Intent to file class action lawsuit sparked in Lindsay over Basic Income cancellation

By Lindsay Advocate

From Left to Right: Tracey Mechefske, Dana Bowman, plaintiffs, Mike Perry, lawyer, Roderick Benns, publisher of the Advocate.

The fight for basic income has moved to the courts. An intent to file a class action lawsuit against the Province for its cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot has been filed by several parties in Lindsay.

Mike Perry, a lawyer and social worker acting on behalf of the plaintiffs, notes the intent to file is for “anticipatory breach of contract, negligence, and misfeasance in public office” for the Ford government’s abrupt cancellation of the pilot program.

The parties involved – Dana Bowman, Grace Marie Doyle Hillion, Susan Lindsay, and Tracey Mechefske — represent the approximately 2,000 people in Lindsay and 4,000 in total, across Ontario, who were receiving some level of basic income. At a press conference hosted by The Lindsay Advocate at the Days Inn and Suites in Lindsay, they allege the Province knew “the period of the research study was stated and known as three years,” according to papers filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

As well, according to the Notice of Action for the class action intent, “the Defendant’s decision to cancel the basic income pilot project research study has caused direct, significant harm to the Plaintiffs and all members of the intended class, which the Defendant could reasonably have foreseen.”

Bowman, one of the plaintiffs involved, says this action will allow her voice “to be heard.”

“More dialogue is needed to break the stigma of low income and poverty,” says Bowman.

She says for her, she also thinks of the Dylan Thomas poem and its famous line – “Do not go gentle into that good night” because this is chance to fight for a worthy cause.

“The test pilot is shining a bright light on the important need of a possible solution to poverty,” says Bowman, whose own life has been made better through basic income.

As the Advocate reported before, Bowman notes the extra $1,000 a month has allowed her to visit her grandkids in Minden more often, and take care of herself better.

Above all, though, she says there was more dignity in being on basic income.

The government pilot was set up to test how a basic income might help people living on low incomes better meet their basic needs, while hoping to see improvements in:

  • food security
  • stress and anxiety
  • mental health
  • health and healthcare usage
  • housing stability
  • education and training
  • employment and labour market participation

While Perry is doing this work pro bono, a Go Fund Me campaign will be started to help with all the fees associated with this challenge, from filing fees, to transportation costs, and more. An email has also been set up for more information at 


  1. Joan Abernethy says:

    Increased dignity is maybe the greatest advantage of guaranteed income law. Provincial welfare programs violate the privacy and human rights of the poor.

    The welfare bureaucracy needs a growing underclass to survive inflation. That is not the fault of the bureaucrats who administer social services. It is a systemic problem.

    Some complained the pilot unnecessarily excluded deserving poor, that recipients were chosen for political reasons. That would have been relied on to challenge the validity and reliability of the study results.

    Some critics also said the pilot was too small, that its data could not reliably generalize to the target population of Canada’s poor.

    The Manitoba study, data from the WHO and Eggleton and Segal’s report “In From the Margins” provide more than enough data to support presenting a bill to parliament for federal guaranteed income legislation.

    A lawsuit may get its plaintiffs some limited damages but it will not aid the cause of guaranteed income legislation in Canada. In the end, it will benefit only the broken system that includes the administration of justice.

    Petition Trudeau to put forth legislation to guarantee income in Canada so our most vulnerable no longer need homeless shelters or food banks.

    Let’s cut to the chase!

    (BTW, much better photo than KLTW.)

  2. Trina Hill says:

    I need to know whom to get in contact with to figure out if I will be homeless as well. I am on the pilot program and had finally started to feel my self-esteem rise high
    I am able to pay my bills and rent and afford food and have a little left over to pay off my student loan so I am able to go back to school and feel whole again . With the broken promises that have arised I am deeply concerned not just for myself but for the rest of pilot clients .. we deserve something for the contract we all signed for a 3 year term and have had this contract destroyed by our government , whom we are supposed to trust and believe their words . unfortunately I have lost hope and have lost my happiness I finally thought I deserved. I will be standing by everyone who is suing and we shall not stand alone .there was a difference being made .less people using the food banks.being able to do the same things a person does on a daily basis,like affording to take the bus.affording groceries and bill payments.feeling relaxed and having no worries .then “BAM” We get hit with a broken promise by our government .which I found out watching the news. This is sad and I will not give up. We deserve a chance at a life to

  3. Mike Atkins says:

    I just want to say that the pilot program has made my life a lot better i am able to live comfortably on my own without having to have a stranger move into my home to help pay my rent. I have been able to buy new close instead of going to places and get free clothing or second hand clothing from value village. My self-esteem and confidence in my self has rising greatly. I feel the way of life was giving back to me and know they want to rip that away. I will be standing by everyone who is suing because we should not have to stand alone.

  4. […] week I shared the media reaction to the cancellation of Ontario’s UBI pilot: now there is also a class action against that […]

  5. lot says:

    Mr. Perry,
    You must know that the Pilot Project was created by the government. The government can cancel any program they want to at any time.
    Remember all ODSP/OW clients live off Canadian tax payers money. So, it’s really not there hard earned money they are working for. It’s mine.
    So, how does a lawyer who will make money from the government ( tax payers) get to file a lawsuit. My government of money that was given to them for free by my government.

    Listen I get we all need help from time to time. At some point you have to get off your lazy ass and work for the money that you are receiving. We all have to work and no free rides here.
    The government can do what the hell they like. They cancelled my program and I’m out of work… it happens.
    So my question to you is how can you file a lawsuit to the poor for the poor when the government created this program? They didn’t have this money before. If you need ODSP/OW you need to work to sub your income. We are all doing it, so why are the poor indifferent.

    I will tell you this.. welfare was only put in after the war to help out not for 6 and 8 generations to live off. These people need to work and stop whinny.

    What do you gain from this lawsuit. I can’t imagine the amount of money being spent on lawyer’s fee’s.
    I agree with Mr. MacLeod, and this needs to stop. How can ODSP client’s start a class action suit without any documents. It was to see what will happen on the pilot program. That’s what a pilot project is. I am working on a pilot project under Cap and trade. I’m out of work in December.

    The government has no time for the poor, if they did something would have been done years ago.

    This lawsuit is again a waste of money. You lawyers are good at taking tax payers for granted. Everything is a lawsuit today. Every single situation.
    I am rather sick of it and it won’t go anywhere, Mr. Ford will stop that.
    Ms. Sedgwick

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