Canadian province scraps ‘not sustainable’ basic income program pilot

Marsha Scott
August 3, 2018

The project had been launched last year by the previous Liberal government as what was supposed to be a three-year trial to determine whether it would be an effective way to help move low-income people out of poverty.

It recruited 4,000 participants from three regions across Ontario. She didn't provide any data to back that up, so it's not clear whether the program was costing more than expected or if the new government just has different ideas about how this was likely to end.

"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.

"I know several girls that are working poor who have walked to work because they couldn't afford the bus". Single participants receive up to $16,989 a year while couples receive up to $24,027, less 50 per cent of any earned income. Earlier this year we spoke to some of the folks receiving the monthly stipends about how the free money had altered their lives.

"I'm disappointed and upset", Knoll said.

During the election the Progressive Conservatives told both CBC and the Toronto Star that if elected they would keep the pilot program launched by the Liberals.

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"This decision is about fixing a broken system and making sure we have the capacity to build people up and get them back on their feet", MacLeod said.

"It's devastating. It's really devastating".

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".

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.

The Director for the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction says it has been working.

Ziegner said she is already seeing the impact of Tuesday's announcement by Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, in particular to the province's cutting of a planned increase in Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates from 3 to 1.5 per cent.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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