Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government scraps basic income pilot project

06 August, 2018, 07:27 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Ford government announces social assistance overhaul

In April 2017, the Liberal Ontario government began a Basic Income Pilot Project that offered low-income families a basic monthly income in the hopes that the extra cash flow would give participants more stability, an easier time paying bills and encourage them to further their educations.

The Ontario government said in a press release that it will be exploring new avenues to lift its low income residents-the number of whom has risen by 55% in the last 15 years-out of poverty.

She says the governing Tories will set a 100-day deadline to come up with a new social assistance program that will help people break the cycle of poverty and get back in the workforce.

Asked how the government determined the pilot was ineffective before it was over, MacLeod simply said the program was "not doing what it's meant to do and it's quite expensive".

The problem, MacLeod said, is that the social-assistance system doesn't help people, which she learned from her briefings since she became the minister responsible at the end of June.

Ziegner said she is already seeing the impact of Tuesday's announcement by Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, in particular to the province's cutting of a planned increase in Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates from 3 to 1.5 per cent. "It was certainly not going to be sustainable", MacLeod said.

"We're going to hit the pause button on the previous government's patchwork system and replace it with a system that helps stabilize people in need and support them to succeed", she said in a statement.

In other words, people with more income don't just have more money to spend.

While Regehr doesn't think Ottawa should be bailing Ford out, "if he really refuses and will not budge, participants in this pilot shouldn't suffer", she said.

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Ontario's pilot project was launched in April 2017 and offered 4,000 low-income residents in three communities nearly $14,000 a year to individuals or $24,000 to couples, and an extra $6,000 for the disabled.

How is a 1.5-per-cent increase to welfare rates kinder to recipients than a three-per-cent hike?

News of the project's cancellation stunned anti-poverty groups and those who received support through the initiative, some of whom said they'd be left scrambling to make up for income they had counted on in making future plans.

"Look, what I'm announcing today is about restoring dignity to Ontarians".

Single participants get up to $17,000 a year and couples $24,000.

Losing the program is going to make those plans more hard, she said.

Mike Nadeau agrees that the current social assistance program isn't getting the outcomes social service agencies want to see.

During the election campaign, the PC party had suggested the pilot project would be kept through to its completion. "There are more compassionate ways the government could save money without targeting the most vulnerable".


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