Basic income and gender: An important consultation

mom consoling toddler girl

A message from Pam Hanington of Huron County:

For those of you who may not have heard about this, the Ontario government is planning to pilot a Basic Income in at least three communities sometime over the next 3-5 years. The province is currently undertaking a community consultation regarding the pilot design.

If Basic Income is implemented in Ontario, it will replace OW and ODSP making it crucial to ensure that women’s particular needs and concerns are taken into account in the design phase including that data be disaggregated by sex and that payments be issued to adults (rather than households) so that women are able to escape abuse without fear of loss of income. It also must be clear that Basic Income cannot and should not replace crucial social programs including safe and affordable housing and accessible child care and that it should work in conjunction with labour law reform and the government’s commitment to ending domestic and sexual violence and reducing the gender wage gap.

Here is the consultation link:

This link contains the background information on Basic Income and the pilot consultation. There is a guide and an opportunity to respond to specific pilot design questions and/or express views about the concept. People may respond as individuals or as representatives of groups. It’s also an opportunity to remind the government that program design and implementation must be prepared to redress gender disparity if it truly aims to effectively end poverty. The consultation guide does not consider gender nor mention violence – and yet we in the VAW sector know that no program that aims to replace our current social assistance programs should be designed without these considerations.

Don’t feel obliged to respond to all or any of the questions in the guide. The consultation site indicates that all input is welcome, and there is a section available to submit comments. Please consider using this opportunity to remind the government that poverty is gendered and that whatever replaces OW and ODSP, it must take that reality into account.

There are a few in-person consultations remaining (scroll to the bottom of the page) and the deadline for submissions is January 31st.

For easily accessible and cited sources on women, violence and poverty, please see:

Pam Hanington