Frost out, Celebrations in, as basic income meeting adapts to college strike

By Roderick Benns

Frost out, Celebrations in, as basic income meeting adapts to college strike

The Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) is in town this week and has organized a free public discussion on basic income this Friday, Nov. 3 — but it won’t be at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay after all, because of the protracted strike.

Instead, it will be at Celebrations, at 35 Lindsay St. N., the former Cambridge Street United Church, from 3:30-5:30 pm. Registration opens at 3 pm.

About 2,000 students in Lindsay have been left out of class in a battle about job quality for college instructors.

Audrey Healy, union steward for Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) Local 352, says that 81 per cent of courses taught at Ontario colleges are taught by contract faculty. These instructors go from semester to semester, never knowing if they will have another course to teach.

“We’ve asked for a 50-50 ratio instead,” Healy told The Lindsay Advocate, between part-time contract faculty and full-time work, among other concerns.

Free public discussion on basic income at Fleming College
Rob Rainer, OBIN.

Basic Income Meeting

The basic income meeting is a chance to explore how basic income might benefit the town, according to the chair of OBIN’s provisional steering committee, Rob Rainer.

“The public event is an opportunity to explore the various ways basic income could really help the people of Lindsay,” he says.

“A diversity of speakers will be sharing their varying perspectives on the difference basic income could make,” Rainer adds.

Lindsay is critical to the success of the pilot, given the size of the town and the number of expected sign-ups.

“The town is so important to the Ontario pilot project because of the potential number who will sign up and the percentage of the town’s population that may participate in the pilot,” he says.

Out of the 20,000 people in Lindsay, about 2,000 are expected to sign up, or 10 per cent of the population.

“It is in Lindsay that researchers involved with the pilot will likely best be able to assess community-wide impacts of basic income,” Rainer says.

Speakers at the event include:

  • Roderick Benns, publisher of The Lindsay Advocate and vice chair of OBIN
  • Mike Perry, past chair, Kawartha Lakes Food Coalition
  • Josephine Grey, human rights advocate, Low Income Families Together
  • Bert Lauwers, CEO, Ross Memorial Hospital
  • Police Chief John Hagarty, Kawartha Lakes Police Service
  • Tim Ellis, OBIN

Basic income sign-ups are ramping up in Lindsay, with in-person enrollment sessions again happening this week.

These are people who signed up at the recent Lindsay Exhibition, and those who called a government number in advance to apply.

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