May 28, 2020

11° C, Light rain showers

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us

Basic income's potential in Canada worth a buck

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/12/2018 (516 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s no surprise that someone who had a bumpy start in life like Winnipeg-based author Evelyn Forget would be concerned with health, happiness and security.

Forget’s father died when she was 12, and she and her two younger siblings were raised by her mother, first on Mother’s Allowance and then on low-skilled and low-waged jobs.

Owing to her mother’s hard work as well as her own, Forget went on to become a professor of economics and an internationally recognized expert on basic income. What is a surprise is, unlike many who have succeeded as she has done, she has not forgotten how profoundly our social and economic circumstances shape our ability to take risks and to imagine brighter futures.

The argument Forget makes in this balanced and readable analysis of basic income for Canadians is that we will all be better off when the most marginalized among us can imagine and achieve those brighter futures. Using stories of fellow Canadians to illustrate her points, Forget outlines the background of basic-income research, including the Mincome experiment in Dauphin which has been the inspiration for her life’s work since she completed university.

Forget illustrates the significant improvements in school completion rates for teenage boys and health outcomes for all participants uncovered in her groundbreaking 2011 review of the Dauphin data entitled The Town With No Poverty. She also makes the case for a made-in-Canada basic income using a clearly presented economic argument about the long-term cost savings and benefits to the country as a whole, as well as through stories that illustrate the powerful good that could come from a basic income for many among us.

These include the young people in the so-called "gig economy," the older workers whose plant is shut down before they are ready for retirement, new Canadians who are hoping to start their own businesse, and families wishing to care for children and elders.

While basic-income purists would argue that the idea must be universal as well as unconditional, Forget takes a pragmatic approach to what would be politically acceptable and financially feasible, proposing a model for Canada that is targeted but still unconditional.

This careful analysis is written to engage even the most skeptical of readers, outside of political partisanship, with a chapter devoted to addressing the strongest counter-arguments to basic income and another to outlining how we could afford a basic income.

Forget demonstrates a commitment to creating the space for a national conversation about our shared values, and how we will confront the increasing disruptions to our workforce, as well as the evident failures of our current models of social assistance.

Her work is meant to be read by ordinary Canadians. It is not dense or dogmatic as other work of leading authors in the field tends to be, but rather inclusive and attuned to Canada’s diversity and constitutional framework.

As Forget wryly notes, the root cause of poverty for most people who would be eligible for her basic income is "a lack of money." Economic insecurity is a hallmark of the 21st century; it could affect any of us, and many predict that it is not going to go away. As Forget argues, we can afford a basic income — it is just a matter of will.

This book will help readers inform themselves so that we can uncover the will to ensure health, happiness and security for all of us.

Lorna Turnbull is the chairwoman of Basic Income Manitoba, a professor of income tax law and the former dean of the faculty of law at the University of Manitoba.


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us