• It’s in everyone’s interests to finish Ontario’s basic income pilot project

    Does it make people better off? Does it encourage people to quit jobs? Or does a certain level of income help people sort out training, or health, or other struggles, and work? Does it reduce other public costs, like health care? … The price tag seems huge… skepticism about basic income is practical, but… there are key empirical questions to be answered – not just whether it affects people’s health, or whether they work, but by how much. The information would have been valuable… even if such a program isn’t viable.

  • Federal government urged to save Ontario’s basic-income pilot project

    The minister’s office provided a statement on Wednesday to The Globe and Mail that was neutral on the Ford government’s decision. “The design of provincial social programs is up to the provincial governments,” his office said.

  • Shameful to pick on poor and disabled

    Cancelling the project mid-stream wastes the money spent to date and prevents any evidenced-based data on which to make sound decisions. Ms. MacLeod’s claim the project was not succeeding is disingenuous; how would the government know without completing the project? This decision is short-sighted and lacks compassion for the poorest and most vulnerable in our communities — people who often cannot object and cannot advocate for themselves.

  • MacLeod’s policy changes will keep Ontarians trapped in poverty

    The purpose behind these important rule changes was to stop social assistance from forcing people into complete destitution before they become eligible for help. It is this entrenched destitution model that keeps people on social assistance for years. The rule changes that would help to dismantle that model are now being revoked. As a result, MacLeod can now expect to see a costly set of programs become even more expensive as recipients continue to face the same long road out of destitution.

  • 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 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.

  • Think education in Ontario doesn’t need to be protected as a human right? Think again

    If you have access to education, you are more likely to know your rights, and know how to advocate for yourself and for others… By framing education as a fundamental human right, we place the emphasis on education for all without discrimination; the obligation of states to protect, respect and fulfil this right; and the need for accountability mechanisms when people cannot realize their right.

  • 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.

  • Should we make drug use illegal, or make it safer?

    The war on drugs has always been about trade and politics, trying to control and contain a lucrative market, and an excuse for political interference. We need to stop treating drug users like commodities to be controlled and contained, and start treating them like people who need to be supported and informed.

  • Disability payments must be boosted

    In short, it is far from being a livable income… Half of what we earn goes back to ODSP in a punitive tax-like system that adds stress, administration and close surveillance. Our basic needs still are not covered and our jobs stay precarious if they even last. Our health deteriorates and our thoughts can become suicidal.