If ever there was a government policy that’s a no-brainer, it’s the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) project.
So why did Doug Ford break an election promise and kill the program that’s now set to end in March 2019?
Some 4,000 Ontarians are taking part in the pilot. Laura Cattari, a member of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, is one of them.
She says basic income recipients, “Did exactly what they were supposed to do.
They trusted that the money would be there for making life-changing decisions. They found safer housing, started eating well, joined fitness programs, signed internet or cell phone contracts and left jobs to get ready to go to school. They’ve stepped out on a limb; now the government has left them stranded.”
Basic income is not a new concept. Worldwide, basic income projects are happening in Alaska, Brazil, Finland, Kenya and India, with all reporting the additional money consistently being spent on better food, staying in school, improving housing and, in some cases, starting a small business with the goal of becoming financially independent.
In 1974, Manitoba launched a pilot in Winnipeg, Dauphin and a number of other small rural communities. Back then Mincome, as it’s also known, provided 1,300 families with annual incomes ranging from $3,800 to $5,800 for five years. The provincial government under Ed Schreyer along with the federal government under Pierre Elliot Trudeau funded the program.
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