Ontario launches guaranteed-income pilot as feds back away from 'costly' program
Briefing note warns guaranteed-income projects costly, ineffective and encourage workers to stay home
The long-debated idea of a guaranteed minimum annual income for Canadians moves a small step closer to reality this week.
Former Conservative senator Hugh Segal delivers a report this week on how the “basic income pilot” announced in Ontario’s February budget might work.
The Ontario government earmarked $25 million this fiscal year to establish a pilot project in the province sometime before April 2017, and appointed Segal in late June as an unpaid special adviser.
In an interview with CBC News, Segal gave some hints about his report, which is expected to be made public in mid-September for three months of public consultations.
He’s quick to dismiss suggestions that guaranteed incomes foster laziness.
“For all those good folks on the right … who say that if you pay people to do nothing, they will do nothing, I remind them that 70 per cent of the people who live beneath the poverty line in Ontario … have jobs.
"They just don’t earn enough through minimum wage to be above the poverty line,” he said.
“So the notion that this is about chocolate, and couches, and popcorn, and watching TV is actually without any substantial basis in fact.”
Segal, long an anti-poverty advocate, says any pilot project in Ontario must be in place for at least three years to be able to measure impacts effectively.