The C-Team

OBIN Coordinating Team - Fall 2020

The OBIN Coordinating Team (C-Team) meets regularly to make decisions and implement the members' direction for OBIN. Coordinators and Co-coordinators are elected each year preferably for a two-year term in alternating years (where feasible).


Current Coordinating Team (C-Team) Members

(click on an orange link to go to each bio)

Facilitator: Joe Foster 

Co-facilitator: Jim Mulvale

Treasurer: Robert Pommainville    

Recording Secretary: Kevin Smith

Youth Liaison: Chloe Halpenny

Promotion and Communications
Co-ordinator: Adam Zvric
Co-coordinator: Tiffany Cece
Advisor: Netta Kornberg

Internal Relations
Co-ordinator: John Mills
Co-coordinator: position is open

External Relations
Co-ordinator: Barbara Boraks
Co-coordinator: position is open

Special Programs
Co-ordinator: Tracy Smith-Carrier
Co-coordinator: Ron Hikel

Technical Team
Website Developer: Saul Bottcher
Website Content: Sharon Zoschke
Proof Reader: Belle Song


Joe Foster

My career began in Montreal as an Electrical Engineer, followed  by 2 years with CUSO in Zambia  teaching at the University of Zambia. After completing an MBA at McMaster in International Business and Economics, I worked on multiple assignments overseas through the UN and Canadian government, including in Malaysia, Jamaica, Belize, and Pakistan.

As a volunteer, I worked with several downtown churches in Ottawa to create group housing and with Habitat for Humanity to build a house in El Salvador. Upon retiring, I served as President and then Human Rights Critic of the Green Party of Canada.

All of my past training, work and volunteer experience led to my interest in Basic Income as a solution to the issue of poverty and injustice. However, based on my training in engineering and economics, along with my political experience, I needed to be convinced that Basic Income was grounded on solid evidence, as well as being affordable and politically feasible. I am convinced that all of these conditions are met, and that poverty in Canada is inexcusable. 

For a stable and secure future, both economically and socially, Canada urgently needs a more enlightened social safety net in the form of a national Basic Income program.  


Jim Mulvale

I first stumbled across the idea of basic income when I was working on my book entitled Reimaging Social Welfare published in 2001.  My quest in this book was to unearth innovative thinking about the future of social welfare in Canada among progressive social movements.  Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be a lot of new thoughts being thunk at that time.    

But in my research I did encounter the idea of “universal basic income” that was being promoted by some philosophers and social policy scholars in Europe.  This group was largely centred around the Basic Income European Network (now called Basic Income Earth Network), and I started going to their conferences.  I was intrigued to learn that the idea of basic income was gradually taking hold in various countries around the world. 

Canada was one of these countries.  Over the years, we had had sporadic proposals – and even an experiment in Manitoba in the 1970s – for what was usually called “guaranteed annual income.”  Interest in this model for income security for all was re-emerging in Canada in the 2000s.  I was involved in the establishment of the Basic Income Canada Network in 2008.  I continued researching and publishing on basic income in my day job as a university professor of social work at the University of Manitoba.  I have been involved with Basic Income Manitoba, and now serve on the Coordination Team of the Ontario Basic Income Network


Richard Pommainville

Richard is a strong believer that by providing opportunities, we can provide alternatives to certain social and economic disadvantage situations.

Richard is currently Executive Director for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul for the National Council of Canada, with main focus on communication, technology introduction and governance. Prior, Richard worked over 30 years in the Telecommunication equipment provider sector working for Nortel and Ciena.

Richard holds of an M.A. Economics from Carleton University, and a B. Math Honors Statistics/Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.

Richard is currently on the Board of directors of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), holding the position of treasurer, and chair of the Finance and Audit Committee. Richard is chair of the administrative affairs Board of Sainte-Geneviève Church in Ottawa.

