Ontario's bold basic income experiment

Huffington Post

Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother-of-two bought her first vehicle and graduated with her high school diploma in March.

"Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work," she told HuffPost Canada.

Going to college would have been out of reach for Mendowegan even last year. But as a participant in Ontario's basic income pilot program, she and her husband, Dan, can now afford the tuition. She starts at Thunder Bay's Confederation College in September to study office administration.

"Our life has changed," Mendowegan, 41, said in an interview. "We're not struggling where we're paying our bills and that's it."

Ontario is one of the first places in the world to test out a guaranteed basic income. Launched in April 2017, the program has enrolled more than 4,000 people who live on less than $34,000 individually or $48,000 as a couple. This includes people who are working, going to school or living on financial assistance.

For three years, single participants will receive $16,989 annually and couples will receive $24,027. People making other income will see this amount reduced by 50 cents for every dollar earned. Participants with disabilities are eligible for another $6,000 per year.

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