Basic income pilot in full swing now

The Lindsay Advocate

As of last week about 2,000 Lindsay residents will be receiving money under the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program. That’s about 10 per cent of its population.

Government spokesperson, George Mason, says that about 4,000 participants will be receiving basic income in total across the three Ontario pilot locations, with an approximate breakdown of 1,000 participants in the Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County location; 1,000 in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area; and 2,000 in Lindsay.

“There will also be a ‘comparison group’ of 1,000 people in the Hamilton, Brantford, and Brant County location, and another 1,000 people in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area,” he adds, also known as a ‘control group.’ This control group is given a modest financial incentive to do paperwork and report regularly to the data collectors, but are not actually getting the basic income. The control group was chosen randomly.

Lindsay is the only place in Ontario that will not have a control group. Almost anyone who was eligible and needed basic income was to get it, if they applied, and people could apply up until April 16, 2018.

“We are on well on our way to reaching full enrollment of participants as we approach the first anniversary of the pilot,” says Mason.

He adds they have the measures in place to “ensure this study is conducted with the utmost integrity, rigour, and ethical standards.”

This includes the involvement of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and McMaster University in Hamilton, as well as a third-party evaluator called Blueprint. Blueprint, according to their website, is a non-profit, mission-driven research organization dedicated to improving the social and economic well-being of Canadians.

Potential basic income recipients must live in Lindsay and have been living there for at least the past 12 months. As well, they 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)

Basic Income Pilot

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