It was pure coincidence that both meetings happened on the same day.
Fourteen participants in Ontario's basic income pilot project met Aug. 8 at a business incubator in the south end of Thunder Bay after the Progressive Conservative government announced it would wind the program down early.
They had been receiving cheques from the province every month, as part of a research project to measure the effect of handing out larger amounts of money than social assistance normally provides, without many requirements. Anyone in Thunder Bay who lived on less than $34,000 individually or $48,000 with a partner had been eligible to apply.
What the participants didn't know was that four and a half kilometres away, the Northwestern Ontario Women's Centre and Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic was also holding a meeting for recipients and people who wanted to help.
"We weren't even aware that these organizations were doing something for us," said Joshua Hewitt, a basic income recipient who organized the first meeting.
So the two groups joined forces. Now, a couple dozen locals meet weekly to talk about solutions to poverty and plan demonstrations. They call their group Disrupt.
"Our intention is to grow a movement," said Angie Lynch, an organizer with the legal clinic who leads Disrupt.
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