Basic income 'saved me' from returning to the streets, Thunder Bay recipient says

CBC News

A participant in, and an advocate for, the basic income pilot project in Thunder Bay, Ont., says he's facing a lot of uncertainty now that the program is in its waning weeks.

The pilot, launched by the previous provincial Liberal government, was cancelled after the Progressive Conservatives came into office in the June 2018 election. Despite the six-month wind-down, anti-poverty activists have said canceling the program ahead of schedule puts many in very difficult situations.

For Joshua Hewitt, who, in the past has been in and out of homelessness, he said that means losing a lot of stability, as the pilot was a lifeline for him when he suddenly lost one of his two part-time jobs. That happened, he said, due to "a mental breakdown," brought on by a bad and unstable living situation, including violence in the home.

"The pilot saved me from being back on the streets again," he told CBC Thunder Bay's Superior Morning.

"Knowing now that the pilot's winding down, yeah, I might have a nice place now, I might have a home, and I'm established, but I still have to struggle to keep my head above water at this point."

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