With only four days to go to sign up for the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, a Provincial spokesperson says recipients of basic income shouldn’t feel there will be a hassle in returning to their previous program, such as Ontario Works or disability.
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.
As basic income enrollments continue in Lindsay and two other Ontario cities, one key trend seems to be emerging – the so-called ‘working poor’ are the majority of applicants who are flocking to the Province’s new Ontario pilot.
Jasmine Bellwood is a young Lindsay mother with a part-time job and full-time worries. Her worries are mainly about providing for her 15-month-old son.
She’s also anxious about doing this brief interview but then relents when The Lindsay Advocate offers to change her name.
The Province is encouraging people in Lindsay who may be in need of a basic income guarantee for the next three years to call or email so they can enroll.
Kristen Tedesco, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Community and Social Services, says throughout October the government has been holding “in-person enrollment sessions in Lindsay.”
This has been mainly for people who had identified an interest when the Province had a booth set up at the Lindsay Exhibition in late September.
The Ontario basic income pilot is a critical, “watershed event” for Lindsay, says City of Kawartha Lakes Councillor Doug Elmslie.
Elmslie, who is well-known on council for his support of various anti-poverty initiatives, says he sees an opportunity with this new initiative to really make substantive changes in how we tackle poverty.
The Ontario Basic Income Network (OBIN) is in town this week and has organized a free public discussion on basic income this Friday, Nov. 3 — but it won’t be at Fleming College’s Frost Campus in Lindsay after all, because of the protracted strike.
Instead, it will be at Celebrations, at 35 Lindsay St. N., the former Cambridge Street United Church, from 3:30-5:30 pm. Registration opens at 3 pm.
Have jobs, will train. One of the Lindsay area’s largest private employers, Mariposa Dairy, is having trouble finding committed employees who want to work a full five days a week – at least in the 18-35 age bracket.
Bruce Vandenberg, owner of Mariposa Dairy along with his wife, Sharon, estimates that 30-40 per cent of the younger people they hire as general labourers don’t work out, mainly because of “misplaced priorities,” according to Vandenberg.
Enrollment in Ontario’s basic income pilot gets underway in Lindsay next week.
In-person enrollment sessions will begin Oct. 12-13 where people can complete applications to be part of the pilot.
Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek, was in Lindsay this week touring and visited A Place Called Home, a 19-bed hostel for homeless single adults, couples and families with children. Jaczek spoke with staff and individuals there, about how they could benefit from the pilot. A Place Called Home is one of the community organizations that is supporting the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.