An independent study of Basic Income Participants reveals truths about the nature of being poor that may surprise some, experts suggest. With a court set to hear arguments in favour of saving Basic Income this week, both health experts and anti-poverty advocates are speaking up.
Doctor John Neary, General Internist at St. Joe’s Hospital in Hamilton, says of Basic Income and the study data “the suggestion that people on basic income would be more likely to put a concerted effort into seeking fulfilling, productive, remunerative work is absolutely consistent with what we as healthcare providers know to be true.“
Llijah Pearce, an RN with Health Providers Against Poverty said of the study “it suggests things which we (in healthcare) have long suspected, but which may be surprising to some.” Adding “the very fact of being poor makes a person less likely or able to seek work. When the conditions of poverty are addressed through a Basic Income, people are much more likely to go out and look for jobs. There are lots of reasons why this is the case.“
Tom Cooper, Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, said “the study shows us that many BI participants were actively seeking work. Basic Income was having a profound impact on people’s lives.”
Brendan Lew, a Resident Public Health Doctor out of Hamilton, said “I think it’s absolutely true. Having a Basic Income over conventional forms of social assistance like ODSP or OW would make people more likely to seek work, not less.” He also added “The cancellation of the BI pilot is such an egregious and cruel waste, I think If the Province doesn’t turn around on this it would be warranted for the Federal government to step in.”