Richard has been a mentor with the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) since 2007, and continuing mentoring virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Kevin Smith

Taught secondary school in Nigeria, Montreal and Antigonish, Nova Scotia; became the Field Representative for the Canadian University Service Overseas (CUSO), for the Southern Caribbean, initially in Georgetown, Guyana and later in Bridgetown, Barbados.

29 years of my career was with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as a project manager, working in a wide variety of technical fields ranging from health and integrated rural development through to oil and gas and power transmission projects. I worked on a number of country programs in Tanzania, India - Nepal, Egypt-Sudan, Pakistan, China, the former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina) and Bangladesh. I was posted to Dar-es Salam, New Delhi, Islamabad, Beijing and Dhaka.

Retirement: I am a member of St. Basil’s Catholic Church and have sung in the choirs, served on the pastoral council for three years, including chair of the committee, chaired the Social Action Committee for five years and I continue to provide ESL training for a Syrian refugee. I am also a member of the Ottawa Community Concert Band, serve as secretary on the executive committee; hobbies: singing, clarinet, bridge, tennis and reading.

My interest in joining the Ontario Basic Income Network is threefold: I believe that OBIN is an effective method for addressing poverty in our communities and secondly, I am convinced that the extent of the inequality in our society is a serious impediment which has created a broad range of social and economic problems. Finally, I believe that a basic income program would relieve much of the middle class frustration that has developed over the past forty years due to the failure of the bottom 99% of society to share in the benefits of the progressive and substantial productivity increases which have occurred during that period. The leverage needed by basic income programs will be our ability to convince our neighbours and fellow citizens that the economic, medical, commercial and social benefit of this type of program will outweigh the related costs.


Chloe Halpenny  

Based in Ottawa, Chloe (she/her) is a proud feminist and social justice advocate passionate about a more equitable world, and believes basic income is part of the solution in getting us there. She came to basic income through her Master’s research interviewing participants in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, and has never looked back. In addition to her work with the OBIN Coordinating Team, Chloe is a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Youth Network.

Outside of the basic income world, Chloe works as a social policy researcher at the Social Research and Evaluation Corporation. An active community member, she is the Co-Chair of Women’s March Ottawa, sits on the Board of Elizabeth Fry Ottawa, is a member of Senator McPhedran’s Youth Advisory Council, and volunteers with Youth Ottawa, Dress for Success Ottawa, and as an undergraduate student mentor.

Chloe holds an MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies (University of Cambridge), an MSc in Social Policy & Development (London School of Economics), and a Bachelor of Public Affairs & Policy Management (Carleton University).




Adam Zvric    

Adam works on social media and communications, helping spread the word about OBIN and the basic income movement across Ontario and Canada.

Adam is originally from Windsor, Ontario. He obtained a bachelor's degree in International Relations & Development Studies from the University of Windsor and a master's degree in International Peace & Security from King's College London in the United Kingdom. Adam focused his master's research on inequality and social cohesion, which led to his interest in basic income. He has since worked in several NGOs in London and Ghana in various roles, including stakeholder engagement. He currently works at McMaster University as a researcher.

Co-coordinator: Tiffany Cece


Netta Kornberg photo

Netta Kornberg

Netta is an organizer and educator with international experience in adult education, public health, and the arts. She holds an MPhil. at the University of Cambridge.

Netta has worked at York University Faculty of Education, Artists' Health Alliance, South African History Online, and Peoples’ Health Movement South Africa. Her writing has been featured in academic, popular, and government publications. Past research topics include Namibian women’s literature, innovative pedagogy in Ontario schools, and health equity for & amongst artists. She currently works in research impact at the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research, York University. See more of her work at

An avid volunteer, Netta has been involved with Hospice Toronto, Friends of Watkinson Park, and Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club. She joins OBIN with the conviction that guaranteed basic income is a key policy for health equity.



