5 things you need to know about guaranteed income

CBC News

When Smiths Falls councillors voted late last year against lobbying the provincial government to be considered for the upcoming guaranteed income pilot project, the decision set off a maelstrom in the struggling eastern Ontario town.

On Tuesday the debate moves to Ottawa where officials from the Ministry of Community and Social Services will hold a public consultation session about the pilot project they hope to launch later this year.

If you're not familiar with the province's plan to try out the concept of a guaranteed income, here are five things you should know.

1. What is a guaranteed basic income?

It's actually pretty self-explanatory: the government guarantees that all adults who meet the income criteria receive a basic amount of money to live on. The federal Guaranteed Annual Income Supplement for low-income seniors is often cited as an example of a type of guaranteed basic income.

Usually, a guaranteed basic income — "basic income," or BI in government shorthand — would replace other poverty-reduction programs that often come with lots of red tape and strings attached. The idea is that the government would make unconditional payments and recipients would decide how to spend it, whether it's on better housing, food, education or job training.

The BI is also supposed to cost less to administer compared to other government income programs.

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