HAMILTON – Residents of Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay areas will be the first Ontarians to receive a guaranteed minimum income as part of a new provincial pilot project.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the details of the province’s three-year basic income project today in Hamilton.
She said the level of support starts at just under $17,000 a year for a single person, and while that isn’t extravagant, she says it will make a real difference to a person “striving to reach for a better life.”
“The project will explore the effectiveness of providing a basic income to people who are currently living on low incomes, whether they are working or not,” she said. “People participating in our pilot communities will receive a minimum amount of income each year – a basic income, no matter what.”
The income payments are designed to encourage people to work. Recipients will keep what they earn, with their basic income payments decreasing by half of that amount.
Single people will receive up to $16,989 per year, less 50 per cent of any income they earn. Couples will receive up to $24,027 per year, less 50 per cent of any income they earn. People with disabilities will receive up to an additional $6,000 per year.
People in the three regions will be able to apply to the pilot project, and 4,000 people will be selected.
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.
The Liberal government announced the pilot project in the 2016 budget.