The executive director of the Community Development Council of Quinte agrees the Ontario Basic Income pilot project could make a real difference in people’s lives.
On Monday, the province announced residents in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay will be the first to receive a guaranteed minimum income of 17,000 a year for single people and just over $24,000 for couples, less half of what the recipients earn as income.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said while that isn’t extravagant, it will make a real difference in people’s lives.
The government consulted former senator Hugh Segal for advice on building the pilot project.
Segal said the basic income should replace Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program payments, but be slightly more generous, and it should come with less monitoring and administration than those programs.
While she wishes it was being tested in the Quinte area because of high poverty and food insecurity rates, Ruth Ingersoll said she believes this will encourage people to go to work and make a better living.
She added it’s unfortunate the rest of the province has to ‘wait and see’ how it pans out over three years. She said she hopes it doesn’t create animosity among the ‘haves’ and have nots’ in those communities where it is being tested.
The Liberal government announced the pilot project in the 2016 budget.