Amid soaring costs of essentials, could a basic income guarantee be the game-changer? Both the market economy and welfare system are falling short, with minimum-wage workers, and people receiving social assistance trapped thousands of dollars below the poverty line. Imagine a transformative solution: a basic income guarantee for every adult, employed or not. Critics may dismiss it as a lofty dream, but Canada has already experimented with basic income models, including a brief pilot program for working-age adults in Ontario.

This event was co-sponsored by Basic Income Waterloo Region, the Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University, and LISPOP.

James Janeiro is a public policy and advocacy professional with over a decade of experience in politics, policy and government relations. From 2014-2018 James served as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s social policy advisor, overseeing a diversity of policy initiatives including poverty reduction, housing, disability issues, autism services, municipal affairs and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.

Rob Rainer is the Reeve of Tay Valley Township, a rural municipality located about an hour west of Ottawa. As a municipal leader and co-founder of the Lanark Basic Income Network, Rob is a passionate advocate for a universal basic income guarantee. As Reeve, he connects with municipal colleagues across Canada to spur federal and provincial commitments for building on Canada’s existing basic income architecture. Previously, Rob served as the executive director of Canada Without Poverty.

Sheila Regehr is a founding member of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN), and its Chairperson since 2014. Her 29 years in the federal public service spanned front-line work, public policy, international relations and senior management. She has expertise in income security, taxation, and social assistance, with an emphasis on improving racial and gender equity in policy and programming. She is co-author with Chandra Pasma of Basic Income, Some Policy Options for Canada (2019).

Laura Pin (moderator) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. Her research examines how social inequality intersects with policy-governance regimes and how political scientists can use community engaged research to understand social inequality. Her work often explores the impact of social policy in the day to day lives of people living with poverty, and has been published in the Journal of Poverty, Canadian Journal of Political Science, Politics and Policy, and Policy Options.