It has been hailed as the magic bullet to end poverty and denounced as a Trojan Horse to dismantle the social safety net.
But there has been little serious research to prove either position. Until now.
Ontario is poised to become ground zero for what may be the largest pilot project yet to test the notion of a basic income in North America.
In a discussion paper released Thursday, Ontario’s special adviser on basic income suggests topping up incomes of the working poor and replacing the province’s meagre and rule-bound social assistance program with a monthly payment of at least $1,320 for a single person, or about 75 per cent of the poverty line.
Participants with disabilities would get an additional $500 a month, according to the proposal by Hugh Segal, a former Conservative senator and a longtime advocate of basic income, also known as guaranteed annual income or minimum income.