Along with terminating Ontario’s Basic Income experiment and reducing planned increases in social assistance rates, the Ford government has announced plans to develop a transformed approach to social assistance in the next 100 days, one that “would be focused on jobs.” A “focus on jobs” usually translates into harsher conditions for social assistance recipients, more hoops, more tests and inevitably more degradation.

The problem with that approach is there is no evidence that layering on greater conditions actually gets more people into work. Tougher rules may instead encourage recipients to prove they cannot work. Rather than getting applicants to think about what they can do, it’s an incentive for recipients to focus on what they can’t do.