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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Guaranteed Minimum Income pilot program

Monday, March 14, 2016

Queen's University legal expert Kathleen Lahey is available to comment on a proposal by the Ontario Government to pilot a Guaranteed Minimum Income program. 

Last month's provincial budget promised a pilot project to test "that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support." A similar project was tested in Dauphin, Manitoba in the 1970's which showed that guaranteeing a basic income for all did not discourage people from working, except for two key groups: new mothers, and teenaged boys who opted to stay in school until graduation.

“I question the ethics of the proposal to “pilot” the Guaranteed Minimum Income as has been proposed,” says Professor Lahey. “A Guaranteed Minimum Income is an achievable policy proposal, but it must be 'real' and designed to ensure that vulnerable populations have livable incomes from the moment they are offered them."

"It is of concern that this proposal is being aired right as the province is implementing cuts to staffing for childcare centres," adds Professor Lahey. "It is well known that the one group improperly incentivized out of paid work by income guarantees consists of women with small children. Too much federal and provincial funding already supports women's unpaid work in the home, and this must not just become yet another way to keep women out of paid work and to trap too many in too much poverty.”

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes 613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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