A version of this commentary appeared in Hamilton Spectator, Waterloo Region Record and St. Catherines Standard

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We, collectively, represent the principal investigators, research teams and stakeholder groups behind several distinct basic income experiments underway in Finland, Scotland, the Netherlands, the USA, Spain, Kenya and India. We profoundly regret that you chose to cancel the Ontario Basic Income Guarantee Experiment prematurely.

Each of our experimental designs is somewhat different, reflecting our own political and social context. Together these experiments have the potential to produce data upon which evidence-informed social policy might be based. Ontario represented a key piece of the analysis, and has been watched closely by policymakers and researchers around the globe.

We are deeply concerned that the experiment was cancelled with no concurrent announcement that you intend to continue the promised stipends for the full period of the planned experiment. It appears to us that 4,000 vulnerable research subjects will have made decisions to improve their lives based on participation in the experiment, only to have the promise broken. As you are no doubt aware, standards for the ethical conduct of social experiments involving humans have evolved significantly in recent years. Not only is the cancellation inconsistent with international best practices, but it violates your own Canadian policy for the ethical conduct of experiments involving humans.

Canada’s continuing leadership on balanced and humane economic policy has always mattered deeply to the international community. We ask you to reconsider. The world is watching.

Olli Kangas
The Finnish BI Experiment
Strategic Research/Academy of Finland
Professor of Practice
Dept. of Social Sciences
Fi-20014-University of Turku

Markus Kanerva
The Finnish BI Experiment
Managing Director and Founder, Tänk: Independent Finnish Think Tank

Loek Groot
Utrecht Experiment
Utrecht University School of Economics

Joe Huston
Kenya Project
Give Directly

Jurgen di Wispelaere
Policy Fellow, Institute for Policy Research
University of Bath

Philippe Van Parijs
University of Louvain: Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics

Arjen Edzes
Social Assistance Experiment, Groningen
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Ruud Muffels
Social Assistance Experiments, Tilburg and Wageningen
Universiteit van Tilburg

CHBM Speirings
Social Assistance Experiment, Nijmegen
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

János Betkó
Social Assistance Experiment, Nijmegen
Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

Jamie Cooke
Scottish BI Pilot Project
Director of RSA Scotland at the Royal Society of the Arts

Annie Miller
Scottish BI Pilot Project Stakeholders’ Group

Sarath Davala
Madhya Pradesh, India

Laia Ortiz
Project B-Mincome (Barcelona)

Deputy Mayor for Social Rights
Barcelona City Council

Lluis Torrens
Project B-Mincome (Barcelona)
Director of Innovation and Planning of Social Rights
Barcelona City Council

Dr. Stacia West
Co-Principal Investigator for Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)

Dr. Amy Castro Baker
Co-Principal Investigator for Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)

Lori Ospina
Director of Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration

Natalie Foster
Economic Security Project (USA)

Chris Hughes
Economic Security Project (USA)

Taylor Jo Isenberg
Economic Security Project (USA)

The Jain Family Foundation
Economic Security Project (USA)

Evelyn L Forget
University of Manitoba


Professor Evelyn Forget is a health economist at the University of Manitoba. Her re-examination of Mincome and ongoing work on basic income is supported by CIHR and SSHRC.

September 2018

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