• Reforming Ontario’s income security programs to reduce poverty and expand opportunity

    To move forward in response to the advice and recommendations of the working groups, the incoming government should set both a near- and longer-term agenda for reform to address the shortcomings of the current system… Near-term actions: Move to a flat-rate benefit for social assistance that combines the current basic needs and shelter amounts into a single rate adjusted for household size… [and] create a new housing benefit that is not tied to social assistance eligibility

  • Guaranteed not-even-low income a leap in the dark

    … who but a monster would balk at paying a measly three extra points to end poverty? … On the other hand, if $17,000 a year still sounds a lot like poverty to you… the basic personal exemption on federal income tax forms is just $11,809 this year. Before we hurl ourselves headlong at a new social program of a relatively untested nature, maybe we could explicitly just stop taxing the poor first?

  • Ontario’s basic income experiment would continue under Doug Ford

    Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives support Ontario’s basic income pilot project, a three-year experiment to determine whether regular, no-strings-attached payments improve health, education and housing outcomes for people living in poverty. “We look forward to seeing the results,” a party spokesperson said Monday about the Liberal government initiative launched a year ago today.

  • Canada can afford a guaranteed basic income. But should it?

    the Parliamentary Budget Office pegged the net annual cost of implementing Ontario’s “negative income-tax“ plan nationally (more than seven-million people would qualify) at $43.1 billion. The figure was reached by calculating the total cost ($76 billion) and subtracting the federal benefits it would replace. The net increase of $43.1 billion is a lot of money, but it represents just two per cent of GDP and 5.6 per cent of consolidated federal and provincial expenditures…

  • Pitfalls for Ford’s mimimum wage tax-break plan

    The first issue is who will benefit. Is it only minimum-wage workers, or will it include part-time workers with the same annual earnings? What about those who make slightly more than the minimum wage? This is an important detail, as poorly designed policy can make taxpayers face what is known by economists as the welfare cliff… A simpler way is to raise the basic minimum exemption (the amount every person isn’t taxed on) to what an average minimum wage worker earns.

  • Three points on the GST, to end poverty? Guaranteed income sounds like a good deal

    The income guarantee in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, the province notes, is set at 75 per cent of Statistics Canada’s Low Income Measure; combined with “other broadly available tax credits and benefits,” it would be enough to pay for basic household needs. Indeed, it is not far off the low income thresholds defined by StatsCan’s Market Basket Measure. Three points on the GST, to end poverty. I can’t think of a better way to spend public funds.

  • Income security should be at the centre of Ontario’s election

    Our existing income security system is failing to meet Ontario’s needs. It is falling short on adequacy, design, and delivery. It is burdensome for governments to administer and for recipients to navigate. It undermines the economic growth of the province. In the long term, the costs of maintaining this status quo are far greater than the costs of improving the system… It’s time for our party leaders to be open, honest, and ambitious on income security.

  • Why the left and right should embrace a universal basic income

    What the evidence from the Ontario pilot suggests is that from a social perspective, a basic income improves mental and physical health, which in turn encourages recipients to find more gainful employment… From an economic point of view, as the global economy continues to change more quickly and drastically than ever before – and government looks at how to ease the economic disruption it will cause – a basic income has the ability to act as a stabilizer.

  • What does the federal budget mean for low-income Canadians?

    Perhaps the most significant aspect of the budget in terms of poverty reduction was the announcement that the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) would become the more generous Canada Workers Benefit (CWB). This change… works by topping up the incomes of working people… once wages exceed a certain threshold the amount decreases with each dollar earned until it reaches zero.

  • How to make Ontario’s Budget 2018 the Income Security Budget

    Budget 2018 can deliver greater prosperity by increasing support to low-income workers, unpaid family carers, and those excluded from the labour market. In particular, Maytree offers recommendations in four areas: Modernizing Ontario’s response to working poverty… Protecting the poorest from falling further behind… Delivering housing affordability by investing in supply and demand… renewing investment in care and carers