Basic income program cut 'devastating' for recipients

Aaron Brown
August 3, 2018

The PCs had pledged during the election campaign to leave the basic income pilot project in place. Today the government is defending its decision.

The province will also wind down Ontario's basic income pilot project, which provided payments to 4,000 low-income people in communities including Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.

Sue Garvey, executive director of Cornerstone Housing for Women, said lowering the increase could mean approximately $20 to $30 less per month for people in need of direct support.

Eligible participants selected for the program were receiving up to $16,989 per year for a single person and up to $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50 per cent of any earned income.

News of the project's cancellation stunned anti-poverty groups and those who received support through the initiative, some of whom said they'd be left scrambling to make up for income they had counted on in making future plans.

Basic income programmes are being tested out around the world.

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He said MacLeod's flip-flopping on the issues was putting ideology ahead of evidence.

The promise relayed by Lantsman, a senior campaign official, came in an email exchange in April with the Star's Laurie Monsebraaten, who asked if a Ford government would support the year-old pilot as did previous PC leader Patrick Brown. Earlier this week, she said it would continue in August, but Thursday said payouts would extend into September. Suggesting the program discouraged participants from finding work.

Ontario's new Progressive Conservative government ushered in the first of what it promised would be major reforms to social assistance on Tuesday, reducing a planned increase in support rates and cancelling a pilot program that provided payments to low-income people in certain communities.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the Tories had done nothing but tear things down and would continue to do so.

Ziegner says she is "overwhelmed" when thinking about how the families who had previously signed up for the program are feeling. 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.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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