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Author Archives: Roderick Benns

World Food Day: 12 ways to end hunger, including basic income

October 16 is World Food Day. First observed in 1979, World Food Day honours the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on October 16, 1945 in Quebec, Canada. This year’s theme, Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too, builds upon the FAO’s vision of achieving food security for all through regular access to ... Read More »

Has neoliberalism imperiled our health? Could Basic Income serve as remedy?

In a recent 2015 paper, Ronald Labonte and David Stuckler argue that the rise of neoliberalism has led to bad economics which in turn has imperiled population health. They argue that cuts to health and social protection systems under neoliberal nations (like Canada and the US) pose major health risks. As well, structural changes to a new globalized labour market ... Read More »

Children living on reserves deserve same services as other Canadian children

Alanis Obomsawin’s powerful documentary, We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice,’ debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.  The film chronicles the nine year legal battle initiated by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (FNCFCS) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) against the Harper government. In 2007, the FNCFCS and the AFN filed ... Read More »

Guelph panel unanimously agrees on need for basic income, with qualifiers

Four panelists met in the southwestern Ontario city of Guelph Wednesday night to debate the merits of a basic income guarantee. When the dust settled, there may have been more common ground than first imagined. The central question of the evening was ‘Can a Basic Income Guarantee Eliminate Poverty?’ Sheila Regehr, chair of the Basic Income Canada Network, kicked off the evening ... Read More »

Basic income would help the most severe instances of poverty

A basic income guarantee is not a magic bullet for all forms of economic deprivation in our society, according to a York University professor – but it’s absolutely necessary for the most severe instances of poverty. Dr. Dennis Raphael, a professor of Health Policy and Management at York University in Toronto, says the people in poverty within the bottom 10-15 ... Read More »

Canada a hotspot for Basic Income Week activities, discussions, and events

The ninth annual Basic Income Week surpassed all expectations in Canada with a plethora of basic income-related activities of note. This reflects only a limited cross-section of activities: Ontario Basic Income Pilot Nowhere is the discussion about basic income more developed than in Ontario where the government is poised to release the parameters of a basic income pilot this fall. ... Read More »

Basic income: An indispensable social safety net

Part Two If we hadn’t innovated in the past with respect to our social policy, we would have no Canada Pension Plan. We would have no Employment Insurance. We would have no Guaranteed Income Supplement. These safety nets of our present were unaffordable in our past according to their critics at the time. Often, what we say is unaffordable is ... Read More »

Basic income: Designing a better society

Part One Some critics of basic income argue that people will become lazy should we implement basic income in Ontario or Canada. Is there any logic to such thinking? Is it logical to use deprivation to keep people in jobs that don’t pay? Do we really expect a growing precariat to believe in society if societal attitudes are to carry ... Read More »

‘Everyone has a story’: An interview with Dr. Gary Bloch on basic income and rejecting stereotypes

Roderick Benns recently interviewed Dr. Gary Bloch about basic income. Bloch is a family physician with St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and co-Chair of the Ontario College of Family Physicians’ Committee on Poverty and Health.  His clinical, educational, program development, and research interests focus on the intersection between poverty and health, and specifically on what primary care providers can do to ... Read More »