Ontario Releases Basic Income Consultation Feedback

Province Moving Forward with Pilot Program in 2017

Ontario is releasing a report that summarizes the feedback gathered from thousands of people across the province on how to design and deliver a basic income pilot.

Basic income is a payment to eligible families or individuals that ensures a minimum income level. It is designed to help people meet their basic needs while supporting long-term social and economic prosperity and security for everyone.

More than 35,000 people and organizations shared their ideas on a range of topics including who should be eligible for a basic income, which communities to include, how a basic income should be delivered and how the pilot should be evaluated, during the consultations.

Consultation feedback supports a basic income pilot that:

  • Includes Ontario residents aged 18-64 living in socially and economically diverse communities, in urban, rural and northern locations
  • Helps people living on low incomes meet their basic needs
  • Lifts people out of poverty, with long-term improvements in health, employment and housing.

The consultations help build on the advice the government received from the Honourable Hugh Segal in his discussion paper.

The province continues to engage with First Nations, urban Indigenous, Métis and Inuit communities to ensure their unique perspectives are heard and to tailor a culturally appropriate approach that reflects their advice.

All input received through the consultation process is being considered as the government works to introduce a plan for Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot in spring 2017.

Exploring new ways to help people living in poverty reach their full potential is part of the government’s plan to create jobs, grow the economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • Between November 3, 2016 and January 31, 2017, about 1,200 participants attended 14 public consultations held in communities across Ontario. Over 34,000 people completed the online survey. Written submissions were received from more than 80 community organizations and groups with expertise and experience in fighting poverty.
  • The province is looking to create a pilot that would test how a basic income might benefit people living in a variety of low income situations, including those who are currently working.
  • Finland launched a guaranteed income pilot in January 2017 and the Netherlands and Kenya are also looking at developing pilot projects that test the idea of a basic or guaranteed annual income.
  • Y-Combinator, a California technology company has announced it will be piloting a basic income project that is expected to run for five years.

Additional Resources

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Filing a Tax Return could mean More Income

Tax season is here.  The Income Security Action Group of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force encourages everyone to file a tax return. For modest and low income Canadians, filing a tax return may actually help increase the number of benefits they can collect and may result in an increase in their income. Many Canadians have no idea they would get money back, and they fear being told they have to pay the government for back taxes they cannot afford.  But this is not the case for most people on low income.

Here are three good reasons to file for 2016:

  1. To qualify for programs including the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the GST/HST credit, and the Ontario Trillium Benefit, which all pay cash when you qualify.
  2. To take advantage of certain tax credits like the Working Income Tax Benefit
  3. To recover any tax you may have overpaid from your pay cheque.

“If a tax return is not filed, the family may miss out on benefits that could help increase their income and decrease health inequities,” says Jill Umbach of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force.  “There are some incredible volunteers that provide free tax services to people on low income all across Grey-Bruce. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these services to file this year’s and prior years’ taxes.”

Support in filing your taxes is a hugely important anti-poverty and health intervention.  The Canadian Revenue Agency supports programs that prepare taxes for low-income Canadians through its Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. Take advantage of the free tax clinics throughout Grey and Bruce.  A list of clinic dates, times and locations can be found by calling 211 or check on line at 211 Information Bruce Grey or The HealthLine.   For a listing prepared by the Poverty Task Force:  Volunteer Income Tax Clinics_Listing_March 2017

For More Information:

Jill Umbach

Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force
519-377-9406
jill.umbach@gmail.com

 

 

 

Basic Income Pilot Consultations

The Ontario government is launching a pilot project to study how giving people a basic income might reduce poverty and improve health, housing and employment outcomes in Ontario.

The Ontario government released a Discussion Paper by Honourable Hugh Segal in June 2016 entitled Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income. The Ontario government has been holding public consultations, online surveys and welcomed feedback from the public and professionals working in social services.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force have provided input on the Pilot at various consultations:

  • Members of the Poverty Task Force and Community Voices participated in the Hamilton Consultation hosted by the Ontario government on November 22nd, 2016.
  • Members of the Poverty Task Force participated in the OMSSA consultation.
  • Members of the Poverty Task Force, its Action Groups and Community Voices held their own stakeholder consultation on January 13th 2017. The Poverty Task Force has submitted the summary of this discussion as an Official Submission to the Ontario government.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force works with over 34 agencies, networks and key community stakeholders in Bruce and Grey Counties – to enhance our common understanding of poverty-related issues through solution-based research, knowledge development and information sharing. We are informed by diverse voices of experience and support poverty reduction local action through our action groups and Community Voices.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force supports the government’s initiative to investigate a Basic Income Guarantee as a strategy for reducing poverty and income insecurity.

