Canadian Chamber of Commerce urges federal government to pick up Ontario’s cancelled pilot project

The Star

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on the federal government to create its own basic income pilot project to replace the one that was prematurely cancelled by Doug Ford’s provincial government in 2018.

The national chamber adopted the resolution, which was put forward by the Hamilton and Thunder Bay Chambers of Commerce, at its annual general meeting this week.

It calls on the federal government to create a basic income pilot project and “assess the potential costs, benefits, pitfalls, challenges and outcomes of a nationwide basic income social assistance program.”

Keanin Loomis, CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said it’s important the national chamber have a stance on basic income and gathering evidence on its efficacy is the first step.

“We as a chamber network very much believe in evidence-based policy making, and (the cancelled pilot project in Ontario) was designed specifically for that. Now we lack evidence.”

Ontario’s previous Liberal government launched a three-year, $150-million basic income pilot project in 2017 through which roughly 4,000 participants in three test communities — Hamilton/Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay — would receive regular payments with no strings attached. Individuals with annual incomes under $34,000 would receive up to $16,989, while couples with a household income under $48,000 would receive $24,027.

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