'Working poor’ take note: Most basic income sign-ups are employed people

Roderick Benns

About two thirds of basic income sign-ups so far have come from the so-called ‘working poor,’ a fact Lindsay residents who are struggling should take note of as it begins to unfold in the small Kawartha-area town.

Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services, Helena Jaczek, and her counterpart, Peter Milczyn, the minister responsible for the poverty reduction strategy and minister of housing, held a press conference in Hamilton earlier this morning to update the public on the basic income pilot.

The basic income pilot is being held in Hamilton/Brant County and Thunder Bay, which began during the summer, and in Lindsay, which will begin this fall.


So far, about 400 people have signed up for basic income and will receive a cheque this month, with two-thirds of those people living in Hamilton/Brant County and about one third from Thunder Bay. In total, it’s expected that each of these two city areas will have about 1,000 participants each when the sign-ups are complete.

“We knew when we started we’d need to start slow…to get things right,” says Jaczek.

Milczyn agreed, saying they are “making adjustments along the way” based on the feedback they are receiving.

“We started out mailing applications to random households,” Milczyn says, “to then sharing the same basic income package with other people in the household who may also qualify.”

Now, the government is getting social service agencies involved in a bigger way to help increase the number of participants.

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