The Ontario government recently announced it wants to test a radical solution to rising poverty: give poor people money, no strings attached. It's known as a guaranteed or basic income and premier Kathleen Wynne wants to see hundreds of Ontario families receiving basic income as early as next year.
Can money cure poverty? In the 1970s the Canadian government spent millions of dollars carrying out the world's largest basic income experiment in the farming community of Dauphin, Manitoba. Four thousand families enlisted, two thousand boxes of data collected and none of it analyzed for decades. Today, Dauphin is one of the poorest communities in Canada even though the study actually managed to eradicate poverty in the short term. The Ontario announcement has been met with lots of fanfare from people on the political left and the right who say basic income is the only real solution to growing levels of poverty. But there is a fear that Ontario may be fated to repeat the same mistakes as Manitoba. And then of course, there are the critics who say people shouldn't be getting money for nothing.
The Guarantee is a cinematic documentary that will parallel the two experiments through the eyes of participants from then and now. By interweaving stories of the past and present we'll see the challenges of a government trying to tackle one of the largest predicaments facing our country: growing inequality.