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January 30, 2021 - January 31, 2021

Basic Income: An Artists' Commission

How could a Basic Income transform the lives of artists and cultural workers? The federal government has stressed that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was only ever meant to be a temporary stop-gap. Not only that, the program’s restrictions also left many Canadians behind in deep poverty. At the same time, CERB gave many other Canadians their first taste of what a Basic Income (BI) program might look like: not just theory, but in practice. At the heart of the conversation around BI is the dream of how our society would be different if everyone’s needs were taken care of, if social justice was an integral part of political decision-making, if the systems that governed our daily lives reflected our rights and inherent value as human beings.

The Basic Income: An Artists’ Commission aims to gather verbal and written testimonies from artists about the impact that having a steady, fixed income, or its lack, has had or may have on their mental, physical and artistic lives. The testifiers will include Canadian artists and activists from a range of lived experiences, including CERB/non-CERB eligible, low income, homeless or precariously housed, BIPOC, urban/rural, labour and housing justice, etc.

The testimonies will inform a report by four commissioners which will be made available late winter 2021. The goal is to contribute to the broader political and economic discussion around BI by centering our voices as artists and cultural workers, and to explore how Basic Income might shape our collective futures.

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ASL interpretation will be provided.