Poverty reduction minister in Lindsay

Roderick Benns

Jasmine Bellwood is a young Lindsay mother with a part-time job and full-time worries. Her worries are mainly about providing for her 15-month-old son.

She’s also anxious about doing this brief interview but then relents when The Lindsay Advocate offers to change her name. 

Bellwood (not her real name) is about to go inside Celebrations in Lindsay to apply for basic income, one of the first open enrollment sessions the Province is holding, while her boyfriend, the boy’s father, takes care of their son.

“I worry that we won’t have enough for him,” she says. “It’s hard right now, with what we’re making.”

Jasmine and her boyfriend both work, but only part-time and both are in the service industry, where wages are not high. He’s looking for something full-time whereas she doesn’t want to work any more than she’s doing, which is about 20-25 hours a week.

“I want to be able to spend a little time with my son right now. That’s why I was wondering if this program could help,” she says, believing it will give her a bit more peace of mind.

The program – the Ontario Basic Income Pilot – is something that is gaining worldwide attention. There are only a handful of nations doing basic income experiments right now. Ontario is conducting its pilot in Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton/Brant County. But out of the 4,000 people taking part, half will be from Lindsay even though it’s the smallest, making it key to the pilot. That’s because the government wants to see if there will be community-level effects, too.

On this day, Minister of Poverty Reduction and Housing, Peter Milczyn, is in Lindsay to chat with people are who looking to sign up.

It’s a show of support by the minister who is pleased the word is getting out here.

To read more, visit The Lindsay Advocate here.