'My life has changed so much': One woman's experience with basic income

CBC News

Sherry Mendowegan says these days, "life is good." 

The 41-year-old mother of two, who lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., can't stop smiling as she describes the ways in which her life is different, since she was selected to be part of Ontario's basic income pilot project.

"My life has changed so much," she said, explaining that her family can now afford a car, and that she and her partner now have enough money to take their children out to enjoy recreational activities. 

What's more, Mendowegan, who recently earned her Grade 12 diploma, plans to attend college this fall. It's something that would have seemed impossible a year ago.

"I would have said I don't think I can afford it," she said. "Now I probably can, and I'm looking forward to [attending] college."

A year ago, Mendowegan said her family was relying on Ontario Works and struggling daily to make ends meet.

"It was horrible," she said, adding that after paying rent, "there was no extra money ... to get other necessities that would help my family; to live day-to-day."

While on Ontario Works, income from other sources would also result in deductions, and she was required to report everything.

"My mom would send me $40 or $20, and I'd have to report that," she said, adding that the basic income program does not have any such requirements. 

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