• 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.

  • Why the world should embrace universal basic income

    These studies… counter many of the most common objections to a UBI. Such policies do not turn the safety net into a hammock, for one. People still work, particularly if the payments are not too big. Indeed, one benefit is that such payments do not penalize people for working and earning more, as many other welfare programs do… The pilots also provide evidence for some of the potential salutary effects of such a policy, in terms of making people healthier and less stressed, providing recipients with more control over and choices in their lives, and eliminating poverty.

  • 30 years later, child poverty remains a national disgrace

    Despite Canada being one of the world’s richest countries, 4.8 million people live in poverty — 1.2 million are children. More than 850,000 Canadians rely on food banks — and those numbers are growing — and more than 250,000 Canadians experience some form of homelessness annually… Instead of cutting poverty over the last three decades, we’ve seen tax and program cuts, the steady growth of precarious work and insufficient investments in our social safety net.

  • Deferring Receipt of Public Pension Benefits: A Tool for Flexibility

    C/QPP benefits can start at any time between age 60 and 70 and Old Age Security benefits at any time between 65 and 70… “Pushing back the deferral period to age 75 would enhance retirement planning flexibility for many middle-income Canadians,” says Morency. “As we wait for broader enhancements to be completed over the coming decades, this reform would be a good first step.”

  • Quebec shows the way to fight child poverty

    Last year a Statistics Canada study found that though Quebec has the second-lowest household income in the the country, it also has the second-lowest rate of child poverty. Why should that be? According to Statistics Canada it’s because the province has chosen to invest generously in two proven poverty busters: universal day care and the most generous provincial child benefits in the country.

  • 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.

  • Quebec to inject $3 billion into anti-poverty program

    Individuals with a limited capacity to work… By 2023… will see their annual government assistance jump from $12,749 to $18,029, which will bring their income up to the poverty threshold. Quebec will pay a total of $1.2 billion to provide them with a basic income (or guaranteed minimum income), separate from rules imposed in the social assistance program. People deemed fit to work will continue to operate under the current social assistance system, with training and job search bonuses subsidized to varying degrees.