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