Lakehead study examines the impact of cancelling Ontario's Basic Income Pilot

Thunder Bay Newswatch

It will likely come as no surprise to recipients of the now-cancelled Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP) program that a study has found the program was significantly helpful.

Its benefits, however, were reversed when the project was axed by a new government.

A Lakehead University social work professor led a research team that investigated the impacts, and is now making its findings public.

The planned three-year pilot was announced by the provincial government in 2017 and was subsequently rolled out in several communities including the Thunder Bay area.

It gave 4,000 participants up to $17,000 a year for a single person and up to $24,000 for a couple.

People with disabilities also received up to an additional $500 a month.

Recipients who worked had their payments reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they earned until their income reached $34,000 if single, or $48,000 if they had a partner.

The goal was to identify how a basic income might help people meet their basic needs while improving outcomes in food security, stress and anxiety, mental health, physical health, health-care usage, housing stability, education and training, employment and labour market participation.

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