Basic Annual Income lifts more than living standards

September 26, 2016

healthy populations

The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) will soon release updated findings for 2015. In preparation, they recently brought together individuals with experience in each of the eight wellbeing domains. Together, we explored the connections between domains and what new policies  would give the greatest lift for Canadians.

Basic Annual Income quickly rose to the top.  The positive impact on Living Standards was clear.   However, Basic Annual Income would also directly or indirectly improve several other indicators associated with the remaining seven domains.

For instance, financial security improves mental health and reduces food insecurity. Both contribute to Healthy Populations. Research links economic exclusion with a decline in Democratic Engagement.  Financial security also opens up more opportunities for Education along with volunteerism which contributes to Community Vitality.  Poverty excludes people from Leisure and Culture activities.  Even Time Use would  be improved in several ways.  Perhaps the only domain that was not connected, at least through the CIW indicators, was the Environment.  However, globally poverty does have significant consequences for the environment.  And environmental risks are higher for people living in poverty.

All this does not surprise me, as Guelph residents quickly saw the connections between domains during our conversations on community wellbeing a few years ago.  There is real power in the connections.

A conversation is growing in Canada, and internationally, about the need for a Basic Annual Income.  It is becoming more pressing as our economy restructures and the nature of the employment becomes more precarious.

The Guelph & Wellington Taskforce for Poverty Elimination, Guelph Community Health Centre and CFUW-Guelph is hosting an event this week to continue the conversation: September 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Evergreen Seniors Centre (683 Woolwich Street).