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Canada Experiments With Basic Income For Being Human In Case Robots Take Over All Jobs

9 March 2016, 9:36 am EST By Louise Chan Tech Times
Canada is following in the footsteps of Finland in an effort to give better financial aid to its citizens. Ontario is preparing to work with experts to design a plan for its Basic Income pilot.  ( Lauren Siegert | Flickr )

In December 2015, Finland revealed that it plans to give its citizens €800 (about $876), to serve as a national basic income and Canada is following suit because, on Feb. 26, Ontario announced that the Basic Income pilot already received the support of mayors across the province.

Of course, "robots taking over people's jobs" is mostly a joke because the concept of a basic income guarantee for citizens has been around since the 1960s and was even tested in the 1970s in Dauphin, Manitoba. At least nine mayors in Ontario have voiced out their support and Quebec also wants to be a part of it.

Of course, there are naysayers who believe that providing assured income to citizens would foster a culture of laziness but that is exactly what the government wants to determine and, perhaps, disprove because the data from the 1970s testing analyzed by Dr. Evelyn Forget, one of Canada's top researchers on basic income, shows that the project could yield promising results.

"Sometimes all the forces in the universe align. It's time. Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come," Dr. Forget says.

The government also seems to think that providing a guaranteed income to its citizens may help its citizens maximize their full potential and, in turn, keep the labor force diverse and help the economy's growth.

"The pilot would also test whether a basic income would provide a more efficient way of delivering income support, strengthen the attachment to the labour force, and achieve savings in other areas, such as health care and housing supports," the 2016 budget announcement explains.

To put it in perspective, think of how many talented artists give up their craft in favor of a job with a regular income. The Basic Income guarantee would allow artist to hone their skills in their area of expertise without having to fear being unable to pay for basic necessities. This would, in turn, allow smaller industries to thrive and create economic diversity.

The government says that it will work with stockholders, researchers and communities in 2016 to design and implement a Basic Income pilot. This would determine how much each person would receive from the government to be able to pay for basic needs.

The Basic Income Canada network (BICN), a non-profit and non-partisan organization that has been pushing for basic income guarantee in Canada, knows that the financial guarantee would not solve all issue but that it believes that basic income could create a healthier work environment, especially for the working individual.

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