Ontario to move ahead with basic income pilot

Ontario is moving ahead with the design and implementation of a basic income pilot, as announced in its 2016 budget.

Basic income, or guaranteed annual income, is a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum level of income, according to a release from the province, which added that Ontario will design and implement a pilot program to test the growing view that a basic income could help deliver income support more efficiently, while improving health, employment and housing outcomes for Ontarians.

Read: Ontario will test idea of a guaranteed minimum income to ease poverty

Hugh Segal, a political strategist who served as chief of staff for Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, has been appointed as special advisor on basic income. “The potential for a Basic Income to transform income security in Ontario and across the country is tremendous, and I look forward to contributing to this bold initiative,” he said.

The province said Segal will deliver a discussion paper to the province by the fall to help inform the design and implementation of the pilot. The discussion paper will include advice about potential criteria for selecting target populations and/or locations, delivery models and advice about how the province could evaluate the results of the basic income pilot. Ontario added it will undertake further engagement with experts, communities and other stakeholders as it moves towards design and implementation.

“We want to ensure that we are developing a thoughtful, evidence-based approach to test the idea of a Basic Income, and we look forward to Mr. Segal’s advice as we begin this work,” said Dr. Helena Jaczek, the province’s minister of community and social services.

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