An Interfaith Initiative on Basic Income

An Interfaith Initiative on Basic Income

A symposium on Basic Income was held today at University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto and brought together a wide representation of individuals and organizations to discuss the concept of a basic income model.

In February 2016, the Ontario government announced a pilot project to study Basic Income.

A guaranteed or basic income can take different forms but is essentially understood to ensure everyone an income that is sufficient to meet their basic needs and live with dignity, regardless of work status.

The Symposium included presentations on a number of topics – Health and Well-being; Work and Worth; Impact of Administrative Systems– from faith, personal, and topic specialist perspectives.

basicincome3Representatives at the symposium came from health, social policy, economics, business, and faith sectors.

Organizational partners of the event were the Christian Jewish Dialogue of Toronto, University of St. Michael’s College, and Massey College.

According to the organizers, “the purpose of the Basic Income Initiative is to build a forum for respectful dialogue, informed by values from multi faith and Indigenous insights, and strengthened by contributions from a wide range of other fields and disciplines, that will provide greater understanding of the social implications of a basic income model and address and clarify the issues which need to be taken into consideration in its design.”

“This Initiative will be an example of people and organizations working together to help Canadians imagine and build a just, healthy, and creative society.”

The organizers announced that the work of the Initiative will continue after the Symposium.

“The issues raised during the Symposium will be developed further by continuing to bring together representatives from a wide range of disciplines and fields for public consultation.”

We will build the on-line resources which will provide access to these concepts and discussions. We will engage government – at all three levels – to help ensure a strong recognition that human dignity and self-respect need to be the basis for a design of our benefit system. Ultimately, the goal is that the work of the Initiative will proceed parallel to the Ontario Government basic income pilot project. The two projects will inform each other and the work and results of the Basic Income Initiative will provide a context for understanding the data from the pilot project and also provide a social rubric for the potential design of a basic income model.”