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force (Poverty Task Force) envisions the revitalization of our rural communities where people are empowered to reach their goals, are able to afford to participate in our community, where a more robust economic development and local investment will reverse the rise of precarious work, loss of benefits to families and out-migration of youth/young families in our communities.

The Poverty Task Force recognizes the Basic Income Pilot as one component of a poverty reduction strategy but we recommend that the government continue to invest in new job opportunities, reduce precarious work and ensure sufficient income wages/benefits. We recognize that the government can’t afford to provide all income supports and that we will need the private sector paying a living income. We need to move away from “maintaining poverty”.

The Poverty Task Force believes that the stigmatization of people on social assistances needs to stop. Providing people with more resources and the choice in how they spend their money will provide a sense of community by leveling the playing field.

We advise the government to continue to build broad public support in the media and our rural communities for the Basic Income Pilot. The Pilot needs to be a concept easy enough to understand by all people. The government needs to build trust with those people who would transition from Ontario Works/ Ontario Disability Support Program to the Pilot and identify champions for the Pilot from middle-class/wealthy economic levels that will support the Pilot over the next 3 years.

QUICK FACTS:

20% of families in Owen Sound-Georgian Bluffs and 41% of lone-parent families earn a median income of only $15,590 – half of Statistic Canada’s Low Income Cut-off for a family of 4. (Stats Can)

Over the past 3 years, food bank usage across Grey and Bruce Counties has increased by 92%, compared to the Canadian average of 26% since 2008. (United Way Bruce Grey Hunger Report 2015)

55.3% of those seeking housing assistance in Bruce County are at risk of being homeless. (Bruce County Long Term Housing Strategy, 2013-23)

1 in 6 children under age 18 live in poverty in Ontario. That is 18.8% of children under the age of 18 living in poverty (LIM-AT) (Stats Can, July 2016)

1 in 5 children under 6 live in poverty in Ontario. (Stats Can, July 2016)

1 in 7 families with children live in poverty in Ontario. Poverty rates differ greatly amongst different types of families. Among couples with children, 9.2% live in poverty, while the rate of lone parent families living in poverty is at 30.4%. This stark difference can be partially attributed to the gender pay wage gap in Ontario. (CANSIM 111-0011 Family characteristics, by family type, family composition and characteristics of parents, annual CANSIM)

LEARN MORE:
For more details of the Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force discussion see the full Official Submission from the January 13th meeting –  Poverty Task Force submission on Basic Income Pilot

To inform stakeholders and help guide the discussion, the Ontario government published the Discussion Paper Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income Pilot Ontario.

The Ontario government opened a Public Survey to explore new ways to deliver income support across the province.

The Ontario government held a series of in-person consultations across Ontario and has summarized the feedback on its website.

For more information, contact:
Jill Umbach
Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force (BGPTF)
Tel: 519-377-9406
Email: jill.umbach@gmail.com

Francesca Dobbyn,
United Way of Bruce Grey
519 376 1560
execdir@unitedwaybg.com

Basic Income Pilot Consultations

he members of the Income Security Action Group are encouraging all members of the Poverty Task Force to visit the Basic Income Pilot Consultation page of the Ontario Government.

In June 2016,  the Honourable Hugh Segal prepared a discussion paper, Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income Pilot for Ontario, which the governmnet is using as the starting point for this consultation.  There is a full report and an executive summary available.

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
Use this  basic-income-pilot-consultation_flyer_2016 to circulate to colleagues and people in the community to complete 2 surveys.
Most recently, members of the Income Security Action Group and Community Voices attended the Hamilton Consultation on the Pilot.  Read the basic-income-pilot-consultations_hamilton-summary from that meeting as prepared by the government.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!