About Author

Roderick Benns is the publisher of the Precarious Work Chronicle and is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World.' An award-winning author and journalist, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.


  1. Sitting tantalizingly in a warehouse in Winnipeg are 2,000 boxes of information about one of the most fascinating social policy experiments in Canadian history.


    The experiment began in 1974. It was designed to test the concept of a guaranteed annual income in a small, fairly typical, community. Dauphin, a rural municipality of 13,000 midway between Winnipeg and Regina, was chosen at the behest of former Manitoba premier Ed Schreyer.

    The city’s low-income residents were lifted and kept out of poverty, using a negative income tax. (Canada Revenue Agency topped up their income if it fell below the poverty line.) They could use the money as they chose.


    Here is what Forget’s research has already shown:

    • During the GAI experiment, Dauphin had a dramatically lower rate of hospital admissions than similar communities in Manitoba.

    • Its high-school dropout rate fell and stayed down for a generation.

    • It had fewer accidents, serious injuries, arrests and convictions.

    • Consultations for mental illness declined.

    • And, contrary to policy-makers’ fears, people in Dauphin did not stop working or reduce their hours to get “free” money from the government.

    “In all of the indicators I could find for quality of life, people did better,” Forget says.

    But she can’t do a proper cost-benefit analysis. “Someone needs to estimate the savings associated with reduced bureaucracy, better education and health outcomes and probably lower costs associated with crime and special education,” she told The Uniter, a student newspaper at the University of Winnipeg.



    Research Profile – Life in a Town Without Poverty

    Dr. Evelyn Forget: A new look at a radical experiment in Manitoba 35 years ago shows that guaranteeing people an annual income leads to better health.


    “Politically, there was a concern that if you began a guaranteed annual income, people would stop working and start having large families,” says Dr. Forget, who presented her findings this year at the Institut national d’études démographiques in Paris. “But we found that, if anything, birth rates among the youngest women declined.”

    A radical experiment in Manitoba 35+ yrs ago: Guaranteeing people annual income leads to better health http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/40308.html

  2. “Once upon a time in Canada, there was a town where no one was poor.”

    So begins a 2009 report by Dr. Evelyn Forget who assessed the effects on health of a guaranteed annual income for the town.

    That might seem like a fairy tale, but it’s an historic fact. And an extraordinary episode in Canadian history. From 1974 through 1978, as part of a labour market experiment called MINCOME, all of the almost 13,000 citizens in and around Dauphin, Manitoba were guaranteed annual income support to keep them above the poverty line. Not everyone claimed MINCOME The federal government covered 75% of the costs and the Province of Manitoba under Premier Ed Schreyer, the rest.


    “Once upon a time in Canada, there was a town where no one was poor.” http://www.aletmanski.com/al-etmanski/2011/02/a-canadian-town-where-no-one-was-poor.html #mincome


    But what if we gave poor Canadians something to count on: cash directly in their pockets, with no conditions, trusting people to do what’s right for them? It’s a bold idea, and it runs counter to the paternal approach to poverty that polices what is done with “our” money and tries to strong-arm the poor into better lives.



    Give poor Canadians money directly with no conditions. We can trust people to do what’s right for their families ‼http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/to-end-poverty-guarantee-everyone-in-canada-20000-a-year-but-are-you-willing-to-trust-the-poor/article560885/?page=all

    Between 1974 and 1979, residents of a small Manitoba city were selected to be subjects in a project that ensured basic annual incomes for everyone.


    In five years, Mincome helped one thousand Dauphin families who fell below the poverty line earn a livable income. When the project ended, locals didn’t make a fuss because they knew the cheques were temporary anyway.

    “Some people thought it was like charity,” Richardson said about Mincome. “It wasn’t really charity, it was need.”


    From 1974 to 1979, residents of a small Manitoba city were ensured basic annual incomes for everyone = great results http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/12/23/mincome-in-dauphin-manitoba_n_6335682.html #cdnpoli

    More than 100 speakers and participants were on hand for the conference, which focused on the merits of a guaranteed minimum income that would either replace or exist alongside existing social programs.

    Switzerland is expected to hold a non-binding referendum this fall on whether to guarantee every citizen an annual income of $35,900 Cdn.



    Ten Poverty Myths, Busted ‼
    No, single moms aren’t the problem. And neither are absentee dads.

    Kill Corporate Welfare now ‼


    Ten Poverty Myths, Busted‼ No, single moms aren’t the problem, neither r absentee dads http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/03/10-poverty-myths-busted

    What If U Didn’t Have 2 Work 2 Get Paid? Guaranteed basic income can lead 2more creative, fulfilling work http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/what-if-everybody-didnt-have-to-work-to-get-paid/393428/

    What If Everybody Didn’t Have to Work to Get Paid?

    Advocates say that a guaranteed basic income can lead to more creative, fulfilling work. The question is how to fund it.


    Job growth is no longer keeping pace with automation, and he sees a government-provided income as a viable remedy. “It’s not just a matter of needing basic income in the future; we need it now,” says Santens, who lives in New Orleans. “People don’t see it, but we are already seeing the effects all around us, in the jobs and pay we take, the hours we accept, the extremes inequality is reaching, and in the loss of consumer spending power.”

    Those skeptical of basic income might ask: If you give people enough to live on, won’t they stop working? Won’t they get lazy? Evidence from pilot studies by Guy Standing, a professor of development studies at the University of London and a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, points the other way.“When people stop working out of fear, they become more productive,” Standing says.



    Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Paid Family Leave https://youtu.be/zIhKAQX5izw #cdnpoli 21 min.

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