Ontario Basic Income Pilot picks up steam

Roderick Benns

The new and innovative social program that Ontario is testing in Lindsay and two other Ontario centres – a ‘basic income guarantee’ — is surging in participant numbers.

According to Ministry spokesperson, Matt Ostergard, the Lindsay Advocate has learned that as of the end of January there were 2,544 participants across the three pilot locations of Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton and Brant County.

The Province is looking for those numbers to be capped at 4,000 participants, meaning there is less than 1,500 people left to sign up. However, 2,000 of those participants will be from Lindsay, making it the linchpin in studying how receiving a higher income will affect people’s lives and the community as a whole.

If you live in Lindsay, Hamilton and Brant County, or Thunder Bay area and have been living there for at least the past 12 months, you may be eligible – even if you already have a job or own your own business. As well, you must be:

  • 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
  • living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if you’re single or under $48,000 per year if you’re a couple)

If you are interested in signing up for basic income, just follow this link to easily sign up for a session. 

So far, about 70 per cent of applicants have been low income workers, with only about 30 per cent on disability or Ontario Works.

A basic income ensures that everyone can meet basic needs and live with dignity regardless of their work status.

It is unconditional income from government sent directly to individuals, providing:

  • financial security;
  • freedom to decide how to best spend your own time and money;
  • a foundation for health, wellbeing and a better life.

Did You Know?

  • Among rich countries, Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden have the lowest income inequality and fewest health and social problems.
  • The United States is the most unequalwith the most problems and Canada and France are in the middle.
  •  According to the Economist, global wealth grew from $117 trillion in 2000 to $262 trillion in 2014. The richest 20 per cent now have 94.5 per cent of all the wealth in the world

— This article originally ran on The Lindsay Advocate. With files from the Basic Income Canada Network.