Health Unit urges Province to reverse basic income cancellation

The local Health Unit is strongly urging the Ontario government to reverse course and at least see the Basic Income Guarantee through to the end of its original three-year pilot phase.

A letter containing this message has been sent to the provincial government on behalf of the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge (HKPR) Board of Health, which in 2016 endorsed a position statement calling for a Basic Income Guarantee pilot program in Ontario. The position statement cited the fact that eliminating poverty is an urgent public health issue, as people on low income are more likely to have health problems and die younger than people with higher income.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit considers it ‘extremely concerning’ that the Basic Income Guarantee program is being cancelled, only months into what was to have been a three-year pilot phase. More than 4,000 people in Lindsay, Hamilton-Brant and Thunder Bay were taking part in the trial program, with each being guaranteed a minimum level of income.

“The Province’s decision is extremely concerning because the Basic Income Guarantee was an innovative program that had the potential to pay dividends in the fight against poverty,” says Kristina Nairn, a social determinants of health nurse with the HKPR District Health Unit.

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