The health unit that serves Northumberland county is calling on the Ontario government to “reverse course” and allow the Basic Income Guarantee pilot project to continue to its end.
The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge health unit has written to the government saying it is ‘extremely concerning’ that the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) program is being cancelled, only months into what was to have been a three-year pilot phase.
More than 4,000 people in Lindsay, Hamilton-Brant and Thunder Bay were taking part in the trial program, with each being guaranteed a minimum level of income.
Health unit nurse Mary-Lou Mills says it could save taxpayer dollars, by reducing hospital emergency room visits, work-related injuries, and mental health treatment.
She says participants in the Lindsay Pilot have already experienced benefits in terms of improved housing, ability to further education to improve employment opportunities, and reduced reliance on food banks.
Mills tells Quinte News she met with families in the program this week who now have to cancel plans for college, some cannot continue buying medical supplies, and some cannot meet lease obligations on their homes.