Woodstein Media Podcast Episode 17: United Way’s Kristin Crane discusses living wage, universal basic income, food insecurity and more

This episode features a conversation with Kristin Crane, director of Social Research & Planning for United Way Perth Huron, about the living wage, which leapt over $3 from $17. 55 to $20.70 when the most recent calculation was announced in November 2022. The numbers used in this discussion are from the area in which this podcast is produced: Perth and Huron County.

Crane touches on topics such as universal basic income (UBI), food insecurity, housing, employee satisfaction and its impact on the community. When addressing UBI she referenced the Manitoba Mincome Experiment, which ran from 1974 to 1979 and provided a basic income to 1,200 randomly selected low‐income households in Winnipeg and Dauphin, a small town in western Manitoba. Dauphin became what is known as a “saturation site.” This meant every family in the town and surrounding rural era was eligible to join the program. However, not all who were asked to participate did so. Other rural communities were also involved in the project as a control group to compare with the Dauphin participants.

According to the entry on the Mincome experiment at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, “All the data collected by the Mincome experiment remained unstudied until the 1980s. Since then, researchers have pored over the mountain of documents created during the project to analyze the outcomes.

Researchers learned that there were a number of positive results. Involvement in the Mincome project didn’t cause a significant labour force reduction in Dauphin, as some critics of the program feared. The program’s approach to reducing payments based on income meant that it was better for participants to remain working as opposed to leaving the work force. Most participants continued to work.

Two notable groups of people did use Mincome to stay out of the work force. New mothers chose to stay at home longer with their babies and teenaged boys stayed in school instead of dropping out before Grade 12 to help support their families. The opportunity for students to stay in school was reflected in the higher graduation numbers and university enrollments seen during the experiment.

The data collected during the Mincome experiment also showed that Dauphin had lower rates of domestic violence, work‐related injuries, farm and motor vehicle accidents, and mental illnesses than in surrounding areas. This illustrates both that poverty has wide‐reaching consequences and that Mincome had positive outcomes for the whole community.”

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Travis Tomchuk. “Manitoba’s Mincome experiment.” Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Published August 10, 2022. https://humanrights.ca/story/manitobas-mincome-experiment

Links to support musicians played on this episode

Frank Deresti and the Lake Effect – https://frankderesti.bandcamp.com/album/this-time

Boon – https://boonmusic.bandcamp.com/album/mornings

Danbert Nobacon and the Axis of Dissent – https://danbertnobacon-axis.bandcamp.com/album/stardust-to-darwinstuff

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