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Don’t leave ‘free money’ on the table: Still about 1,200 spots left for basic income

Don’t leave ‘free money’ on the table: Still about 1,200 spots left for basic income

in Around Town/Community/Poverty Reduction by

In the three cities in Ontario where basic income is being tested – which includes Lindsay – there are still about 1,200 open spots for lower income people.

If you’re working or own your own business but just not earning enough, or if you’re on Ontario Works or disability, you might be eligible.

Potential basic income recipients must live in Lindsay and have been living there for at least the past 12 months. As well, you must be:

  • 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
  • living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if you’re single or under $48,000 per year if you’re a couple)

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made since we first launched the Ontario Basic Income Pilot last spring,” Ministry spokesperson, Matt Ostergard, tells The Lindsay Advocate.

As of the end of February, a total of 2,783 people have been enrolled in the basic income pilot across the locations of Lindsay, Hamilton and Brant County, and Thunder Bay.

The Province is looking for those numbers to be capped at 4,000 participants, meaning there is about 1,200 people left to sign up.

“We are on well on our way to reaching full enrollment of participants as we approach the first anniversary of the launch of the pilot,” says Ostergard.

He was not able to provide a further breakdown by individual city at this time but says there’s still time to sign up to be part of the study.

“We’re still holding in-person enrollment sessions in all three communities,” including Lindsay, he says.

“We encourage anyone living in Lindsay who thinks they are eligible to apply now or to encourage their family and friends to apply.”

A parallel pilot about basic income was supposed to happen somewhere in Ontario for indigenous people, but Ostergard says only that “discussions with First Nation partners are ongoing.”

Basic Income Pilot

The government pilot wants to test how a basic income might help people living on low incomes better meet their basic needs, while hoping to see improvements in:

  • food security
  • stress and anxiety
  • mental health
  • health and healthcare usage
  • housing stability
  • education and training
  • employment and labour market participation

To sign up for basic income, just visit the Ontario Basic Income Pilot website and register for an in-person session.

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also Vice Chair of the Ontario Basic Income Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.


  1. I don’t understand why they cut the age off at 65 to be eligible for this as there are a lot of seniors out there living below or at the poverty level who could also benefit from this. Look at the seniors 65 and older still having to work beyond retirement age just to make ends meet.

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