Segal explains 'work incentive' idea in Basic Income report on CBC's 'As it Happens'

CBC News -- 'As it Happens'

The best government solution to poverty might be the simplest one: give money to poor people, no strings attached.

That's the idea behind a basic income pilot program for Ontario. This week, former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal released a discussion paper on how the pilot program should work.

Segal is proposing that people between the ages of 18 to 65, who are living under the low-income poverty line in Ontario, will earn a basic income of at least $1320 per month. Individuals with disabilities will receive $500 more.

Segal, who's now the Master of Massey College at the University of Toronto, explained his proposal to As it Happens host Carol Off. Here's part of their conversation: 

CAROL OFF: Is there a cap? If people start to make more income, at what point do they lose the basic income?

HUGH SEGAL: So, the way we operate now in Ontario, apparently, is that if you are an Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipient or if you are an Ontario Works (OW) recipient, there's a limit to how much you're allowed to earn. If you earn more than $200 a month, you not only get benefits clawed back, but you may in fact lose some benefits — such as rent-assisted housing and free dental for your children. So, those are huge disincentives for people to break out of welfare and get some work — even when they want to and can.

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