February 1, 2017 9:17 am
Updated: February 6, 2017 1:36 pm

Province holds basic income consultation in London

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Londoners have had their say on a basic income pilot project for Ontario.

The Wynne Liberals 14-city tour wrapped in London Tuesday night. Minister of Community and Social Services Helena Jaczek has been touring the province, holding public consultations talking about how the proposed pilot project should run, who should participate and how it will be monitored.

One of the priorities on Mayor Matt Brown’s poverty panel was to have London serve as a test market for the pilot project.

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However, Jaczek told AM980 London may be too big for the pilot project.

“Certainly location is something that we’ll be taking into account. People do need to realize the size of what we’re proposed. We’ve been allocated $25 million per year for each of the three years to conduct this study.”

The government brought on former Conservative Senator Hugh Segal as an advisor for the project. Segal has proposed low income Ontarians receive money with no strings attached.
Segal’s proposal suggested people between the ages of 18 and 35, who are living under the low-income poverty line in the province receive a basic income of at least $1,320 per month.

Segal’s plan would combine several social service programs. A person on Ontario Disability Pension would see their annual income rise from $13,536 to $22,989.

If the province were to adopt Segal’s proposal, a city like London would be too large for the pilot project based on the $75 million that has been made available for the project.

“Whether we would choose a ‘typical’ Ontario city within which to conduct the pilot or whether we choose several and have residents in several different communities, that’s still up in the air,” said Jaczek.

The public consultation Tuesday night in London was held at Goodwill Industries on Horton Street. Media was invited to be present for part of the discussion but not for all, to allow for those in attendance to speak freely without the media watching.

Jaczek said the province is committed to conducting the pilot project.

Now that the public consultation process has ended, the information from all 14 public meetings will be compiled and a final announcement will be made in April.

Jaczek said it’s likely the pilot project would begin at some point in 2017.

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