‘Lindsay Declaration’ on progressive basic income passed by delegates

By Roderick Benns

'Lindsay Declaration' on progressive basic income passed by Ontario delegates
Ontario Basic Income Network delegates.

Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) delegates met in Lindsay recently to assert their vision of what a basic income guarantee should look like.

The Lindsay Declaration for a Progressive Basic Income passed unanimously, a statement of nine key points to guide policy makers.

OBIN chose Lindsay as the site to hold its provincial meeting this year, given Lindsay’s distinction as the pilot site that will see the most people signed up for the Ontario basic income pilot (about 2,000.) Thunder Bay and Hamilton area are the other two sites that were chosen.

The meeting was held at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on William Street, where OBIN delegates hammered out and passed the agreement after some earlier debate.

The nine key points of the Lindsay declaration are as follows:

  1. Basic income must be promoted as a means for economic and social equity and justice, not for charity; and must be aimed at preventing poverty, reducing inequality, promoting health, supporting human resilience, enhancing freedom, and enabling human potential.
  2. Given the wealth of Ontario and of Canada, basic income must be promoted from a perspective of fiscal abundance, not scarcity or austerity.
  3. Basic income must be a regular (e.g., monthly), reliable (non-withdrawable), non-taxable, and non-stigmatizing (confidential) payment.
  4. Basic income must be accessible to all eligible persons and receipt of basic income must not be conditional upon work or any other participation or behavioural requirements.
  5. In its maximum available amount, basic income must be sufficient to allow people to meet their basic needs and to help them live a healthy and dignified life.
  6. Regional costs of living must be factored into calculation of the maximum available basic income amount, and the amount must be adjusted over time in relation to changes in costs of living.
  7. Basic income must be legislatively protected from garnishment by creditors and debt collectors.
  8. Basic income must represent a pillar of a comprehensive social security system, other pillars of which must include, but not be limited to, health and disability supports; affordable and accessible housing supports; child care supports; education and training supports, and employment supports including minimum/living wage and pay equity legislation.
  9. Basic income must align with the goal of fairer (more progressive) personal and corporate taxation, and must be funded, at least in part, with revenue derived from such taxation.

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