Finland’s plan to implement a basic income supplement to a sample of 100,000 people of employment age (17-65) is gaining international attention. The project objective is to give people more autonomy over their finances, and observe if people are more inclined to make different decisions if they are given more choices in their lives. Two other objectives are to motivate people who are currently unemployed to seek work, and another is to reduce the amount of bureaucracy required to maintain the present system. The plan also addresses a socio-economic reality that many in today’s world can relate to: part-time work and freelance work can render an individual ineligible for social benefits, while keeping them under the poverty line.
More than anything, a guaranteed basic income can be life-changing for the working poor, who are the most at risk for depression, anxiety and other ailments. This marks the first time we’ll have the opportunity to observe a basic income experiment on a national scale, and perhaps by contrasting the findings with information gained from more localized experiments such as those going on in the Netherlands (or even with Canada’s own findings from the Mincome project in the 1970’s), we can gain some excellent insights into exactly how basic income strategies work best, and how best to implement a national plan in Canada, ideally by the end of 2016.