Our Team

Steering Committee

Susan Abells is the communications lead for Coalition Canada Basic Income – Revenu de base, a cross-country network of experienced basic income advocates. Susan has 25 years’ experience working as a management consultant, researcher and evaluator, with expertise in governance, outcome-based management, evaluation and research, policy development, communications and public consultation. She has worked in community development, early childhood development, education, environment and sustainable resource management, and in health and social services.

Why is this project important? This project explicitly links climate change to community resilience and asks people what they think they, their families and their communities need to not just survive, but to thrive in our rapidly changing environment, economy and society. It is the most pressing question of our times. 

Mitchell Beer is publisher of The Energy Mix, a free, thrice-weekly e-digest on climate change, energy and the shift off carbon. He traces his background in renewable energy and energy efficiency to 1977, on climate change to 1997, and delivered an October 2019 TEDx Ottawa talk on how to build public demand for faster, deeper carbon cuts. A proud moment was building a model wind turbine out of wooden stir sticks with his then-eleven-year-old daughter, and improv comedy practices are often the best part of his week.

Why is this project important? ​​Change is scary for any of us if it affects our livelihood, whether it’s a job or other shift out of fossil fuels or the results of a local climate disaster. We need to lift up community voices on what real resilience looks like and how a basic income can make a difference.

Dr. Robert Case is an Associate Professor in Social Development Studies at Renison University College in Waterloo, Ontario. Case has been involved in and has published about community-based environmental activism for over a decade, and teaches courses on community organization, social policy and social ecology.  

Why is this project important? With climate change and the pursuit of climate stability, there is an urgent need for new thinking about the policy approaches needed to promote economic wellbeing and resilience at the community and family level. This project is a unique opportunity to hear what’s needed from diverse communities across Canada.

Shelby Kendra Downe (she/they) is based in Epekwitk (known as Prince Edward Island) and Tiohtià:ke (known as Montreal). As a member of the Basic Income Canada Youth Network Steering Committee, they advocate for basic income as a policy for poverty elimination. Shelby has experience coordinating programs around food sovereignty and accessible public transit as well as basic income. Currently, they are a student in the Human Environment program at Concordia University.

Why is this project important? Poverty is a significant barrier to achieving resilience in the face of climate change. Income security improves communities’ capacity to self-advocate and self-organize based on their own principles, values and ecological needs. This project provides a platform for communities to communicate the connections between climate resilience and a just economy.

Dr. James Mulvale is a Professor and former Dean in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Manitoba. He has published extensively on basic income and has been involved in the leadership of the Basic Income Earth Network, the Basic Income Canada Network, Basic Income Manitoba and the Ontario Basic Income Network. He teaches courses on social policy, mostly in Distance Delivery to students from across Canada.  

Why is this project important? ​​Canada is faced with the dual challenges of addressing the climate emergency and building economic security for all in a green economy. New thinking and visionary leadership are required. Our project will gather the insights and solutions of local communities on how to build a just economy and a sustainable society for our children and grandchildren.

Sheila Regehr has been a member of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) since its founding in 2008 and its Chair since 2014. As Executive Director of the National Council of Welfare (NCW), an independent federal advisory body, from 2006 to 2011, Regehr organized meetings of government-appointed Council members and community consultations in different parts of the country, bringing together representatives of non-governmental organizations, service agencies, and federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

Why is this project important? The environment is often exploited rather than protected and supported. It’s the same for human work within families and communities upon which the rest of the economy relies. Women and marginalized groups bear the brunt. Climate disaster and dangerous inequality have common roots, so they need solutions that work together. 

Pierre Stevens grew up in the Netherlands. In Canada since 1973, he taught for 33 years, primarily as a Senior Instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has been active in the Faculty Association, serving as an executive member, as treasurer and on the negotiation team. Pierre is guided by his belief that every human being has the right to a fair standard of living, and that as a society, as a community, we have an obligation to make this possible for all. 

Why is this project important? Large-scale social engineering efforts, such as transitioning to a green economy, inevitably lead to social upheaval on a regional, community or individual level. This project will inform us how a basic income can be an essential, but not necessarily sufficient, ingredient in ameliorating against the worst-possible “human collateral damage.”

Nolan Wilson is a lawyer and basic income advocate based in Brantford, Ontario. In the practice of law he assists his clients in resolving and avoiding legal disputes, with a focus on litigation and agreements in the area of family law. In the field of social advocacy he is a member of the Basic Income Canada Youth Network, a board member of the Brant Skills Centre and a keen observer of politics at all levels.

Why is this project important? The opinions and ideas of local communities will be vital to navigating social and environmental changes in our national future. By identifying useful social supports and areas where our society can do more, this project is intended to amplify participants’ inputs to reach community leaders and governmental decision-makers.

Project Staff

Jessie Golem, Engagement Coordinator

Jessie Golem is a photographer and advocate for basic income. Her portrait series, Humans of Basic Income, highlights the stories of the recipients of the prematurely cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot, and has reached international audiences, as well as influenced policy on all levels of Canadian government, helping to bring the conversation of basic income to the forefront. 

Why is this project important? Climate change is already impacting and changing the lives of everyone, and the need for decisive, forward-thinking action to address its impacts has never been more important. I believe in building a better world, and I see the intersectionality between so many issues, including climate justice and economic justice. I want to build that better world by helping to ensure that nobody gets left behind and we can have a net-zero Canada where everyone can live, succeed and thrive.

Hannah Muhajarine, Project Assistant

Hannah has a Masters in Natural Resource Management from the University of Manitoba, and has worked in community-based research and community development, particularly around Indigenous food systems. She has also been involved in climate justice organizing for about five years. She lives in Winnipeg/Treaty 1. 

Why is this project important? One reason this project is important, I think, is for its holistic approach of connecting questions of climate with income and job security, asking: how can shifting to a low-carbon economy go hand-in-hand with ensuring everyone has the fundamentals of a good life? How can we build better systems than what we have now—better for the climate, for communities, and for people?

Janet Patterfung, Project Manager

Janet comes to this project with more than fifteen years of experience working in the non-profit sector. In that time she has focused on capacity building and program support, including fundraising, events management and community engagement. Her work has focused primarily on environmental advocacy and, more recently, women’s health and health equity.

Why is this project important? We’ve all seen how the systems with which we live leave people behind. It’s time to talk about how we’re going to do things differently. This project is making space for communities across Canada to identify supports and solutions needed to thrive, and the intersection between those supports and protecting our planet for the health and wellbeing of future generations.  

Cecilia Stuart, Communications Manager

Cecilia Stuart is a writer and editor with a background in communications in the non-profit and arts and culture sectors. She holds an MA in English literature from the University of Toronto.

Why is this project important? The shift away from fossil fuels is going to require big changes from all of us. Without income security policies that allow people to live in safety and in dignity, these changes won’t be possible. I like that this project is asking people what they and their communities need to build resilience rather than prescribing one-size-fits-all solutions.