The co-founder of one of Ottawa’s leading tech companies is calling on the Ontario government to save the province’s basic income pilot, arguing the plan deserves a chance to show whether it can pull low-income residents out of poverty.
Pythian CEO Paul Vallée, who penned an open letter to Premier Doug Ford and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod last month expressing his opinion, told OBJ some of the world’s top economists and business leaders support the push for a basic income.
Referring to Ontario’s pilot as a research experiment designed to see if a basic income leads to more long-term economic benefits than the current system of social assistance programs, he said the Tories’ decision to pull the plug on the program is shortsighted.
“The experiment was intended to quantify what exactly does (a basic income program) cost,” said Vallée, who co-wrote the letter with Floyd Marinescu, CEO of Toronto-based C4Media.
“We know poverty costs a lot; it costs a ton in health care, it costs a ton in services, it costs a ton in overhead, it costs a ton in lost taxation. If (the pilot program) is more expensive, how much more expensive is it? We don’t know, but the experiment was designed to answer that question.”
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