Wanted: 2,000 people from Lindsay who need a better income

By Roderick Benns

Wanted: 2,000 people from Lindsay who need a better income
Minister of Poverty Reduction and Housing, Peter Milczyn, with Lindsay Advocate Publisher, Roderick Benns.

If you live in Lindsay and you’re finding it difficult to make ends meet, you owe it to yourself to sign up for basic income.

There’s still time.

It doesn’t matter if you’re on Ontario Works, ODSP, or you have a job and you’re just not making enough. You might even be a start-up business owner. But for whatever reason, you’re not making enough to get by — and you need a better income.

Right now the Ontario government is holding open sessions for people to sign up for basic income throughout December and January.

The Province has made it very simple to register now. All you have to do is follow this link and sign up for a session. They’re always held at either Celebrations (the old Queen Street United Church) or in the basement of Kawartha Lakes Public Library.

Lindsay is fortunate, given that’s it’s one of just three pilot test sites in Ontario that will have a basic income guarantee for the next three years after signing up. (The other two are Thunder Bay and Hamilton and Brant County.)

Out of the 4,000 people the government will allow to apply, 1,000 will be from Thunder Bay, 1,000 from Hamilton and Brant County, but 2,000 people will be from Lindsay – even though it’s the smallest.

That’s because the Province is interested in seeing if a better income will not only improve the lives of individuals, but also the community itself.

But right now, the last time we checked, there were only 794 people who had signed up for basic income across Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton area.

It’s time to change that.

Right now, some of you out there are literally leaving money behind that could be helpful for you and your family.

So spread the word.

In order to participate in the pilot, individuals must be:

  • 18 to 64 years old (for the entire duration of the three-year study)
  • living in one of the selected test regions (like Lindsay) for the past 12 months or longer (and still live there)
  • 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)

New Opportunity

The last time the poverty reduction minister was in town, Peter Milczyn, I sat down with him to talk about basic income in Lindsay.

Milczyn said if there was one thing he wanted to communicate very clearly to Lindsay residents it’s that the basic income pilot is “designed to assist people who find themselves with a low income for any reason.”

“That could be because their job doesn’t pay enough, or maybe they’re on Ontario Works or disability.”

He said with basic income acting as an income floor, people might choose to go back to school, look for better work, or maybe they’re just frustrated on income assistance because so much money gets clawed back.

“They see this as a new opportunity,” the poverty reduction minister said.

Are there not 2,000 people in Lindsay who need a better income?

I’m sure there are.

So come on Lindsay – spread the word. Let’s take advantage of this incredible opportunity.

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