John Mills

I am interested in people and what each individual that I come in contact with has to offer and what I can offer them. I was born, lived, educated, and worked all over Western Canada before moving to Toronto in the late 1970s. I lost my six-figure salary job in 2005 when I was 54 and finding another job in information technology at that age proved impossible. For the next five years, I looked for work and even spent forty months in Oregon helping a friend re-establish a business. When I returned to Toronto in 2010, I was forced to apply for social assistance. I moved to Hamilton in 2011 for many reasons, all related to poverty. I lived that experience of poverty until I officially 'retired' at age 65 in 2017.

The poverty experience prompted me to become involved with the underprivileged in my community. Basic income was among the subject areas that arose. The more reading I did on the subject, the more I understood the inequalities of the existing system and the benefits that would accrue from a basic income. From those readings and my frustration at not having my talents recognized and utilized by potential employers and local groups, I became an active volunteer. I joined the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction's 'Speak Now' Speakers Bureau to try to put a different face on poverty by telling my personal story. I applied for and was accepted as a Director for the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. I found that I experienced frequent bouts of depression and joined Mood Menders Support Services, a peer group designed to help those experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health issues. I served in all of their executive positions over many years with that organization. I also joined the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits, a Hamilton grassroots organization dedicated to helping those affected by poverty.

And then I became involved with the basic income movement. I attended the North American Basic Income Group (NABIG) Congress in Winnipeg in 2016 and delivered a paper to a plenary session. Immediately following the NABIG Congress in Hamilton in 2018, I applied for and was voted onto the Board of the Basic Income Canada Network. As a result of that experience, it was suggested to me that I would be a good fit for the nascent Ontario Basic Income Network in the role of Internal Relations Coordinator. Along the way, I became involved with the equally new Hamilton Basic Income Group (now Basic Income Hamilton) and sit on their Steering Committee.

I am thrilled to be involved with a movement that will ultimately cast a whole new face on Canadian society. A basic income will inevitably become the de facto floor for every citizen of this great country and I pledge to continue my endeavours to make this a reality.

Co-coordinator: this position is open...please contact John Mills if interested in finding out more.



 Barbara Boraks photo

Barbara Boraks

It sometimes seems that Barbara has spent a lifetime preparing for working towards a basic income in Canada. A lot of her work has been about trying to build a more just and equitable society. For over 30 years Barbara has been the Executive Director of Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto, a non-profit organization which works toward bettering the relationship among many religious traditions.

She has also worked on projects at federal, provincial, and municipal levels, frequently with a focus on identifying systems which just don’t work anymore and trying to find a better way forward. Then she learned about basic income, and well, hasn’t looked back since. Barbara firmly believes that a basic income method of social support can not only address the very real and heartbreaking problems of income insecurity, but it can help build a stronger society. She hopes you can join this work.

Co-coordinator: This position is open to someone who likes working with people, is fascinated with politics, and doesn’t mind just jumping in and seeing what happens! Send Barbara an email if you are interested.



Tracy Smith-Carrier

Tracy Smith-Carrier is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at King’s University College at Western University. Her program of research touches upon a number of different fields in the social policy arena, including access to social welfare benefits, social assistance receipt, food and income security, and basic income. Tracy is currently the Special Projects Co-coordinator of the Ontario Basic Income Network, and Chair of Basic Income London, Ontario.


Ron Hikel

Ron is a political scientist. He taught this discipline in US and Canadian Universities, then applied its insights while working for the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia (income security, social services and health care). For the international accounting and management consulting firm KPMG, he was a managing partner and executive director of the KPMG (Canada) Centre for Government. He worked on Capitol Hill as aide to a Member of Congress during the first two years of the Obama administration and has advised politicians and worked on numerous electoral campaigns in the United States, Canada and Britain.

Most relevantly, he negotiated, set up and managed the Canada-Manitoba experiment (Mincome) with guaranteed annual income from 1972 to 1977.



Website Developer: Saul Bottcher

Website Content: Sharon Zoschke

Proof Reader: Belle Song