Dozens of CEOs are urging Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government to reinstate the basic income trial.
The open letter is addressed to Premier Doug Ford and Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services.
In it, CEOs and business owners tout the pilot project as a “business-friendly approach” to address financial concerns in a rapidly changing economy.
The letter argues that automation, globalization and a shift to part-time work have created new challenges and concerns.
It goes on to say that while being unable to escape poverty is not only inhumane, there’s also a cost for businesses.
“Those who have the least, spend the most by share of income. Cash from a basic income will go right back into local businesses.”
Among the signatories are Kobo Inc. CEO Michael Tamblyn, Steve Beauchesne from Beau’s craft brewery and Dionysios Synodinos of C4 Media.
The three-year pilot project was put in place in 2016 by the Ontario Liberal government.
Despite a campaign promise to keep it running, the Ford government pulled the plug shortly after the election.
Payments are scheduled to end by next March.
“As business leaders, we see basic income as good economics and enlightened self-interest: it is a pro-growth, pro-business, pro-free-market economic stimulus that will grow the economy and create jobs,” the letter says.
“If the Ford government truly believes that basic income will discourage work, then you should allow the pilot program to continue so can have data on your side. If however it encourages work, then this idea is one that all parties can build off.”