Kawartha Lakes' Finest Magazine

Need money? Still time to apply as Ontario Basic Income Pilot picks up steam

in Community/Social Issues by

The new and innovative social program that Ontario is testing in Lindsay and two other Ontario centres – a ‘basic income guarantee’ — is surging in participant numbers.

According to Ministry spokesperson, Matt Ostergard, the Advocate has learned that as of the end of January there were 2,544 participants across the three pilot locations of Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton and Brant County.

The Province is looking for those numbers to be capped at 4,000 participants, meaning there is less than 1,500 people left to sign up. However, 2,000 of those participants will be from Lindsay, making it the linchpin in studying how receiving a higher income will affect people’s lives and the community as a whole.

If you live in Lindsay and have been living here for at least the past 12 months, you may be eligible – even if you already have a job or own your own business. As well, you must be:

  • 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
  • living on a low income (under $34,000 per year if you’re single or under $48,000 per year if you’re a couple)

If you are interested in signing up for basic income, just follow this link to easily sign up for a session. The sessions in Lindsay are always held at either Celebrations (the old Queen Street United Church) or in the basement of Kawartha Lakes Public Library.

So far, about 70 per cent of applicants have been low income workers, with only about 30 per cent on disability or Ontario Works.

A basic income ensures that everyone can meet basic needs and live with dignity regardless of their work status.

It is unconditional income from government sent directly to individuals, providing:

  • financial security;
  • freedom to decide how to best spend your own time and money;
  • a foundation for health, wellbeing and a better life.

Did You Know?

  • Among rich countries, Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden have the lowest income inequality and fewest health and social problems.
  • The United States is the most unequal with the most problems and Canada and France are in the middle.
  •  According to the Economist, global wealth grew from $117 trillion in 2000 to $262 trillion in 2014. The richest 20 per cent now have 94.5 per cent of all the wealth in the world

— with files from the Basic Income Canada Network.

Roderick Benns is the publisher of The Lindsay Advocate. He is the author of 'Basic Income: How a Canadian Movement Could Change the World,' and is also on the communications team of the Basic Income Canada Network. An award-winning author and journalist who grew up in Lindsay, Roderick has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Canada, Senators, and Mayors across Canada. He also wrote and published a series of books for youth about Canada's Prime Ministers as teens.


  1. Lindsay Advocate you are doing an amazing job of sharing information on this pilot. Your articles are always so well written and provide relevant/excellent information. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  2. Aisha, we appreciate you taking the time to write to tell us so! Thanks for your great efforts with our local health unit, too, and the many others who works there, for keeping awareness of Basic Income up. We honestly believe we will build a healthier community by working together.

    • so when does the small communities start getting this help…it’s not fare that 3 city’s get it and not us….poverty is everywhere …don’t they think we want our dignity and to be able to live decent without worry…

      • Hi Darin, There are small communities involved in this pilot project. Hamilton and Thunder Bay are larger, but Lindsay is small and there are also some villages involved outside of Hamilton and Thunder Bay. However, we hear what you’re saying and agree with you. In our view, this should be a Province-wide, even Nation-wide program. We will keep advocating for this policy to be available everywhere.

  3. i wanted to leave a brief comment about the basic-income pilot going on in linsday.I wanted juat say that my wife and i are struggling she isint able to work due to her health and im only able to work pt due to my own health issues.We went to a basic income interview and had all our imformation in order we were just finishing up when the agent informed us that we were $2000.00 over the limit of a couple.We did our total updated material and it came in under the $48000.00 income limit but according to him we didnt qualify even though our numbers didnt match his i still dont understand this program . we arnt looking for a handout but when you struggle to afford medication and high rent you struggle but it seems to be given to people who are in the position to inprove there lives and not to others who really do need the help and dignity to live in these very hard times.

    thank-you and keep up the good work on lindsay area.

  4. I would like to comment on the Basic Income Pilot. They base your eligibility on your 2016 income tax return. A lot has happened to me since 2016 and I am injured and unable to work. My husband is on EI sick benefits after having heart surgery. We are living on 1,820.00 per month but we do not meet the requirements because they are basing it on 2016 when we both worked full time. Welfare can’t help and ODSP will be able to help me but not until my husband gets back to work. The reason being that they deduct EI dollar for dollar If you work the first $250.00 doesn’t count and your wages are based on 50% so we will qualify for ODSP and hopefully my CPP disability claim will be approved. My question is What resources are available to people in my situation? Is there something out there that I am not aware of? I was told by a social worker to go to the Ontario Basic Income pilot meeting because there are exceptions to every rule. I was there for 8 hours talking to 4 different people to be handed back all my paperwork and told sorry we have to use your income from 2016. It was interesting sitting there listening to others stories and hearing someone who would be over 64 before the end of the pilot so sorry we can’t help you. Never imagined I would work all my life to end up in this situation.

  5. Allie, all we can say is that we agree with you that it would be much better if the Province had created more precise ways to ascertain someone’s income. Using only the tax returns is a ‘blunt instrument’ for something that really requires far more precision. As your example demonstrates, things can change quickly — people’s fortunes rise and fall — and there should be a way (at least quarterly) to declare these changes and have it documented in the system. We’re sorry to hear you didn’t make the pilot. We will continue to advocate for a basic income for all Canadians — one that is flexible, fair, and responsive to people’s needs.

  6. Will this become Province wide? How long till they decide if (that) this works? Is there are time limit?

    Making poor people stay poor for benefits is just antiquated punishment and I am glad to see Canada is at least opening up to the idea that maybe poor people have so many problems and are so stuck because they can’t get up when crucial medication benefits are contingent on staying poor!

  7. Hi Aaron: We certainly hope the basic income pilot will become Province-wide…indeed, Canada-wide! They are going to take 3 years to do the pilot.

    As results come out along the way, it’s our hope that the results will show how badly this is needed for all Ontarians, all Canadians.

  8. Hi every one I follow the whole basic income story since last year January that’s a brilliant idea the best for the poor and unemployed I would like this in South Africa we live in very poor conditions

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