In February 2018, Jessie Golem, a freelance photographer in Hamilton, found out she’d been selected to participate in Ontario’s basic income pilot project. She felt like she won the lottery. The three-year pilot, launched by the Wynne government, was meant to provide 4,000 low-income individuals in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay with a maximum of $16,989 per year per person (or $24,027 per couple).Read more
Raise the Hammer
I was one of the 4500 citizens in Canada to be given a basic income (BI). I applied for BI while working at a bank in downtown Hamilton. Part-time employment is all that is available as a modern bank teller.
The top priority given to us by our managers was to teach customers how to use our online banking platform and cell-phone application. The better I did my job, the fewer faces I saw coming into the branch. I was in the midst of a job-performance paradox, witnessing and facilitating the replacement of my job by technology. And moving up the ladder didn't make much long-term sense either, seeing as financial planners are now being publicly shafted in Super Bowl advertisements by automated robo-banking platforms like Questrade.Read more
Former premier Kathleen Wynne said she regrets that her government did not bring in the now-scrapped basic income pilot project earlier during their time in power. "I wish that we had done it sooner," the Don Valley West MPP said in response to a question from a basic income pilot participant at the Hamilton Public Library Monday.
The previous leader of Ontario's Liberal party said she was "fighting back tears" as she delivered the keynote address at an appreciation day for basic income participants.Read more
The cancellation of Ontario’s basic income pilot project was a major disappointment for the low-income participants who were counting on three years of secure income and for those who were counting on the research data evaluating the program’s success.
It was a bold experiment, where people with low incomes in five communities received monthly payments of $1,416 as individuals or $2,000 as couples. The researchers would measure whether those funds would improve the recipients’ overall health and mental wellness, as well as housing stability, education and training, employment and use of healthcare services.Read more
Basic income advocates aren't giving up the fight to have Ottawa pick up the cancelled pilot program as final payments draw nearer.
Tom Cooper, director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, said the lobby effort continues to have the federal government take over the pilot project ahead of participants receiving their last payments at the end of March.
He said he hopes basic income will be included in the federal budget, which is being tabled March 19.Read more
Court has ‘no authority’ to quash PC decision to cancel basic income; ruling has ‘no effect’ on possible class action lawsuit
It was not the kind of Valentine’s Day gift supporters of basic income were looking for.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court says the court has no authority to force the PC government to continue funding the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program.Read more
Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, is poised to kill one of the world’s most ambitious and sophisticated universal basic income pilot projects (UBI), cutting a year off its intended three-year duration. The decision was made last July, soon after the Ford government came to power, and is effective March 31.
Ontario’s new government is able to do that because the UBI project, and its promise to reinvent social assistance and give poor people greater incentive to join the paid workforce, is scarcely known or understood.Read more
While the federal government may be considering the merits of a basic income for Canadians, those participating in the Ontario pilot know already how it was changing their lives for the better.
In fact, there were four key ways basic income directly affected people’s work lives, according to survey information – more learning and education; affordability of transportation; starting or maintaining a business; and childcare.Read more
OBIP Chronicles — Finding affordable housing in Ontario hasn’t been easy for decades. For people collecting basic income in Lindsay, Hamilton area, and Thunder Bay area, the pressures they were facing with housing costs were lessened with the new benefit they were receiving, although all of that is ending in March with the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.Read more
Study results from the Ontario Basic Income Pilot’s baseline survey have now been released, revealing the stories of participants were hoping to break the cycle of poverty, find better jobs and opportunities, stabilize their housing, and improve their health and well-being.
The baseline survey was conducted by an arms-length, independent evaluation team led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Under the initial agreement signed by enrollees, the descriptive statistics were to be made available to pilot participants who requested the survey results (no personal information was included).Read more