Sarnia mayor wants federal guaranteed income piloted in his region

The mayor of Sarnia thinks it's time to take another look at a guaranteed annual income, this time on a national scale. 

Ontario had previously experimented with the Basic Income Pilot program, but later cancelled it. 

Now, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says with the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) already running, the time has come to look at doing it on a national scale and not just for a time of crisis such as the current pandemic.

"I do think if you look at the fact you [don't] want to leave a segment of society just dog paddling in life and getting no place, and no ability to get to a better place —then it's worth trying on specific targeted groups to see if it works," he said.

"It has been tried in Europe and I would make the case successfully [there], so it's getting people to get around the stereotypes."

Bradley recently raised the idea in a letter to the prime minister.

"The last few months have demonstrated, when over eight-million Canadians are receiving federal support, the importance of having a basic income program with proper protections for the taxpayers is needed," he wrote. 

Bradley is now asking Lambton County council to endorse the idea of the Sarnia area being used to test such a payment.

He said even though the provincial pilot program was cut, it was shown to be effective. 

"The evidence even when they cut those projects was that they were working, they were moving people from poverty to a better life and not doing it at great cost to the taxpayer because you're paying that basic income anyhow to anyone."