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New report shows Ontario basic income pilot was on track for success

in Poverty Reduction by
34% found the basic income supported employment by affording transportation to work, child care or ability to start or expand a business.

The Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) today released a survey report, Signposts to Success, documenting the experiences of recipients in the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP). It provides compelling indicators of lives remarkably changed for the better. Responses from more than 400 recipients show that the pilot was working — enabling women and men to get and keep jobs, start businesses, pursue education and training, overcome barriers and improve health and well-being for themselves and their families.

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Court has ‘no authority’ to quash PC decision to cancel basic income; ruling has ‘no effect’ on possible class action lawsuit

in Poverty Reduction by
Class action lawsuit applicants Tracey Mechefske, Dana Bowman, Lawyer Mike Perry, Lindsay Advocate Publisher Roderick Benns, when the lawsuit was first announced.

It was not the kind of Valentine’s Day gift supporters of basic income were looking for.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Divisional Court says the court has no authority to force the PC government to continue funding the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program.

In their decision Justices Thorburn, Reid, and Myers write, that “the pilot program is a government funding decision…this court has no power to review the considerations which motivate a cabinet policy decision.”

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Basic income judicial review: A view from the gallery

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

Monday, January 28. Outside it’s bitterly cold, winds swirl, and an Alberta Clipper is expected to bring up to 20 cm of snow. In Osgoode Hall’s courtroom number three all is calm and well-ordered. Tiers of dark wood benches line the room below a vaulted ceiling and an elaborate chandelier.

But there’s an air of expectancy: Basic Income is having its long-awaited day in court, and not just any court, but the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The applicants are Dana Bowman, Grace Marie Doyle Hillion, Susan Lindsay, and Tracey Mechefske. Dana and Grace are in the gallery. They are being represented by Mike Perry, a qualified but not practicing lawyer. He’s dressed in robes borrowed from Lindsay lawyer Jason Ward. Mike is acting pro bono. All the other costs of bringing a case — filing fees, photocopying and printing, administrative support, expert fees and insurance — have been covered through a GoFundMe campaign launched last August. (As the hearing begins the amount raised sits at $9,770; the next day it will reach its $10,000 target, a total of 117 having made contributions).

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Basic income was helping with crushing cost of housing: Survey

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More than 58 per cent of people collecting basic income were trying to change their housing situation, according to a new survey.

OBIP Chronicles — Finding affordable housing in Ontario hasn’t been easy for decades. Finding it in Kawartha Lakes has been even more difficult of late, with the 2018 figures showing a 1.5 per cent vacancy rate, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC) 2018 fall report. A healthy vacancy rate is more like three per cent.

For people collecting basic income in Lindsay, Hamilton area, and Thunder Bay area, the pressures they were facing with housing costs were lessened with the new benefit they were receiving, although all of that is ending in March with the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.

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Poverty to hope and back again: Study reveals why basic income held such promise

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
Many participants were at extreme risk of homelessness before they enrolled in the Ontario pilot.

Study results from the Ontario Basic Income Pilot’s baseline survey have now been released, revealing the stories of participants who were hoping to break the cycle of poverty, find better jobs and opportunities, stabilize their housing, and improve their health and well-being.

The baseline survey was conducted by an arms-length, independent evaluation team led by St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Under the initial agreement signed by enrollees, the descriptive statistics were to be made available to pilot participants who requested the survey results (no personal information was included).

When entering the basic income pilot, a large majority (81 per cent of participants) were in moderate or severe psychological distress. Inadequate access to health care was also identified by many: 40 per cent had unmet health care needs (most often because of costs, such as for medication) and less than half of participants had visited a dentist in the year prior to joining the basic income pilot. Chronic pain, mental health illness and mobility challenges were some of the disabilities basic income enrollees listed.

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‘Worried’ and ‘betrayed’: 60 per cent had to cancel plans after basic income cancelled

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by
Kyle is in his 30s and he’s married with a new baby. He works 50 hours per week but still qualified for a basic income top-up.

OBIP Chronicles — More than 82 per cent of people who were receiving money through the Ontario Basic Income Pilot said they felt “worried” when they heard it was cancelled and another 76 per cent felt “betrayed.”

More than 1,500 of the 4,000 basic income pilot recipients agreed to help the Basic Income Canada Network and the Ontario Basic Income Network continue working for a basic income. BICN conducted a survey of those people. Well over 400 responses have already come back, representing more than 10 per cent of those receiving basic income in Ontario, allowing us to write this special series. The Lindsay Advocate, working in cooperation with BICN, is pleased to be the media partner highlighting these stories. Names have been changed to protect identities.

Jean, who is married with one child, says she had tried starting her own business with the additional income she was receiving.

“The company has not had enough time to get going…I had felt I had the Ontario Basic Income Program to back me, as I had been told I would,” she says in the survey.

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More than a third of basic income recipients went back to school: Survey

in Community/Education/Health/Poverty Reduction by
“I am forever grateful I was chosen to be a recipient, and I wish that one day all countries would adopt this method of caring for those who have less income."

OBIP Chronicles – More than 33 per cent of respondents to a survey about the Ontario Basis Income Pilot were going back to school to further their education.

Jenna, a woman in her 40s, says her partner was able to go back to school and their son was able to participate in activities that helps with his motor disorder.

“My partner felt previous problems returning,” after the basic income pilot’s cancellation she says in the survey. “We only received a very small amount of money, comparatively, but it made a huge difference.”

More than 1,500 of the 4,000 basic income pilot recipients agreed to help the Basic Income Canada Network and the Ontario Basic Income Network continue working for a basic income. BICN conducted a survey of those people. Well over 400 responses have already come back, representing more than 10 per cent of those receiving basic income in Ontario, allowing us to write this special series. The Lindsay Advocate, working in cooperation with BICN, is pleased to be the media partner highlighting these stories. Names have been changed to protect identities.

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Basic Income at Christmas was making life a bit more worth living

in Community/Health/Local News/Poverty Reduction by

OBIP Chronicles — As we approach the holidays, many people who are receiving basic income are, for the first time in a long time, able to buy gifts for loved ones or can afford to do activities with their kids.

Giving is not only good for the soul, as the saying goes, but also one’s physical and emotional health. The evidence is unassailable.

  • In his book Why Good Things Happen to Good People, Stephen Post, a professor of preventative medicine at Stony Brook University in the U.S., reports that giving to others can enhance health benefits in people who are coping with a chronic illness.
  • In a 2006 study by Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee, giving was shown to even improve physical health and longevity because it decreases stress. People who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than those in the study who didn’t, suggesting a direct physiological benefit to the power of giving.
  • Generosity is likely to be rewarded by others eventually, sometimes by the person you chose to give to, and sometimes by someone else. Several studies, including work by sociologists Brent Simpson and Robb Willer, have suggested that these exchanges promote a sense of trust and cooperation that strengthens our ties to others. In turn, these strengthened ties have been shown in research to spark positive social interactions, so imperative to good mental and physical health.

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Important new survey: The Ontario Basic Income Pilot chronicles

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After basic income, ‘rapid reinstatement’ back to previous program: Province

When the new Ontario government announced it was cancelling the basic income pilot, it threw many recipients into turmoil. It also dimmed hopes for research potential that had captured the interest of people across Canada and around the world.

Participants in the pilot and supporters of basic income are not going quietly away, however.

“Some recipients took the very courageous step of identifying themselves publicly in order for us all to better understand how much basic income was improving lives,” notes John Mills, a member of the Basic Income Canada Network (BICN) and the Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN), who organized media training for some of these individuals in Hamilton.

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