The three-year pilot of a basic income plan by the Ontario government last week is good news for some, but not all.
The program guarantees an income of about $17,000 annually for a single person and $24,000 annually for a couple, less 50 per cent of earned income. Those with disabilities will get up to $600 per month extra. The idea is to replace the current welfare system and disability payments that often demands people deplete all their financial resources before getting assistance. It also can be punitive when people earn income because that amount reduces the welfare support.
Thunder Bay and Hamilton-Brantford-Brant County are part of the pilot, along with Lindsay.
Local poverty activists gave a lukewarm response, quickly pointing out its shortcoming, including the need for province-wide implementation, as well as increasing minimum wage and addressing systemic problems related to support systems, health, and housing.