Ontario’s basic income experiment would continue under Doug Ford

Posted on in Social Security Debates

TheStar.com – News/GTA – After a slow start, Ontario’s basic income pilot project is fully enrolled with 6,000 participants in three test sites.
April 24, 2018.   By

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 .

After a slow start due to disbelief among many that it was too good to be true, the project has reached its goal of enrolling 6,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 65 in Hamilton-Brant, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.

Under the three-year experiment, more than 4,000 people will receive up to $17,000 a year ($24,000 for couples). Another 2,000 will be paid to fill out surveys as part of a control group. Participants with disabilities will get an extra $6,000.

“While our economy is in a strong position … there is still much we need to do to build a province where everyone is included in our economic growth,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a statement to mark the anniversary.

The pilot project “is changing lives today and helping us plan for a future in which people have the supports they need to get ahead in a rapidly changing economy,” she added.

Results from the three test sites will guide future provincial policy on how to better support all Ontarians living in poverty, the government says.

The NDP, in their campaign platform released last week, said they would also support the $50 million-a-year initiative, if elected June 7.

Tom Cooper of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction said whoever wins the provincial election has a “moral obligation” to continue the project, calling participants “pioneers.”

“Sure, they are getting a bit more income, but there is always that fear of trusting government programs,” said Cooper, whose group has been helping prospective participants enrol in the project.

“If this were to end prematurely it would be devastating for those individuals and we would lose the opportunity to study what … may very well be the most important social policy of the 21st Century,” he said in an interview.

Last week, the federal parliamentary budget officer estimated the net cost of doling out an Ontario-style basic income to more than 7.5 million Canadians living in low-income households at about $43 billion a year.

Although federal Liberal party members at last weekend’s convention in Halifax voted to embrace basic income as party policy, a spokesman for Human Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told the Star’s Susan Delacourt, it is not yet government policy.

Ontario is among several areas in the world experimenting with the idea of a basic income, including Finland, which began a two-year pilot project last January involving the unemployed. The right-leaning Finish government has refused a request to extend payments to other groups and has said the program will end when the trial concludes at the end of the year. Instead, Finland is looking into other options, including minimum work and training requirements in exchange for financial support.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/04/24/ontarios-basic-income-experiment-would-continue-under-doug-ford.html

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 at 9:15 am and is filed under Social Security Debates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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