BIG Policy – Basic Income Guarantee

Basic income guarantee (BIG) policies have recently garnered focus and attention on the provincial, national, and international policy stage. For example, Ontario has announced a BIG pilot project, beginning as early as Fall 2016 and was recently formalized as an official policy of the Liberal Party of Canada. A BIG policy replaces numerous benefit programs (e.g., employment insurance, old age security) with a a direct cash transfer from the government to its citizens that is not predicated on labour market participation.

The fundamental premise is that a BIG maintains income at a level high enough to satisfy basic needs, thus alleviating poverty and may improve population health outcomes. However, BIG policies also have also received a fair share of criticism. This week, we bring in three expert guests to break down this complex and controversial policy proposal.

Dr. Christopher Mackie is the Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer for the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU). He is also an Assistant Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and biostatistics. Previously, Dr. Mackie as a Public Health Physician with Public Health Ontario and has experience in community development in the impoverished North End of Winnipeg. He has also practiced as a family doctor in homeless shelters in Hamilton.

Armine Yalnizyan is a senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which FOCUSES ON. She is also Vice-President of the Canadian Association for Business Economics and serves on the boards of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s Institute of Population and Public Health and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

Sheila Regehr is the Chairperson and a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Network. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare. Her 29 years of federal public service spanned front-line work, policy analysis and development, international relations and senior management, and she has policy expertise in the areas of income security and taxation.

Tracy Wang, Host & Producer
Chantale Bielak & Alisha Harkness, Guest Hosts
Janet Tsang & Emilie De Monte, Technical Producers
Samira Basir, Executive Producer

Music Credits 
Even The Darkness Has Arms by The Barr Brothers
Care For You by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald

Photo Credit
Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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