Key piece of international basic income analysis has been eliminated

A basic income, just what the doctor ordered
A basic income, just what the doctor ordered

An open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Minister Lisa MacLeod concerning the cancellation of the Ontario basic income pilot

By Evelyn Forget

Dear Premier Doug Ford and Children, Community and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod,

We, collectively, represent the principal investigators, research teams and stakeholder groups behind several distinct basic income experiments underway in Finland, Scotland, the Netherlands, the United States, Spain, Kenya, and India. We profoundly regret that you chose to cancel the Ontario Basic Income Guarantee Pilot prematurely.

Each of our experimental designs is somewhat different, reflecting our own political and social context. Together these experiments have the potential to produce data upon which evidence-informed social policy might be based. Ontario represented a key piece of the analysis and has been watched closely by policy-makers and researchers around the globe.

We are deeply concerned that the experiment was canceled with no concurrent announcement that you intend to continue the promised stipends for the full period of the planned experiment. It appears to us that 4,000 vulnerable research subjects will have made decisions to improve their lives based on participation in the experiment, only to have the promise broken.

As you are no doubt aware, standards for the ethical conduct of social experiments involving humans have evolved significantly in recent years. Not only is the cancellation inconsistent with international best practices, but it violates your own Canadian policy for the ethical conduct of experiments involving humans.

Canada’s continuing leadership on balanced and humane economic policy has always mattered deeply to the international community. We ask you to reconsider. The world is watching.

Olli Kangas, The Finnish BI Experiment, Strategic Research/Academy of Finland, Professor of Practice, Dept. of Social Sciences, Fi-20014-University of Turku
Markus Kanerva, the Finnish BI Experiment, Managing Director and Founder, Tänk: Independent Finnish Think Tank
Loek Groot, Utrecht Experiment, Utrecht University School of Economics
Joe Huston, Kenya Project, Give Directly
Jurgendi Wispelaere, Policy Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath
Philippe Van Parijs, University of Louvain: Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics
Arjen Edzes, Social Assistance Experiment, Groningen, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Ruud Muffels, Social Assistance Experiments, Tilburg and Wageningen, Universiteit van Tilburg
CHBM Speirings, Social Assistance Experiment, Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
János Betkó, Social Assistance Experiment, Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen
Jamie Cooke, Scottish BI Pilot Project, Director of RSA Scotland at the Royal Society of the Arts
Annie Miller, Scottish BI Pilot Project Stakeholders’ Group
SarathDavala, Madhya Pradesh, India
Laia Ortiz, Project B-Mincome (Barcelona), Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Barcelona City Council
Luis Torrens, Project B-Mincome (Barcelona), Director of Innovation and Planning of Social Rights, Barcelona City Council
Dr.StaciaWest, Co-Principal Investigator for Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)
Dr.Amy Castro Baker, Co-Principal Investigator for Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)
Lori Ospina, Director of Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration
Natalie Foster, Economic Security Project (U.S.A.)
ChrisHughes, Economic Security Project (U.S.A.)
TaylorJoIsenberg, Economic Security Project (U.SA.)
TheJainFamilyFoundation, Economic Security Project (U.S.A.)
EvelynLForget, University of Manitoba

Professor Evelyn Forget is a health economist at the University of Manitoba and a contributor to, which is based at the University of Winnipeg. Her re-examination of Mincome and ongoing work on basic income is supported by CIHR and SSHRC.

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