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City to encourage conversation about basic income  

in Federal/Municipal by
The Ontario Basic Income Pilot was cut short when Premier Doug Ford's Conservatives were elected in 2018. Photo: Roderick Benns.

In a contested and close vote, Kawartha Lakes council approved a motion by Councillor Doug Elmslie to send letters to Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock member of parliament, Jamie Schmale, and federal finance minister Chrystia Freeland to encourage a meaningful discussion between Ottawa and the provinces on the issue of a universal basic income.

Universal basic income, or basic income for short, ensures everyone has sufficient income to meet basic needs and live with dignity. Basic income, in Canada, would look similar to the Canada Child Benefit. That is, as wages increase the benefit declines, but it declines progressively – not dollar for dollar.

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Hungry in Kawartha Lakes

in Social Issues by
Neil Couch first visited a food bank in Kawartha Lakes in 2011 during an especially challenging year. Photo: Sienna Frost.

Forty years after the first Canadian food bank opened its doors, Kawartha Lakes Food Source leader says the root causes of food bank use are still with us

Neil Couch first visited a food bank in 2011. A particularly challenging divorce that year had left him homeless, living at A Place Called Home.

He’d had a colourful life. After returning from active duty in the Canadian Armed Forces between 1986 and 1994, Couch found himself struggling with PTSD and turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with his anxiety and night terrors. As a master corporal, he was based out of West Germany, and had done tours in Somalia, Cyprus and Afghanistan.

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Journey of homelessness, poor mental health, leaves man regretting checkered life

in Health/Social Issues by
Journey of homelessness, poor mental health, leaves man regretting checkered life

Gaston Tremblay remembers camping and fishing in Kawartha Lakes and surrounding areas with his family twice a year in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was a peaceful and tragically short time of his life.

He tried three times over the years to get back here, where he believed things might be better for him. By the time he was 14, though, his then-undiagnosed mental health issues sent him on another path — to his first stay in a psychiatric ward.

Afterwards he found himself homeless and on the streets across Canada, an anguished journey that would last more than 18 years and cost him nearly everything he held dear.

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Province keeps municipalities guessing: Is paramedic funding down or up?

in Municipal/Provincial by
Province keeps municipalities guessing: Is paramedic funding down or up?
Photo courtesy of City of Kawartha Lakes.

It hasn’t been easy for municipalities to get a handle on this current provincial government when it comes to funding, whether for paramedic services, childcare, Ontario Works, and more.

Communication has been unclear and sometimes contradictory. The Province has sent mixed signals on cuts, promising to slay a deficit that grew under two previous Liberal governments, solely by cutting “red tape.” At the same time they’ve promised to avoid the kinds of egregious cuts made by Ontario Conservatives in the Mike Harris years.

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Food Source: Province should change course on social assistance reforms

in Provincial/Social Issues by
Local businesses concerned for those less fortunate in wake of COVID-19
Within Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Northumberland County 13.5% of households are food insecure.

Kawartha Lakes Food Source is calling for several changes to the Province’s social assistance reforms — including retaining the current definition of ‘disability’ in Ontario.

In April 2019, Feed Ontario released a report forecasting the impact of the Government of Ontario’s proposed reforms to social assistance and put forth three key recommendations for change — recommendations Food Source is in full agreement with, as outlined in a recent press release.

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After basic income, ‘rapid reinstatement’ back to previous program: Province

in Community/Social Issues by
After basic income, ‘rapid reinstatement’ back to previous program: Province

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.

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Don’t leave ‘free money’ on the table: Still about 1,200 spots left for basic income

in Around Town/Community/Social Issues by
Don’t leave ‘free money’ on the table: Still about 1,200 spots left for basic income

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.

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Majority of basic income applicants continue to be low income workers

in Around Town/Community/Social Issues by
The government is looking for 2,000 people from Lindsay to become basic income applicants and start receiving more income. (Photo: Jerry Holder.)

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.

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‘We’re hoping it will transform lives’: Poverty reduction minister in Lindsay

in Around Town/Community/Social Issues by
‘We're hoping it will transform lives’: Poverty reduction minister in Lindsay
Minister of Poverty Reduction Peter Milczyn. Celebrations, top right, Kawartha Lakes Public Library, bottom right, sites of open basic income sign-ups.

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.

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Basic income support from Lindsay employment agency, VCCS

in Social Issues by
Basic income support from Lindsay employment agency, VCCS

The leader of one of Lindsay’s key employment agencies, Carol Timlin of Victoria County Career Services (VCCS), says the basic income pilot is a fantastic opportunity for Lindsay.

Basic income support from Lindsay employment agency, VCCSExecutive Director Carol Timlin says part of their role at VCCS is to show people how to leverage the skills they have, and to steer them toward picking up new skills. She says that should become easier with a basic income as a financial floor to draw upon when necessary.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m pleased the pilot is here,” Timlin tells The Lindsay Advocate.

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