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).
*** Minutes Of The C-Team's Meetings are at obin.ca/c_team_minutes. ***
Current Coordinating Team (C-Team) Members
(click on an orange link to go to each bio)
Facilitator: Joe Foster
Co-facilitator: John Mills
Treasurer: Richard Pommainville
Recording Secretary: Kevin Smith
Youth Liaison: Chloe Halpenny
Promotion and Communications
Co-ordinator: Adam Zvric
Co-coordinator: Tiffany Cece
Advisor: Netta Kornberg
Co-ordinator: Caterina Lindman
Co-coordinator: position is open
Co-ordinator: Barbara Boraks
Co-coordinator: position is open
Co-ordinator: position is open
Co-coordinator: position is open
Other C-Team Members
Research Coordinator: Tracy Smith-Carrier
Research Co-coordinator: Ron Hikel
Advisor: Craig Berggold
Joe Foster [email protected]
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.
John Mills [email protected]
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 mid-1970s. After losing my job in 2005, I was forced to apply for social assistance. I lived that experience of poverty until I officially 'retired' at age 65.
The poverty experience prompted me to become involved with the fellow-underprivileged in my community. Basic income was among the subject areas that arose. After much reading on the subject 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 and subsequently, as a Director of the Income Security Advocacy Centre. After experiencing frequent bouts of depression, I 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 and subsequently, Co-Facilitator. 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.
Richard Pommainville [email protected]
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 for over 30 years in the Telecommunication equipment provider sector working for Nortel and Ciena.
Richard holds an M.A. in 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.
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 that 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.
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 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 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 nskprojects.ca.
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.
Recently, I joined Basic Income of Waterloo Region. I am enthused about the elegance of Basic Income as a way to ensure that everyone in Canada, (and someday, everyone regardless of nationality), can get their basic needs met. I think that will unleash a lot of human potential that is currently being wasted. As an actuary and as a citizen, I am interested in questions about fairness and financing, and I am convinced that we can implement a Basic Income in Canada (and globally) that practically eliminates poverty while reducing income and wealth inequality.
I am happy to be part of the Co-ordinating Team for the Ontario Basic Income Network, working on Internal Relations. It has been my experience that people in the Basic Income movement are very welcoming, and I look forward to meeting and working with more Basic Income advocates.
I have retired after a 35-year actuarial career with Manulife. While working as an actuary, I helped develop the Actuaries Climate Index, which provides objective scientific data about Climate Change. I also co-founded Actuaries for Sustainable Healthcare, which helps to educate Actuaries and others about the benefits of whole, plant-based foods for preventing and reversing chronic illness. I lead the Kitchener-Waterloo chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Citizens’ Climate Lobby works for a liveable planet by advocating for effective carbon taxes, with cash going back to citizens.
Albert Einstein once said, “I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?” Basic Income can go a long way to ensuring that the answer is ‘YES!’
Barbara Boraks [email protected]
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 that 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 that 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 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.
Co-ordinator: position is open
Co-coordinator: position is open
Tracy Smith-Carrier [email protected]
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 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 an 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.
Craig is a filmmaker, media artist, teacher and organizer. His award-winning films have been seen at festivals and galleries around the world. He is the lead researcher at The Canadian Farmworkers Union Archive Project at Simon Fraser University. His writings include, “The Colour of Food” and “Canada: Mexico found guilty of blacklisting pro-union migrant workers."
Craig also teaches media production, cultural studies, and labour studies, and is a key organizer for OBIN's basic income and arts campaign. "As a freelancer in the gig economy without benefits, I believe a basic income guarantee will lift up the precarious ensuring financial stability and support the remarkable creative capacity of individuals and a living culture."
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