya (by leaders of Give Directly)

Organizing Basic Income Advocacy at the Local level (by Basic Income Waterloo Region)

Mobilizing Youth in achieving Basic Income (by the Basic Income Canada Youth Network)

We would love to see as many of you as can make it. YOU are the ones who give us our direction. Please register to attend the AGM. You will receive a follow-up email advising you of the link to take to join us along with a link to cancel your registration if life gets in the way and you won't be able to attend. 

More details to follow – Please register today!

Facilitator’s Corner

The crises of the pandemic and, in its wake, the havoc for our economic and social justice, cries out for all of us to get actively involved.

I grew up on a small farm in Saskatchewan, experiencing poverty first-hand and saw it in the little communities around me. After university, I moved on to a variety of careers: with Northern Electric in Montreal, with UNDP in Malaysia, and with CIDA and External Affairs in developing countries.

It was really through my volunteer work that I sought to understand poverty, its impact on all of us and what we can do about it. I helped to build a community centre/health clinic in Lusaka, to expand Daybreak Housing in Ottawa, and to build a house with Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador.

However, it was my role of Human Rights Critic for the Green Party that led me to research the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Its preamble lays the basis: "whereas the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."

Specifically, Article 25 states:

"Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

My eureka moment came when I read this! All of my training, work and values came together. A Guaranteed Basic Income, acknowledging the dignity of the individual, would be a solution. It is doable, affordable and politically feasible.

Every day there is news where a Basic Income would make a huge difference to someone. Think of individuals in a small community on the Prairies, a fishing village in Newfoundland or a person with a disability who can work only part-time, and the list goes on. And, had it been in place prior to the pandemic, the government would not still be trying to fill the gaps for those needing financial assistance.

Canada signed the UDHR in 1948 but we are still waiting. I’m convinced that the future for a country that truly believes in human rights and the improvements needed in both economic and social activities, requires a new kind of social safety net. This is best accomplished in the form of a Basic Income program. If you still doubt this, please look at the string of evidence on our website and join us!

Joe Foster   [email protected]

Special Projects

I have been busy over the past few months working with the coordinating team on ‘Making the Case for Basic Income for Women’. We now have thousands of women that have signed on to let the government know that a basic income is what is needed in Canada, particularly as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) comes to a close. I also participated on a webinar offered through the Tamarack Institute with a dynamic panel (Evelyn Forget and Josephine Grey, moderated by Laura Cattari) on the same topic. I’m currently working, alongside Deirdre Pike and Chloe Halpenny, on a briefing note to make our government officials aware of the benefits of a basic income for women, and to promote Basic Income Day on September 19, 2020.

Tracy Smith-Carrier

External Relations

OBIN's work continues to break new ground and create programming that helps to bring the goal of adopting a basic income a bit closer! In July, the Case for Basic Income for the Arts sent a statement signed by over 250 Arts-based national and local organizations and individuals to Prime Minister Trudeau - and we received international media coverage! The statement for the Case for Basic Income for Women is being circulated and we currently have over 3000 signatures!!!

Plans for a virtual Lobby 'Week' to be held in October are moving quickly. We are reaching out to federal representatives, committees, and caucuses and identifying the key issues about Basic Income that need to be addressed - including many misconceptions and myths. Our MP sponsors include representatives from the Liberal, Conservative, Green, NDP parties and Independents. Our Quebec colleagues are working with Bloc representatives.

So - a very exciting few months are coming up. Please check out more information about the 'Cases' project and Lobby Week on our web site.

Barb Boraks

Internal Relations

I would like to take a moment to thank Monika for the great work that she has done with OBIN over the last year working with me on Internal Relations as well as a number of other OBIN endeavours. Monika has decided to step back and concentrate on her own life for awhile. Beatrice Henry from the Waterloo Region has volunteered to step into the role of Internal Relations co-Coordinator working with me to try to keep all of our local groups informed and supported. I cannot express the appreciation that I feel from people all over the province working with us trying to push this movement forward.

I will be working with all of the other Coordinators for the next few weeks getting our AGM together so that we can present a forum that all of us can be a part of. It is especially crucial right now that we work together to try to get our Federal government thinking of the people rather than corporations while we work our way out of the pandemic fallout. The easiest and most effective way of doing that is by adopting a basic income. In that spirit, I would like to ask you to consider giving your support to the Honourable Leah Gazan, M.P., Winnipeg Centre for her Motion-46 which was submitted to the House recently.

John Mills

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