GUELPH & WELLINGTON TASK FORCE
FOR POVERTY ELIMINATION
Experts answer the question of whether a Basic Income Guarantee can eliminate poverty at community event
GUELPH - Over 60 community members attended an event at Evergreen Seniors Centre to hear from experts on whether a Basic Income Guarantee can eliminate poverty. The event was co-hosted by the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, CFUW Guelph, and the Guelph Community Health Centre as part of Community Health and Wellbeing Week.
Keynote speaker Sheila Regehr from Basic Income Network Canada was joined by panelists Peter Clutterbuck from the Social Planning Network Ontario; Noah Zon, director of policy and research at Maytree; and Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health at Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. The event was moderated by David Thornley, executive director at the Guelph Community Health Centre.
A Basic Income Guarantee, also known as a Guaranteed Annual Income, is an unconditional cash transfer from government to individuals or families to provide a minimum annual income. Earlier this year, the Poverty Task Force put out the following position statement on a Basic Income Guarantee: “It is the position of the Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination that poverty is an urgent human rights and social justice issue for local, provincial, and federal governments. A Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is required as part of a coherent strategy to effectively eliminate poverty.”
The position has since been endorsed by a number of local organizations and service providers.
“A basic income is not a panacea, nor does it displace other policies that work. But it could very well be a key that unlocks multiple possibilities, eliminating poverty, allowing a range of policies and services to be more mutually supportive, fostering social solidarity and democracy, unleashing creativity and smoothing transitions.” - Sheila Regehr, Basic Income Network Canada
“The unequal distribution of wealth equals the unequal distribution of health. A basic income guarantee is the kind of social intervention that public health professionals support because it can have a lasting impact on health.” - Dr. Nicola Mercer, medical officer of health, Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health