It appears Ontario’s Basic Income pilot project will continue, regardless the outcome of the June 7 provincial election.
The province says 4,000 people on low incomes in Hamilton-Brant, Thunder Bay and Lindsay are currently receiving payments through the program.
The Ontario Liberals launched the initiative a year ago, and it’s expected to last two more years.
The Progressive Conservative party, which has taken the lead in public opinion polls in the leadup to the June vote, is suggesting Doug Ford would continue with the project if elected.
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In order to be eligible for the pilot, residents in the three selected municipalities must be between the ages of 18 and 64 and make under $34,000 per year, or $48,000 for a couple.
Pilot participants can receive nearly $17,000 per year with few strings attached. Participants with disabilities will get an additional $6,000, and couples get a total of $24,000.
For every dollar participants earn, that figure gets reduced by 50 cents, however.
In addition to the 4,000 people enrolled, another 2,000 will be paid to fill out surveys as part of a control group.
LISTEN: Tom Cooper joins the Bill Kelly Show
Tom Cooper of Hamilton’s Roundtable for Poverty Reduction said with the support of all three parties, “the plan has been de-politicized. It’s, hopefully, not going to be a big issue in the provincial election with one party saying they’re going to cancel that and another party laying blame for that.”
Cooper said there’s a lot of interest in the plan internationally, with McMaster University set to host the North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress from May 25 to 26.
“Next month we’ll have academics, advocates and government representatives, come to Hamilton to really study this idea of basic income and share their research and experience,” he said.