Hamilton’s basic income advocates aren’t giving up yet

Hamilton Spectator

Basic income advocates aren't giving up the fight to have Ottawa pick up the cancelled pilot program as final payments draw nearer.

Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, said the lobby effort continues to have the federal government take over the pilot project ahead of participants receiving their last payments at the end of March.

He said he hopes basic income will be included in the federal budget, which is being tabled March 19.

"There's still faint hope that the federal government may decide to step in at the 11th hour and rescue this project, which we're continuing to advocate for," Cooper told a Spectator editorial board meeting Wednesday. "We think it makes a lot of sense."

Ottawa has said it's up to the province to decide its social assistance policies, but federal Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos told The Canadian Press in a December interview that the current suite of federal programs could one day be enhanced to provide a minimum income of sorts to all Canadians.

Cooper questioned why the federal government would start a new program when it could pick up the remaining two years of the pilot project, which the province cancelled in July, just over a year into the three-year initiative.

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