March 30, 2016 3:56 pm
Updated: March 30, 2016 3:59 pm

Support for guaranteed minimum income rises in Ontario, poll finds

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, left, delivers the Ontario 2016 budget next to Premier Kathleen Wynne, right, at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, February 25, 2016.


Public support for the idea of a guaranteed minimum income in Ontario appears to be trending upwards, according to a new poll.

The Forum Research poll found 41 per cent respondents said they approve of a guaranteed basic income, with 33 per cent opposed while 26 per cent said they didn’t know. A Forum poll from 2012 found only 27 per cent approved, said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff in a statement

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“This appears to be an idea whose appeal is growing,” Bozinoff said.

The results come after Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a pilot project in her provincial budget last month that would test if a guaranteed basic living income “could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support.”

READ MORE: How would a guaranteed annual income work in Canada

University of Manitoba health economist Evelyn Forget told Global News last month a guaranteed basic income would see families living below the poverty line topped up to a set level. Proponents say a guaranteed income is more efficient and less costly to administer than the existing series of social programs.

“One of the real bonuses is it attempts to take away a lot of the behavioural constraints of existing welfare programs,” she said.

Canada experimented with a guaranteed basic income, or guaranteed annual income, in Dauphin, Man., in the early 1970s. The project dubbed “Mincome” found it lowered poverty rates, decreased hospital visits and increased high school completion rates.

The Forum poll surveyed 1,225 people by phone across Ontario on March 23. The results are considered accurate to within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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