Three Ontario cities to take part in multi-year basic income pilot

Apr 24 2017, 2:46 pm

Thunder Bay, Hamilton, and Lindsay will be the first cities to launch Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot.

The provincial program assesses whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, according to the Government of Ontario.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) on Monday, unveiling that the study will take place over three years.

“Everyone should benefit from Ontario’s economic growth. A basic income will support people in our province who are reaching for a better life. It gives people the security of knowing they can cover their basic needs and the ability to earn more through work,” said Wynne in a statement. “I believe this pilot is one way that government can be a force for good, and I am excited that Ontario is a leader in piloting this approach to help more people in our province get ahead and stay ahead.”

According to the province, the local economy is relatively strong, but many people are struggling to keep up with rising costs of living.

The pilot will allow the government to see whether a basic income can bridge the gap and give people the security and opportunity that they need to achieve their potential.

Starting in late spring, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, and Lindsay will be taking part in the study.

Basic Income model

The model Ontario has developed will ensure that eligible participants receive:

  • Up to $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50 per cent of any earned income
  • Up to $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50 per cent of any earned income
  • Up to an additional $6,000 per year for a person with a disability

A basic income supports people to begin or continue working, or to further their education, according to the province. “Participants in the pilot will be able to increase their total income by combining a basic income with 50 cents from every dollar they earn at work,” states a press release.

There will be 4,000 participants eligible to receive the basic income payment in the three test regions. Participants are between the ages of 18 to 64.

Earlier this year, the Government of Ontario released its report regarding the feedback on how to design and deliver a basic income pilot. Over 35,000 people and organizations shared their ideas during the consultations, which began in November and ended in January.

“Every person struggling in poverty is a person denied the ability to reach for a better life. The Basic Income Pilot will help us test ways to make everyday life easier for Ontarians by removing barriers that still stand in the way of improved health, employment and housing for too many among us,” said Chris Ballard, Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, in a statement. “Testing a Basic Income is just one way we’re working to ensure that every family has the dignity and security of a life free from poverty.”

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