Every day, individuals and families mainly get income supports through programs such as Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program and the Ontario Child Benefit.

We want to test new approaches to improve health, employment, and housing outcomes for Ontarians and reduce poverty in the province.

In June 2016, we asked the Honourable Hugh Segal for advice on how we could design, deliver and evaluate a basic income pilot. Mr. Segal has submitted a discussion paper, Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income Pilot for Ontario, which we’re using as the starting point for this consultation.

Read the basic income discussion paper by Hugh Segal and a summary of his recommendations.

Providing a Basic Income can help:

  • lift more people out of poverty
  • simplify the income security system
  • improve people’s health, empower people to get jobs and help people afford housing
  • give people more certainty and empower them to actively participate in the economy

What is basic income

A basic income is generally seen as a payment from the government to a person or family to ensure they receive a minimum income level.

Different than social assistance, a basic income can be:

  • given to anyone who meets the income eligibility criterion
  • generally simpler to administer
  • an unconditional payment that doesn’t require the person receiving it to find work or prove they’re trying to find work

A basic income can be implemented in a number of ways, including:

  • giving the same amount of money to everyone
  • topping up the incomes of people who earn less than a certain amount
  • setting up a system where people who earn less than a certain amount get a payment from the government, instead of paying taxes

About the consultation

From November 3, 2016 to January 31, 2017 we asked people across the province, including people with lived experience, municipalities, experts and academics how to design, test and deliver a basic income pilot in Ontario. We asked for feedback on:

  • who should be eligible
  • which communities to include in the study
  • how the benefit is designed
  • how we deliver the pilot
  • how to evaluate the pilot

The pilot would build on work already underway, through the province’s Income Security Reform Working Group and Poverty Reduction Strategy, to pursue creative, innovative solutions that will help serve low-income Ontarians.

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