Alvin Tedjo says he’d roll out basic income for all Ontarians if chosen as Ontario Liberal leader

By Roderick Benns

Alvin Tedjo says he’d roll out basic income for all Ontarians if chosen as Ontario Liberal leader

Liberal leadership candidate, Alvin Tedjo, says he would provide all Ontarians with Basic Income regardless of employment status. If elected premier, Basic Income would be implemented immediately.

Tedjo’s plan for Basic Income comes on the heels of his announcement last week which would see the Catholic and public school boards merged together under one roof.

Now, Tedjo has come forward and pledged his commitment to address another fundamental challenge — poverty and the changing economy.

“Ontario’s current social assistance program is expensive, bureaucratic and keeps people trapped in poverty,” said Tedjo. “Basic Income will fix those problems and help prepare us for the economy of the future.”

The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was brought forward to three communities by the previous Liberal government — Hamilton area, Thunder Bay area, and Lindsay. Lindsay had nearly 1,900 people who were signed up for basic income until the new PC government of Doug Ford summarily cancelled it despite promising it would be allowed to complete.

Conservative Hugh Segal Endorses

Hugh Segal, former senator and chief of staff to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Ontario Premier Bill Davis, endorsed Tedjo. (Segal was the key architect of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.)

“Alvin Tedjo brings the kind of intellect, laser focus on society’s real social and economic needs and, above all, political courage to make him a superb leader of any provincial political party seeking to govern Ontario with compassion, pragmatism and vision.”

In 2017, the previous Liberal government launched a pilot for Ontario Basic Income. In 2018, Doug Ford’s Conservatives broke their election promise and scrapped it, despite evidence that it was helping people to escape poverty.

“The pilot showed us that we can address poverty more efficiently and more affordably. I think it’s time to take Basic Income province-wide,” said Tedjo.

It’s recently been estimated that poverty costs Ontario’s economy, $33 billion per year. Tedjo’s plan for basic income, on the other hand, would cost $6 billion. It would provide every Ontarian between 18 and 64 access to a minimum monthly income from $16,989 per year for a single person to $24,027 per year for a couple less 50% any earned income.

“Basic income is an urgent economic need as well as an opportunity for Ontarians to grow the economy, take risks and pursue their potential in life,” said Floyd Marinescu, executive director of UBI Works and CEO of C4Media, who in 2018 organized 120 CEO’s to endorse Basic Income in Canada.

“Alvin Tedjo is the candidate who is promising to make it happen for Ontarians.”

Stagnant wages, the rise of the gig economy and automation are also changing the way people work and earn an income in Ontario. Basic Income would help Ontarians adapt to these changes by providing a new level of financial security.

“People used to work the same job for forty years and retire with a pension. That’s not the case anymore. People are changing careers more often, starting businesses, going back to school and taking on temporary work more and more frequently. As automation and AI play a bigger role in the economy, the pace of change will only increase. Basic Income can help pave over that uncertainty and ensure everyone benefits from and can contribute to a growing economy,” said Tedjo.

Key Facts

  • Poverty costs Ontario’s economy, $33 billion, cost of basic income in Ontario is $6 billion.
  • Tedjo’s plan for Basic Income includes:

○ $500 monthly top-up for persons with disabilities and continued drug & dental benefits

○ $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50% of any earned income

○ $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50% of any earned income

  • The plan would also replace and improve upon the current social assistance program
  • As a next step, the plan would see the development of a Dividend program to help Ontario adapt to the economy of the future

Tedjo is asking Ontarians to get involved by becoming a member of the Ontario Liberal Party before December 2 “to ensure we can win the Liberal leadership election and, in 2022, the Premier’s office.”

Tedjo will be touring the province over the next month to consult with Ontarians on his plans for a merged school system, Basic Income and Child Care.

About Alvin Tedjo

Tedjo was director of government relations at Sheridan College and senior policy advisor to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. He studied at Queen’s and Harvard universities. He previously served as vice president of the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare, advocating for children and families. He also founded Canadians for Paternity Leave, where he successfully pressured the federal government to increase paternity leave for Canadians. Learn more about him here.

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