Basic income program cut 'devastating' for recipients

06 August, 2018, 07:24 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Lisa Macleod

Ontario's Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod said the government is hitting the pause button on the previous Liberal government's "patchwork system" and will replace it with a new, improved system.

The province's newly installed Conservative government announced this week that it will be cutting the trial short, breaking an election promise to keep it around.

Lisa Macleod, Ontario's minister of social services, called the province's basic income program "broken" and said it's costing taxpayers too much money.

That system will be developed over the next 100 days and implementation will occur sometime after that, she said. She went on: "We want to get people back on track and be productive members of society where that's possible".

They are helping to serve as a comparison group, to measure the differential effects for those in the program.

"He's targeting kids, those with mental-health challenges and people struggling in poverty", said Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who also represents Hamilton Centre.

"It's not just about money, it's about security", she said.

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

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That increase is down from the former government's scheduled increase of 3 per cent which was set for October.

The Ford government is ending the Ontario basic income pilot project. The Ottawa Food Bank points out, social assistance rates have not kept pace with inflation and argues that the reduced increase will continue to cause reliance on emergency food banks. Single people in this program could receive up to $16 989 per year, whereas pair - $24 027.

Research from other jurisdictions that have experimented with a basic income does not support the government's position, McKenzie said, adding that the three-year window would have provided ample time to draw meaningful conclusions about the pilot's efficacy.

Basic income programs give people "the ability to have some security, to have some autonomy, to have the feeling that you're in control, that you are making decisions that are best for your life, not some bureaucracy that thinks it knows best", she said.

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.

How did the program work?

Ms. Power was troubled because Mr. Ford promised during the campaign not to cancel the pilot project. That's information any government concerned about vulnerable populations should value, Regehr said.

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