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Council to discuss support of ‘Basic Income Guarantee’ resolution

UPDATE: Council supports resolution.  There are now 65 municipalities supporting this resolution, up from 50 two weeks ago.

Councillor Lenny Epstein will seek council’s support, at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, of a resolution from the City of Kingston related to a ‘Basic Income Guarantee’.

The Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Social Services Committee, supported the idea in April but due to the many variables associated with implementation, will be further studied, and a report with recommendations made.

The City of Kingston, in December, supported the resolution, and is requesting the support of other municipalities throughout the province.

The resolution notes the 2011 National Household Survey confirming that 14.9 per cent of the population lives in low-income circumstances, a percentage exceeded in Kingston which is 15.4 per cent.

It states income security and inequality continues to increase as a result of precarious employment and that existing income security programs have not proved sufficient to ensure adequate, secure income. Insufficient income has well-established relationships to a range of adverse public health outcomes and is a root cause of many social ills such as illiteracy, short-fall of education, chronic stress, alienation and criminal activity.

A basic income guarantee would be designed to help people meet basic needs and live in dignity regardless of work status and provide an income floor for those doing socially essential, but unpaid work.

The resolution also states a guarantee would provide also support entrepreneurship and job transition and would resemble income guarantees already provided in Canada for seniors.

The idea of basic income has been studied in Canada for decades. A four-year program in Manitoba in the 1970s reported relative success. The aim, generally, eliminates the need for employment insurance or welfare, child benefits and old age security funds. Those opposed cite the policy allows governments to abdicate responsibility for creating good jobs and report it is not favoured by unions.

The resolution will also be forwarded to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, including the Big City Mayors’ Caucus.

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  1. Gary says:

    Councilor Epstein caved and let down Picton residents on a decrease in Council size and providing voter equity. It was embarrassing representation. He has done little to address out of control and unsustainable water costs other than sending it to a committee for more non solutions. And now his soap box is for providing everyone a guaranteed wage! He has lost my faith and my vote.

  2. Dennis Fox says:

    While I support the concept and need, our Council’s opinion doesn’t matter on this topic. They can’t manage the money they do have jurisdiction over, so they should forget about trying to influence the other upper tier governments However it is a good diversion away from our own reality with our council. I still wonder why Councillor Epstein voted against downsizing council in a meaningful way? He said that it wasn’t an issue close to his heart – but his issue is???

  3. Gary says:

    Really, and who is going to pay for this? Why is the County dabbling into a provincial & federal scheme? Time would be better spent sharpening the pencils at Shire Hall and taking efforts to make the County a more affordable place to live. With our skyrocketing water costs which I believe near the highest in the Country, there is plenty of work for Council on the home front.

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