A Narrative Analysis of Basic Income Pilots from an Ontarian Perspective


  • Spencer Bridgman Ryerson University




Basic income, Narrative analysis, Metanarrative, Ontario, Pilot


The following is a research analysis paper on the Ontario basic income pilot and basic income projects more generally. This analysis will be conducted using a narrative lens. When policies are created or cancelled there is often a narrative that plays a significant role in validating the process. In this paper, the narratives that accompanied the creation and cancellation of Ontario’s basic income pilot—respectively referred to as the ‘creation’ and ‘cancellation narratives’—are unpacked. The creation narrative states that basic income projects will reduce poverty, while the cancellation narrative states that basic income projects unjustly redistribute wealth through raising taxes. These narratives are also present in other basic income pilots; two of these are also analyzed in this paper, namely Finland and Manitoba’s basic income pilots. The paper concludes with a recommendation for policymakers who are advancing basic income projects in the future. Policymakers should advance a metanarrative that bridges the creation and cancellation narratives. This metanarrative would frame basic income projects as reducing poverty without unjustly redistributing wealth. Such a narrative can be used to advance basic income projects that are more resilient than projects analysed in this paper.






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