Millennials likely benefit most from Ontario basic minimum income: Expert

Ontario is moving forward with exploring the idea of a basic minimum income, something that could be a big win for millennials, according to one University of Toronto expert.

The province announced last week it was appointing former senator Hugh Segal to report back by fall on what a pilot basic minimum income project could look like.

There aren’t many details on what exactly the province is planning, but the idea is to provide eligible people with a minimum level of income.

“For young people, a guaranteed level with no questions asked might actually be a good thing, instead of social assistance,” said Rodney Haddow, associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the department of political science at the University of Toronto.

“Because they’re dealt with rather more sceptically, very often, by social assistance regimes than anybody else is.”

Young people who are between school and work typically don’t qualify for employment insurance benefits, and the welfare system doesn’t want to disincentive them to work, he added.

Haddow said the idea of a basic minimum income has been around since the 1960s, but there are wildly different models out there at both ends of the political spectrum.

A more conservative version suggests using it to replace other social services, while a more liberal one sees the income being large enough for people to live relatively comfortably without working.

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