A pilot project in Ontario is getting a lot of interest that will guarantee citizens with a basic minimum income. The idea came out of the Ontario Spring Budget and has not been developed, but a pilot community and other stakeholders are being sought after to test drive the idea according to reports.
In a system with a guaranteed basic income, tax dollars are used to top up the income of every Canadian, with everyone receiving a payment that guarantees that each household has at least a minimum income. The result, in theory, would cut the reliance on existing social services.
The plan would mean a government cheque to all Ontarians regardless of current income or status. The idea has also tweaked the interest of the Federal Liberals. The idea isn’t new, test pilots were tried in Canada in the 1970’s. During the period of 1974 through 1978 residents in Dauphin Manitoba found that with a guaranteed income, children stayed in school longer, there were fewer hospital visits, fewer cases of domestic abuse and less need for mental health treatment and 1,000 families were lifted out of poverty.
Ontario will conduct a basic-income pilot to study whether providing people with a guaranteed minimum amount of income would be a more efficient and effective way to deliver social support as announced in the Spring budget. Those earning high incomes would likely pay it back at tax time.