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Basic income: a vital tool for fostering an inclusive economy and an opportunity to support social entrepreneurship



Co-presented with the Mowat Centre, this report examines the potential for a basic income pilot in Ontario and explores how basic income could impact entrepreneurship, innovation and our society’s relationship to work in general.

We are delighted to be co-presenting a most timely report on basic income, in collaboration with the Mowat Centre. Pilot Lessons: How to design a basic income pilot project for Ontario opens up a conversation on this important subject by exploring how the benefits of a basic income could extend beyond poverty alleviation to include impact on entrepreneurship, innovation and our society’s relationship to work in general.

In its 2016 Budget, the Government of Ontario committed to designing a basic income pilot project and CSI strongly supports that commitment, recognizing that a basic income – which is fundamentally a policy whereby a government guarantees, to all of its citizens, a regular predictable income sufficient to live a basic but dignified life – is an essential concept for our society to explore more closely as we strive to achieve greater social and economic equity.  

Meanwhile, as we look at our own work, and the challenges that face social entrepreneurs daily, we recognize how a basic income could be instrumental in supporting the next generation of social entrepreneurs by enabling more creativity and innovation through reducing financial alienation.

As many of us know all too well, one of the foremost barriers to unlocking social entrepreneurship is the simple ability to pay one’s rent. It’s hard enough to stay focused on our various missions when we’re struggling with the basic necessities of life. Now, more than ever, social entrepreneurs rely on the support of others to keep their work moving forward and the financial risks inherent to social entrepreneurship are often thrust on those around us, creating additional stress and disincentives for new ideas to ever see the light of day.

With a focus on predictable and regular income, basic income has the potential to shift the focus away from survival work, toward work that is more meaningful, resulting in greater societal benefit. As the report points out: “A basic income causes people to work differently, not necessarily less.” We definitely like different.

We hope you enjoy this report, which is just the beginning of a conversation we’d like to have with you about basic income and other tools that can foster an inclusive society.


Tonya Surman
Co-Founder and CEO, CSI


For additional information, contact:

Tonya Surman, CEO

Kevin Hurley, Special Projects Manager

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