City out of running for pilot project

True to her activist creed, Premier Kathleen Wynne will introduce a trial program of payments to poorer Ontario residents - "a basic income, no matter what".

Many analysts predict that poverty, unemployment and homelessness will rise dramatically over the next decade if a new way, such as a basic income, isn't found. [Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]"The project will explore the effectiveness of providing a basic income to people who are now living on low incomes, whether they're working or not".

A single person could get up to nearly $17,000 per year minus half of whatever they earn. The three-year study will test how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects of those living on low incomes while providing greater security for them and their families. People with disabilities will receive up to an additional $6,000 per year.

Basic income payments are created to be streamlined compared to traditional social assistance and aim to encourage people to work, without the disincentive of losing social supports.

It will be at least three years until a decision will be made to roll out basic income across the province.

While some critics, including Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, have called for the basic income level to be set at the amount of the poverty line, Segal said he believes it should be 25 per cent lower so that people will have an incentive to work.

Hamilton is one of three regions that will be taking part in the province's three-year basic income project.

Wynne said "there will be a limit to the number [of applicants] and there will be an application process". The pilot will begin with 1,000 low-income participants in the Hamilton area.

In Ontario, the provincial government will provide income to certain residents who are living in poverty, unemployed, underemployed or working minimum-wage jobs.

Recipients who are employed will keep what they make from their jobs, with their basic income payments decreasing by half the amount of their earnings.

The province is partnering with these communities and other experts to make sure that the Ontario Basic Income Pilot is fair, effective, and scientifically valid. The third pilot will launch in Lindsay in the fall. It will cost the government $50 million a year.

The project will also include those who aren't working and those who are homeless. A separate basic income plan for First Nations communities will be rolled out later this year.

The province says the project will assess whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes.

  • Joanne Flowers