Basic Income Pilot Program cancelled

Cheryl Sanders
August 3, 2018

The food bank also criticizes the Ford government's decision to cancel Ontario's basic income pilot project.

"We're going to hit the pause button on the previous government's patchwork system and replace it with a system that helps stabilize people in need and support them to succeed", she said in a statement.

"I live with a person with a disability day-to-day and I'm involved in it through advocacy and it's still hard for me to understand the varying life situations of people in Ontario", she said.

Additionally, as part of this reform, MacLeod also announced that the Province will be winding down Ontario's Basic Income pilot in order to focus resources on more proven approaches. Single participants receive up to $16,989 a year while couples receive up to $24,027, less 50 per cent of any earned income.

As well, through the Ontario Works program she was on before being selected for the basic income, any funding Mendowegan received for her education counted as income and would have been deducted from her social assistance. "Hell no", she said.

On Wednesday, when asked about breaking that promise, Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod told the legislature "we made a tough decision that is going to be right for the people, but it was a hard decision to make".

Jody Dean, a Hamilton resident who participated in the program, said the financial stability granted by the project allowed her to go back to school part-time and to buy parking passes to the hospital where one of her three children receives care. Suggesting the program discouraged participants from finding work.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the Tories had done nothing but tear things down and would continue to do so. In Silicon Valley in particular, many have championed basic income as the answer to the question of how society should deal with large-scale job automation-but real-world data on whether such a program is even a good idea has been lacking.

It was to test whether basic income is better than current social assistance programmes.

Ziegner says she is "overwhelmed" when thinking about how the families who had previously signed up for the program are feeling. "It's knowing that no matter what else happens in life, you've got something that helps you deal with that".

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