With only four days to go to sign up for the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, a Provincial spokesperson says recipients of basic income shouldn’t feel there will be a hassle in returning to their previous program, such as Ontario Works or disability.
The spokesperson, George Mason, says a key design principle of the pilot is “not leaving anyone worse off.”
The Lindsay Advocate has heard from some social service providers, and from some anti-poverty advocates that there is some fear around being able to re-establish their benefits through Ontario Works or ODSP. But Mason says there’s a good process in place.
“We have worked with our counterparts at Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program to make sure that pilot participants who want to return to social assistance programs, can easily do so using existing rapid reinstatement processes,” he says.
Mason says the government will also “provide pilot participants with advance notice before the end of the study to make sure they can transition off Basic Income payments before they return to social assistance.”
Signing up for Basic Income
Potential basic income recipients must live in Lindsay and have been living there for at least the past 12 months. As well, people must be:
- 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
- living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if you’re single or under $48,000 per year if you’re a couple)
The government pilot wants to test how a basic income might help people living on low incomes better meet their basic needs, while hoping to see improvements in:
- food security
- stress and anxiety
- mental health
- health and healthcare usage
- housing stability
- education and training
- employment and labour market participation
Lindsay is the only place in Ontario that will not have a control group. Anyone who is eligible and needs basic income will get it, if they apply.