The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was a program initiated by the Wynne Liberals and designed by former Conservative senator Hugh Segal. Each month, the government would give low-income residents a sum of money with no strings attached, then track how they fared.
For Tracey Mechefske (far left), Basic Income was a lifeline. She started a business, improved her diet and enrolled at a local gym. Then, without warning, Ford cancelled the entire program.
“The thing that I wish people would understand is that I’m not a mooch. I’m a taxpayer, and I want to be self-sufficient. I always hear that those of us who were part of the basic income pilot should shut up and get a job. I’ve had several jobs.
“I was born with two twisted tibias. When I was 15, I was in a snowmobile accident. I had surgery, but 25 years later, exacerbated by that accident, the twisted tibias began to give me mobility issues. I also have a sulphite allergy and serious gastrointestinal problems that cause me excruciating pain. When it’s bad, I can barely get out of bed.
“Despite all my physical problems, I was always a good student. I went to the University of Nipissing intending to do a double major in history and psychology with a minor in ancient religion. I enjoyed school, but by the end of first year, my stomach problems made keeping up with the workload impossible. It was a similar story when I tried college the following year, so I worked in retail, but eventually I needed too many sick days and I was let go. I went on disability in 1993.
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