Ontario Newsroom

Helping People Get Ahead and Stay Ahead

Archived News Release

Helping People Get Ahead and Stay Ahead

Enrollment in Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Now Successfully Completed

Ontario is providing more than 4,000 people with a basic income, successfully completing the enrollment phase of the three-year pilot.

Ontario launched the pilot one year ago today, becoming a leader in real-world testing of whether a basic income can help people living on low incomes. With enrollment complete, the pilot will now look at how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects while providing greater security for people living on low incomes and their families.

Through the pilot, people who earn less than the basic income amount through employment receive regular payments to help them better afford basic needs such as housing and food. Providing a predictable amount of money each month may also allow them to start or continue to work, or further their education.

In the pilot, participants in Lindsay, Hamilton Brantford and Brant County and Thunder Bay receive regular payments so they can better afford basic needs such as food and housing. This includes:

  • Up to $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50 per cent of any earned income
  • Up to $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50 per cent of any earned income
  • Up to an additional $6,000 per year for a person with a disability.

Ensuring everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential is part of the government's plan for fairness, and providing care and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and free preschool childcare from 2 ½ to kindergarten.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot has now reached full enrollment across all three sites in Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County, Thunder Bay and the surrounding area and Lindsay.
  • The province has enrolled over 4,000 people in the pilot and in addition over 2,000 individuals will be participating in the comparison group. This group will not receive monthly Basic Income payments, but will actively participate in the research study.
  • The pilot is being recognized internationally for its leadership and innovation including being a finalist in Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards.
  • A wide cross-section of people are enrolled in the pilot including single people, couples, people who were previously receiving social assistance, students, those precariously employed and unemployed.
  • Participants were chosen randomly to receive basic income or be part of a control group.
  • As part of the study, participants will complete surveys regularly.
  • Led by Dr. Kwame McKenzie, Special Advisor to the Ontario Basic Income Pilot and CEO of the Wellesley Institute, a Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee is monitoring the pilot for rigour and integrity. A third-party research group — led by researchers, experts and academics at St. Michael’s Hospital and McMaster University — will evaluate the results.

Additional Resources

Quotes

“While our economy is in a strong position, and every young person can now go on to post-secondary school no matter their family’s income, and nearly half of the province will soon have access to free prescriptions, there is still much we need to do to build a province where everyone is included in our economic growth. The Ontario Basic Income Pilot is essential to that. It is changing lives today and helping us plan for a future in which people have the supports they need to get ahead in a rapidly changing economy.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne

“This marks an important milestone, but even more importantly, the Ontario Basic Income Pilot is already making a difference in people’s lives. We are hearing that early pilot participants are feeling less stress and anxiety about paying their bills and enjoying a better life. The pilot is part of our province’s long-term plan to focus on people living on low incomes and along with our historic $2.3 billion investment in significant social assistance reforms as outlined in our recent Budget, we are helping more people in their daily lives.”

Michael Coteau

Minister of Community and Social Services

“As we reach this important milestone and hit full enrollment in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, I want to thank all of our partners – the dedicated Pilot team and the community organizations who have worked tirelessly to help us get to this day. We couldn’t have done it without you and, thanks to your hard work, we can now begin the important work of the study and testing this new approach to supporting people living on low incomes. This Pilot is a key part of our work to test in new ways to reduce, prevent and end poverty in this province.”

Peter Milzcyn

Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy

Media Contacts

Share

Tags

Government Taxes and Benefits Poverty Reduction