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“Basic income was the right thing to do for so many of us. I’m not lazy and never have been."

Large majority of people on basic income reported less anxiety, depression

in Community/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

OBIP Chronicles — Nearly 88 per cent of respondents to a survey about the Ontario Basis Income Pilot say the program helped lessen the stress and anxiety that came with not having enough income to meet their needs.

The survey also shows that nearly 73 per cent of respondents felt less depressed than they previously did, prior to being eligible for basic income.

In comments made in the survey, Jennifer remembers she finally felt like she was a part of society, not isolated from it.

“I finally felt relieved not worrying on an everyday basis about rent, food, being able to go out for a tea when asked, to pay for uncovered meds needed, and I could sleep without anxiety,” she says.

“It was a feeling of confidence and self worth.”

Jennifer had worked her whole life since the age of 14, until she was diagnosed with a chronic, serious condition. Even afterwards, she still worked part time until working made her illness worse.

“So I was back to living with not enough money for rent,” and other things, she says. “Basic income was the right thing to do for so many of us. I’m not lazy and never have been. We shouldn’t be punished for something we have no control of.”

For Amber, the cancellation of basic income by the PC government meant a return to having regular stress-induced headaches.

“I had to fight to get more shifts at work that previously I had forgone,” she says, given she was trying to balance her work with school.

Her grades weren’t as good as she needed them to be, so she was trying to work a little bit less and was able to do that at first, when she was receiving the hand up of basic income. With the amount of shifts she had, there “wasn’t even time to sleep.”

The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was initiated by the Province in 2017 in three areas – Hamilton region, Thunder Bay area, and Lindsay. Four thousand people were involved, with 2,000 of them in Lindsay to see if there would be a community-wide effect, given the smaller population (20,000 people) of the Kawartha Lakes centre. It was set to run for three years. When the PC government was elected in the summer of 2018, it cancelled the program despite a campaign promise to allow it to continue, announcing that payments will only run until March of 2019.

–More to come

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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.

8 Comments

  1. Lied about basic income test, going to scrap the cell phone bill that finally made having a cell phone fair. And they are for the working person? What did you do PC voters? 4 years of this garbage government that only cares about wealthy people. Shame on them.

  2. You should not have voted for them if you needed your basic income to continue.You 905 area code cannot have your cake and eat it too. You know what the Conservative does.

  3. Basic income does not work. First, the government doesn’t owe anyone a cheque so they feel better about themselves. Second, who is paying for basic income, the taxpayer cannot support the program. The only way this works is if all government departments that cut benefit cheques are laid off and one office created, there’s no longer a need for all the other offices if basic income will be the only benefit available. That means massive lay-offs of unionized civil servants. Anyone think that any government is in a rush to do that? Anyone? Or, it will cost just Ontario taxpayers over seventeen billion a year and that cost will just escalte year after year.
    This program was put in place because the liberals were in for a nasty election and it was meant to assuage the public, had the Liberals not taxed the province so much for the last 15 years people would have been better off, now that they had to do something to look compassionate towards the less fortunate.

  4. by the time the Conservatives finish, you will be complaining unless you are rich.Conservatives are for the rich. Conservatives divide the country. All you small 905 area code who always voted Conservative stop complaining as i said before.Do you think things are going to to get better.The demographics are changing stop listening to your Parents and Grandparents. Vote from your heart. How does the Rich get richer off poor people.you should have Voted liberal are put them in a Minority Government .is not your money it belongs to me a taxpayer.move to Toronto you will find a job.why should Toronto pay those small 905 area code towns? Your town does not welcome Torontonians when we visit.why should you get our hard working tax paying dollars?

  5. It’s a proven fact that people that provide for themselves, work daily and produce something of value are healthier, less anxious, and less depressed. They can also have self respect and the respect of others as an added benefit.

  6. Basic Income should be given to all eligible Canadians. There is Child Benefit for children and Guaranteed Income for seniors. Why the gap? It doesn’t make sense to leave middle aged people to fend for themselves. There is a hole in the system that needs to be filled by Basic Income.

  7. I was at work when a co-worker was on her phone making arrangements for her mother to help her pick up a new bed and big screen TV with her basic income which she described as “not coming out of her pocket”This is exactly how this income is viewed by the recipients.

  8. The problem is the few that take advantage screw it up for everyone that truly appreciate the benefits of living a normal life.For people who make a normal full time with benefits job,just imagine getting an $800-$ 1200 raise and what you could do with it.Well for people who make between $700-1200 a month and pay for a decent have to buy food pay for a phone (which you need to have on OW)Rent for a decent apt is more than the months budget for food included.and all the little things like tooth paste soap ect is not in that.food banks give you a few days worth of food for a whole month so its not living or even surviving.making a $100 extra is like a lottery.You buy all of the little things like sugar or coffee,tylenol,sanitary items and hope youlle get more money before that runs out.With Odsp yes you get more but you also need extra items for your disability like needles for insulin for instance pills like tylenol or other meds.You may also need an apt with no stairs or on the 1st floor or large enough for a wheel chair or walker

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