• If Ontario won’t see sense, Ottawa should save the basic income pilot

    It’s possible that this project, costing $50 million a year, will actually save money by reducing health-care costs, enabling people to improve their education and ultimately get decent jobs, so they won’t need ongoing government support. But the fledgling Ford government has cancelled the program before we can find out. Promise broken… The Ford government itself barely seems to know why it decided to kill the pilot. In fact, the reasons given for the broken promise grow more absurd with every sitting of the legislature.

  • Ford government vows basic-income pilot will receive ‘lengthy runway’ before cancellation

    “I have been very clear since last week that the basic-income research project will wind down and details will be forthcoming, but I have been clear that there will be a lengthy and compassionate runway,” Ms. MacLeod told reporters at Queen’s Park. She said she would “provide those details in the next week or two.”

  • Doug Ford’s social assistance cuts put Ontario’s health at risk

    … our hearts collectively sank as Premier Doug Ford’s Conservatives announced devastating changes to Ontario’s social assistance program… As physicians, we know that income is strongly tied to health. People in poverty have shorter life expectancies and are more likely to suffer from mental illness, addiction, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes… Poverty also has major impacts on our health-care system as a whole, costing an estimated $32 billion yearly in Ontario due to increased use of health services, social assistance, justice services, and lost productivity.

  • Save Ontario’s basic income pilot, advocates urge Ottawa

    MacLeod said she killed the project because it isn’t sufficiently aligned with the Ford government’s focus on moving people on welfare into jobs. However, 70 per cent of participants were already working when they enrolled, but earned too little to pay rent and buy food… One of the research goals was to see what happens when low-wage, precarious workers receive a financial top-up. That’s information any government concerned about vulnerable populations should value, Regehr said. “Poverty, insecurity, precarious employment don’t stop at provincial and territorial borders,” she said. “This matters hugely. This isn’t just about Ontario.”

  • Tories target the poor with bad welfare changes

    These are ideologically driven, deplorable reductions that will create more suffering for the poor, and surely lead to higher costs in the long run as the price of poverty inevitably falls to health care, shelter and justice systems… The savings from these changes are paltry compared to the billions in ongoing costs associated with poverty, and ultimately borne by taxpayers… None of this makes sense; at least not when judged from a good policy standpoint.

  • Ontario PCs roll back Liberal-era social assistance changes

    Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said she has asked the province’s Auditor-General to investigate “hundreds of millions of dollars” in fraud in social-assistance payments. The Ford government has given itself until early November to remake Ontario’s social-assistance system… She blamed the former Liberal government for creating an assistance system that spent money on “handouts that actually do little if anything to break the cycle of poverty.” … the Ford government’s new assistance program would be focused on jobs.

  • Ontario government scraps basic income pilot project, limits welfare increase to 1.5 per cent

    The new Doug Ford government is cutting a planned 3 per cent welfare increase in half and scrapping a basic income pilot program the Progressive Conservatives promised to keep during the spring election campaign. Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said Tuesday the increase scheduled by the defeated Liberal government will be reduced to 1.5 per cent while the PC administration embarks on a 100-day revamp of social assistance programs serving almost one million Ontarians.

  • Ontario government cuts welfare hike in half, ends basic-income trial

    The problem, MacLeod said, is that the social-assistance system doesn’t help people… “It was, to put it mildly, a mess. The Liberals presided over a disjointed, patchwork system, with no interest at all in whether these programs delivered results,”… The Tories did not mention social assistance in their list of promises before the June election… The government is also scrapping an experiment with a universal basic income the Liberals started… The Progressive Conservatives had even promised to see the experiment through.

  • Social policy-making still stealthy after all these years

    Governments seem to love the stealth approach because history proves they can get away with it − for a while at least… Social policy by stealth has two main dimensions: indexation and complexity. Understanding these dimensions allows us to better understand and design social policy… Today, indexation stacks up pretty well. Most of Canada’s income programs and taxes are fully indexed… However, other programs are still complex. Employment Insurance… the Canada Pension Plan… Welfare remains a labyrinth that seems impervious to reform. The majority of welfare systems remain un-indexed.

  • Universal basic income revival.

    David Croll pioneered the first study and report in Canada on UBI, then called a guaranteed annual income: Poverty in Canada – A report of the Special Senate Committee (1971)… which formed the basis for many subsequent studies and experiments. Its failure to be adopted was attributed to an economic downturn in the late 1970s and insufficient support by provincial governments.