James Collura is receiving a basic income through the Ontario Basic Income Pilot Program, in Hamilton. The Hamilton area, along with Thunder Bay and Lindsay, are the three basic income pilot sites. He has been using it in a way that serves his community. Lindsay Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns interviews Collura on exactly how – and why – he is using his new income floor in this way.
Benns: How did you find yourself in the position you were in so that you were able to begin receiving basic income?
Collura: I studied economics at McMaster and graduated with a BA. Like most students in my program, I realized my education didn’t exactly qualify me to be an economist or execute any valuable job-skill. I ended up working as a teller at a bank, where I found the most valuable aspect of my job was the personal interactions I had everyday. Meeting new characters, discovering their needs, witnessing their spending habits and lifestyles, and getting to know people from all walks of life. I had a big interest in the future of technology, because at my age, I need to anticipate what’s to come – the future of jobs in an automated world. At the bank, I realized my job was quickly becoming ‘app-ified’, and my top assignment was to convert customers to ‘digital banking’.