More than half of Canadians approve of Ontario’s basic income pilot

Jack Hauen

National Post

More than half of Canadians approve of Ontario’s basic income pilot project, but a sizeable chunk of those supporters don’t think it goes far enough.

The project will see as many as 4,000 people with low incomes in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay receive up to $16,989 per year from the province, or $24,027 for a couple, with no strings attached, to see whether an increase in financial security bolsters job prospects and quality of life.

The poll, conducted by Campaign Research, surveyed 1,969 people and found that 53 per cent of respondents across the country supported the plan. Approval was highest among millennials aged 18 to 24 (59 per cent), Atlantic Canadians (63 per cent), and supporters of the federal NDP (63 per cent) and Liberals (62 per cent).

Campaign Research CEO Eli Yufest said he wasn’t surprised by those numbers. Atlantic provinces have four of the top five unemployment rates in the country, meaning their inhabitants are “generally more open to these sort of social programs.”

Dalhousie economics professor Lars Osberg was quick to point out that the sample size for Atlantic Canada was just 198 — taking into account the margin of error, it’s hard to definitively say that Atlantic Canada is more gung-ho about the pilot than, say, Quebec, which had 59 per cent support.

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