In 2013 a dozen energetic Kingstonians concerned about poverty and rampaging inequality formed the Kingston Action Group for a Basic Income Guarantee (KAG-BIG).
The goal? Supporting the implementation of an unconditional basic income guarantee. Everyone in Canada needs to live in dignity, their basic needs assured. With a circle of over 200 supporters, KAG-BIG has had an outsized influence on the provincial and national basic income movements.
KAG-BIG has undertaken grassroots education about basic income. The goal? A citizenry knowledgeable about Basic Income. People who will vote for candidates who support an idea whose time has come. People who are willing to work directly with local, provincial and federal politicians.
In 2015, Kingston was the first municipality in Ontario to endorse basic income, with a unanimous City Council vote. Over forty 40 other Ontario municipalities soon endorsed Basic Income.
Since its founding, KAG-BIG has been a primary sponsor of a series of cable television debates featuring all candidates during provincial and federal elections. The focus? Income security and Basic Income.
KAG-BIG members have written a blizzard of letters to the editor and op ed pieces that have appeared in local, provincial, national and international publications. We have participated in print, radio and television interviews and given dozens of talks to community groups.
KAG-BIG co-founder Toni Pickard is the founder of Coalition Canada – basic income-revenu du bas, a national alliance of basic income groups and networks. Two KAG-BIG members, Jamie Swift and Elaine Power, co-authored the 2021 book, The Case for Basic Income: Freedom, Security, Justice.
Our members have provided leadership for the Ontario Basic Income Network’s influential series “The Case for Basic Income and ___” (health, food security, women, the arts, work, finance.) New KAG-BIG member Craig Berggold spearheaded the campaign for basic income and the arts, which saw 75,000 artists sign an open letter calling on the Prime Minister to implement a permanent basic income. He and another new member, Andrew McCann, helped coordinate the Basic Income Now campaign during the 2021 federal election. KAG-BIG members serve on the boards of the Basic Income Canada Network and the Ontario Basic Income Canada Network, and participate in Coalition Canada activities.