A participant in, and an advocate for, the basic income pilot project in Thunder Bay, Ont., says he's facing a lot of uncertainty now that the program is in its waning weeks.
The pilot, launched by the previous provincial Liberal government, was cancelled after the Progressive Conservatives came into office in the June 2018 election. Despite the six-month wind-down, anti-poverty activists have said canceling the program ahead of schedule puts many in very difficult situations.Read more
About 30 people braved the cold weather on Tuesday afternoon to raise their voices at an anti-poverty rally outside city hall in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Demonstrators held signs and set up tents at the event, which was organized by the grassroots group Disrupt and held to protest changes to provincial social assistance programs, including the cancelation of the basic income pilot.Read more
It was pure coincidence that both meetings happened on the same day.
Fourteen participants in Ontario's basic income pilot project met Aug. 8 at a business incubator in the south end of Thunder Bay after the Progressive Conservative government announced it would wind the program down early.
They had been receiving cheques from the province every month, as part of a research project to measure the effect of handing out larger amounts of money than social assistance normally provides, without many requirements. Anyone in Thunder Bay who lived on less than $34,000 individually or $48,000 with a partner had been eligible to apply.Read more
Proponents of Ontario’s now cancelled basic income pilot project descended on the constituency office of Liberal MP and cabinet minister Patty Hajdu on Friday afternoon, hoping she’d help convince the federal government to pick up the slack.
They left somewhat disappointed.
Hajdu told the group social assistance is under the jurisdiction of the province, and there was little she could do to convince Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford to change his mind.Read more
Thunder Bay- Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle says he's hopeful that the province's basic income pilot project can still be saved.
Gravelle said he made a Facebook post earlier this month asking for feedback from residents who have been "directly or indirectly affected" by the abrupt and early cancellation of the research project on August 1.
"This has been a disastrous decision by the provincial government," Gravelle told CBC News, "I don't understand it and certainly based on the responses I've received ... the program needs to be maintained."Read more
Sherry Mendowegan says these days, "life is good."
The 41-year-old mother of two, who lives in Thunder Bay, Ont., can't stop smiling as she describes the ways in which her life is different, since she was selected to be part of Ontario's basic income pilot project.
"My life has changed so much," she said, explaining that her family can now afford a car, and that she and her partner now have enough money to take their children out to enjoy recreational activities.
What's more, Mendowegan, who recently earned her Grade 12 diploma, plans to attend college this fall. It's something that would have seemed impossible a year ago.Read more
The Province is still searching for more Thunder Bay residents to sign up for a basic income pilot project.
A second information session was held earlier this week at the West Thunder Community Centre.
While application packages have already been mailed out to randomly selected households, officials say they still need more candidates.
Nearly 200 residents from Thunder Bay and the surrounding areas filled the hall, to ask questions about the basic income concept.Read more
Thunder Bay residents are eagerly awaiting this week’s announcement of how the provincial government will roll out the Basic Income Pilot Project in their community.
On April 24, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that 4,000 people — in the Hamilton area (which includes Brantford and Brant County), Lindsay, and Thunder Bay — will participate in the first basic income study undertaken by a Canadian government since the Dauphin, Manitoba, experiment finished in 1979.
Under the terms of the pilot, people with low incomes will receive regular payments from the government in place of the social assistance programs to which they’re eligible now. Supporters believe it will be easier for the government to administer than the current system and will help impoverished citizens out by giving them more financial stability.Read more
As a former police officer for 34 years, Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs used to see the same faces day in and day out at his detachment.
These were most often people in dire need in some way, all of it based on their economic and social disadvantages. Hobbs knew them on a first name basis.
“I saw the same people all the time, like a revolving door,” he reflects.
Now, the mayor couldn’t be happier about his city being chosen as one of three basic income sites in Ontario recently.Read more