Annual basic income pilot project about to take off

Annual basic income pilot project about to take off

By PAT WATSON

Four thousand households in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay are about take part in what has been termed a pilot project to learn the effects of receiving an annual basic income.

This experiment set to run for three years has been decades in the making, with retired Conservative senator Hugh Segal having been a driving force.

The $75-million fund will give provide single persons just under $17,000 per year, equivalent to 75 per cent of an annual low-income measure of about $22,650, while couples would receive about $24,000. A feature of the plan would be to take back 50 per cent of any earned income. People with a low income, and that includes disability payments, are the priority applicants for the pilot program.

The fact that the Ontario government is even going ahead with this experiment means a level of recognition of the failure of the poverty paradigm. It actually costs more money to maintain a segment of society below the low-income median, with all the various fields that are funded to ostensibly assist those living in poverty. Note that some occupations help people who are in poverty. It does not help them out of poverty. Helping agencies are chronically underfunding so that they are never fully effective enough in their mandate. Furthermore, professionals in the social service field are chronically overworked, bogged down by whatever policy limitations exist within the agencies that employ them and endless – some would say needless – paperwork.

A recent series of reports in the Toronto Star for example detail what happened in the process of finding an apartment for one man who had been living on the streets for a number of years. The main point was the agency tasked with this is understaffed and therefore cannot be as efficient and thorough in supporting clients to a better transition away from living on the streets or spending winter nights in bug and disease infested temporary shelters.

The client eventually moved back to the streets because the $950 per month basement apartment was substandard. That is a failure of service.

The range of reasons that find people ending up within the low-income sector is varied. One in particular being felt by a broad group is the changing nature of the job market. The increasing demand for skills that service the robotics and Internet revolution has caught many entering the labour force unprepared. Without hard skills, the low-wage service industry is then the job option most widely available.

The other trend toward limited-term, project-specific employment has given rise to a population of workers newly termed the precariat, in reference to the precariousness of job stability. Precariats participate in the gig economy – as in a gig here and a gig there. This is not a foundation for a stable life.

People who cannot find a decent income are less likely to live independently. Already in Toronto, 56.5 per cent of young people in Toronto still live with their parents. People still dependent on their parents in one way or another are not about to get married and start families. That may sound nice for those who believe in limiting population, but with an aging population and not enough caregivers available, the picture begins to look different. Furthermore, these demographics are growing.

Let’s hope therefore, this pilot project shows great results. When a similar experiment was done in the farming town of Dauphin, Manitoba from 1974-79, there were significant positive outcomes including an increase in school attendance, improved quality of family life, decrease in domestic violence and markers of improved health and wellness.

The time has come for a new income distribution paradigm. Universal basic income may be an answer if it is configured for optimal benefit. My main fear has to do with what typically results when the bureaucracy takes priority.

A note on the March for Science…

The problem is not with scientific discovery; it is with formulation and interpretation. Remembering the history of scientific experimentation using Black bodies, we must be very circumspect.

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through A Coloured Lens. Twitter @patprose.

Thank you, Michelle and Suzanne and Max: Let the Dance Begin — Petchary’s Blog

I very rarely write about spiritual matters. I have also not commented on the current U.S. election campaign, except to share some tweets. Yet, like many other women around the world, I have been deeply disturbed, spiritually and mentally, by the growing atmosphere – the scornful hatred and the focused disrespect against women (AND girls) […]

via Thank you, Michelle and Suzanne and Max: Let the Dance Begin — Petchary’s Blog

Courage on depression a service to others

Courage on depression a service to others

By PAT WATSON

Courage. That’s what politician Celina Caesar-Chavannes had by going public about experiencing periods of depression – the kind of depression that would have her going to hospital to seek relief.

Across this planet an estimated 121 million people live with some form of depression, but fewer than one in four get adequate treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the fourth leading cause of disability. By 2020, it could become the second leading cause of disability.

Women are almost twice as likely to experience depression as men. However, at least one U.S. study found that depression is higher among older immigrant males from the Caribbean, relative to the general population.

Depression also affects people in high-income countries more than in lower-income countries.

Most people will experience deep sadness during particular life events which may extend into depression. Loss of a loved one, extended periods of unemployment and divorce are among the life events that can result in what can be called situational depression.

Read the rest of this column at

http://sharenews.com/courage-on-depression-a-service-to-others/

Pat Watson is the author of the e-book, In Through a Coloured Lens. Twitter @patprose.

Mincome – guaranteed basic income

By PAT WATSON

There is a solution floating out there that promises to be a revolution against poverty. First, an analogy: If you all agree that shelter is a condition for healthy living and a human right, then we should also agree that we must provide the means for ensuring that standard. That means we mutually ensure the universal provisions for shelter. There is no sense in saying, ‘Well, we all must have shelter as a right, but regarding procurement of the means then you’re on your bro.’

Which brings up the recent discussion coming from the provincial government on running a pilot project on ‘mincome’. That’s the term being used to refer to the idea that every household be provided with a guaranteed basic income.

The Ontario Liberal government is now doing a search for the right community in which to proceed with a pilot project on mincome payments.

This wouldn’t be the first time such a social experiment has been done. A similar pilot project took place in

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/have-you-heard-of-mincome/#sthash.Yxxq7wln.dpuf

The TTC, the mentally ill man and the police

The TTC, the mentally ill man and the police

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By PAT WATSON

The subway train had already been sitting for more than 10 minutes when this commuter got on. Almost immediately, there came these words of warning from another commuter already in the train: “Don’t go into the third car. Someone in there is causing a disruption and hitting people.”

 

A look toward the third car revealed no particular activity, except a man in a red jacket standing in the aisle, looking somewhat lost. Other people continued to board the detained subway train while over the loudspeaker system could be heard one of the standard announcements that there was a delay at this particular station because of a passenger disruption.

 

The TTC was having a mental health issue.

 

– See more at: http://sharenews.com/the-ttc-the-mentally-ill-man-and-the-police/#sthash.YeGSGryG.dpuf

Black men must support each other – opinion column

Black men must support each other
This is a re-edited version  of the  opinion column that ran in the July 3 issue of Share newspaper

By PAT WATSON

No sun will shine in my day today
The high yellow moon, won’t come out to play
I said darkness has covered my light, 
And has changed my day into night, 
Where is the love to be found 
 (Lyrics “Concrete Jungle” – Bob Marley)

We have just come through a winter that has a special place in the climate record books, and with all the kind of fun waiting ahead – like Toronto’s Carnival-style festival – most people are soaking in the comfortable, albeit brief, respite.

But, if you are among the more than one in 10 persons experiencing a mental illness, it may not matter all that much. It may surprise some to grasp that people who are overcome with the anguish of depression or schizophrenia, or any one of a number of other mind disorders, in their attempt to find relief are more likely to commit suicide during the period when the weather is more tolerable.
– See more at: http://sharenews.com/black-men-must-support-each-other/#sthash.FE5meLyK.dpuf