Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said the government decided to end the program after being informed by ministry officials that it was failing to help people become ‘independent contributors to the economy.’ But the researcher who spoke with CBC, who did not want to be identified because the team is bound by confidentiality restrictions, said there is simply no data.’There’s no conceivable way that they were told the project wasn’t working. We just don’t have any data to know whether it was working or not.’
The program provided payments to 4,000 low-income people in several Ontario communities, including Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay. Single participants received up to $16,989 a year while couples received up to $24,027. Every dollar earned from a job would result in a clawback of 50 cents from the benefit.
A class action lawsuit was recently launched by four participants of the program in Lindsay on behalf of the 4000 people impacted by the abrupt cancellation. Lawyer and social worker Mike Perry is taking on the case pro bono. At the press conference, the participants mentioned a Go Fund Me campaign to help with all the fees associated with this challenge will be launched. When we have the address, we will post it here. In the interim you can find out more by contacting [email protected]
If you want to learn more about participants, there are a few projects documenting the impact of the basic income project on people’s lives. In this article Laura Cattari writes about her experience with the program. Photographer Jessie Golem has also started a project called Humans of Basic Income which documents people’s experiences with the pilot project and how it helped them. Support these and other efforts to contradict the narrative that basic income was not helping people.