The City of Port Colborne is volunteering itself to be a part of the provincial government’s basic income pilot project.

The project aims to assess the costs and impact of poverty, not just in terms of money, but for the individual and the city as a whole according to an online discussion paper on the pilot project.

On the ontario.ca website, the paper written by master of Massey College Hugh Segal says a “modestly more generous basic income” will be distributed automatically to residents below a specific income threshold in the pilot cities.

The motion to let Ontario know that Port Colborne is up for being a part of this was brought before city council on Monday night by Ward 2 Coun. Angie Desmarais.

“I think you would get a very clear picture of impacts of poverty and what happens when you raise that income,” she said in an interview Tuesday.

Universal basic income is the practice of dispensing periodic cash payments to individuals, regardless of their financial or employment status. It is different from a welfare program in that you do not have to take a means test to determine your eligibility. You don’t have to prove that you make less than a certain amount, or that you recently lost your job. Basic income gives unconditionally, implying that it doesn’t distinguish between recipients who earn a full-time income and recipients who don’t work at all.

Those against basic income often argue that it would raise taxes on the wealthy, and could inspire the recipients to work less. On the flip side, those in favor of basic income believe it could help eliminate poverty, and financially protect the work force as more and more jobs are lost to automation. While the idea of basic income has been around for centuries, interest and activism has been increasing since 2010. However, what it would look like if it were implemented in the U.S. is still largely unknown. If you’re looking to learn more about basic income, here are a few things you may not know:

The co-occurence of Brexit and the Trump presidency demands close attention to the nature of the ‘special relationship’, one forged through wartime alliances but also shared language and histories of migration, trade, Evangelical Protestantism…and phenomenal acts of colonialism. In a post-Brexit world, we must take special care to heed America’s lessons in how not to organise society. The food bank will be my example.

It’s a staple of patching up holes in a damaged social safety net across the pond, and one that Britain appears to have embraced. Specifically, the common-sense notion that redistributing surplus or wasted food can redress household food insecurity. What can history teach us about the economic rationales for doing so, and what can research into redistribution on both sides of the Atlantic add to this critique? We face a time where European ties look set to be exchanged for American ones. Without a cultural-economic crystal ball, I’d like to point out the way charitable food redistribution has long served to redress the imbalances of capitalist food markets in America, at a time when US-UK food markets could see greater harmonization, yet income inequality and state solutions to address it look set to calcify or worsen.

The minimum wage in British Columbia will increase by 50 cents to $11.35 an hour, effective Sept. 15, 2017, the provincial government announced February 27.

This amount is 10 cents higher than the $11.25-per-hour minimum wage the B.C. government had, in May 2016, said would go into effect in September of this year. In a news release, the government said the new rate includes a 20-cent increase tied to inflation plus an additional 30 cents; the government’s original plan had called for a 10-cent inflation-related bump.

Liquor servers will also see their minimum wages increase by 50 cents per hour, to $10.10.

Irene Lanzinger, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said the 10-cent-per-hour bump won’t go far to help lift low-wage workers out of poverty.

“The increase allows the Liberals to pretend they’re doing something about poverty, when they’re really not,” Lanzinger said.

“What we really need from government is a concrete plan to address poverty, low wages and rampant inequality in B.C.”

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne knows if she’s to have any chance of winning next year’s provincial election, she has to do something about Ontario’s outrageously high electricity rates.

The issue has become a flashpoint for Ontarians, fed up with rapidly increasing electricity costs that, as of 2016, were the highest in Canada, according to a Hydro Quebec survey of major Canadian cities.

Public fury is aggravated by the fact that no matter how much people try to conserve electricity, their hydro bills keep relentlessly rising.

The Liberals have created a perfect storm on electricity pricing, resulting in a Catch-22.

The more people conserve energy, the more Wynne’s government — the most indebted sub-sovereign borrower in the world — has to raise electricity rates to make up for the monies lost due to conservation.

That explains Wynne’s conversion on the road to Damascus last week as her government made it illegal for electrical utilities to shut off people’s hydro for non-payment in winter.

This even though her government was content to do nothing all last year when it knew 60,000 Ontarians were behind in their electricity bills at of the end of 2015.

All that’s changed now is that the government is one year closer to next year’s election, so suddenly it’s all concerned about people who have been driven into energy poverty by high and rapidly rising electricity rates.

A new Toronto company is the source of heated controversy after launching their “Homeless Toronto” retail brand, which features faded sweatshirts and tin mugs that say “change please.”

Social media users voiced their outrage at the brand’s clothing and ad campaign, which included a photo of a young woman wearing a Homeless logo sweatshirt and leaning on a mattress in the street. Critics called the brand out for exploiting poverty for profit.

In the heat of the 2015 federal election campaign, the Trudeau Liberals promised to appoint a much-needed advocate for children. But like many of their promises, it remains on the backburner.

It shouldn’t. A children’s commissioner could help ensure that government policies improve the lives of young people and advocate for new legislation and programs to protect and help them.

You don’t have to look far to see why Canada needs a children’s advocate.

First, while Canada is a wealthy nation, according to UNICEF our children are falling behind those in other affluent countries in four key areas: income, health, education and life satisfaction.

Second, in 1989 the House of Commons voted unanimously to end child poverty by the year 2000. But in its latest report, Campaign 2000, which measures child poverty annually, found it had actually gone up to 18.3 per cent in 2016 from the level of 15.8 per cent it was at back in 1989.

Third, Canada does not have a national child care program, something that could reduce inequalities that result from poverty, decrease the number of children in special education classes by identifying problems and intervening earlier, and help women get back into the work force so they can better provide for their children.

Fourth, the Liberal government has yet to act on its promise to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which protects parents who spank their children, a move that would bring Canada in line with its responsibilities under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.