Sir Sandford Fleming College President Tony Tilly says the upcoming basic income pilot in Lindsay is “exciting” – and he will be keeping an eye on Frost Campus’ enrollment numbers to see if they increase during the trial.
Tilly says a research-based pilot project is something he supports for the town, because what we’re doing as a society right now to address poverty “is clearly not working.”
“I find the idea of the pilot exciting because we need to move beyond our current means of trying to address poverty.”
Tilly says one of Fleming’s considerations during the pilot is whether enrollment numbers will grow for Frost campus.
The college president says he often talks with his peers about the barriers to post-secondary education.
“Certainly one is financial, so moving ahead in this regard helps remove a key barrier” if someone feels they have a decent foundation, he says.
The president says that Sir Sandford Fleming College is the premier college destination in the province of Ontario. That is, there are a higher percentage of people – 55 per cent — who relocate from elsewhere in the province who attend Fleming for its specialized programs, compared to any other college in the province.
He says the main reason for this is Frost Campus in Lindsay. Frost began with only a unique forestry program, but it has since ballooned to 30 programs, including its Fish and Wildlife technician program, and the GIS program (Geographic Information System. If only Frost Campus was considered in Fleming’s numbers, it would indicate about 80 per cent relocate from elsewhere in Ontario to attend.
“It’s a conduit for other people in the province,” says Tilly.
“That type of mobility is good for the province and good for us.”
The college president wonders what the pilot will show at the end of the three years.
“What are the impacts on people’s lives? How does it change their actions, what new opportunities are then available?” he asks.
Out of the 4,000 participants, who will be invited to participate in the Ontario basic income pilot, 1,000 will be from the Hamilton/Brantford area and another 1,000 will be from Thunder Bay.
However, 2,000 participants will be invited from Lindsay this fall, making it a vital part of the pilot to test behaviours, work patterns, health and mental health outcomes, housing stability, educational attainment, and how the community as a whole may benefit.
Given Lindsay’s population is about 20,000, this represents about 10 percent of the population.