Ottawa group says there’s enough evidence to support a basic income program

By: Kate F. Mackenzie

An Ottawa group is advocating for a basic, livable income for those living below the poverty line. 
Joe Foster, who is involved in the Basic Income Ottawa group, told The Sam Laprade Show on Sept. 20 that it would ensure people meet their basic needs regardless of their work status.

He added that the recent spike in people accessing food banks in Ottawa indicates greater poverty problems. 
Foster, whose background is in economics and engineering, said the concept of a basic income has been around for a long time, but people still know little about it. He explained that myths around providing a basic income include that people will be too lazy to find work and that the program would be too expensive.

“If you look at the money we put into poverty from federal, provincial, municipal [levels], we’re pouring in lots of money… we’re putting a lot of money into poverty elimination, but we’re not really doing it properly,” he said. 
Foster said there have been enough pilot projects to realize it’s a viable option, with countries including Finland and Brazil experimenting with it, and Canada testing it in Manitoba from 1974 to 1978.

“Look at the facts. There’s enough evidence,” he said. 

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