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Ontario Basic Income Pilot Study Begins

Web posted on October 05, 2017

Four hundred people from Hamilton, Brantford, Brant County and Thunder Bay and the surrounding area will be receiving a basic income this month as part of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP), giving them the chance to expand their opportunities and job prospects while providing greater security for themselves and their families.

The three-year pilot is taking place in three sites: Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County; Thunder Bay (including Oliver Paipoonge, Shuniah, Neebing, Conmee, O'Connor and Gillies); and Lindsay.

The Ontario Basic Income Pilot will be the largest study of its kind in North America with 4,000 participants at full enrollment.

The first basic income payments were made on July 25, 2017. Ontario Basic Income Pilot payments are made on or around the 25th of each month. Participants could receive up to $16,989 per year for a single person, up to $24,027 for a couple and up to an additional $6,000 per year for a person with a disability.

Enrollment in the first two pilot sites began this June with the mailing of application packages to random households in Hamilton, Brantford, Brant County and Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. Enrollment in the Lindsay pilot will begin next week. People interested in learning more about this pilot should contact

Launched in the spring of this year, the three-year, 4,000-participant pilot is testing whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers, improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes, and help ensure that everyone shares in Ontario's economic growth.

Progress so far includes:

  • This month 400 people will receive a basic income payment, with more applications currently being processed. Enrollment in Lindsay will begin next week.

  • Establishing a Minister's Advisory Council, led by Susan McIsaac, former President & CEO of United Way Toronto and York Region, which will provide advice and recommendations to the government to achieve successful delivery of the pilot.

  • Striking a Research and Evaluation Advisory Committee, led by Dr. Kwame McKenzie, CEO of the Wellesley Institute and Special Advisor to the Ontario Basic Income Pilot, which will provide advice and recommendations on the evaluation of the pilot.

  • Selecting a team of leading researchers, experts and academics led by St. Michael's Hospital and McMaster University to evaluate the pilot.

As part of the next phase of the pilot, engagement will continue with First Nations and Provincial and Territorial Organizations on a First Nations Basic Income Pilot.

"We are one step closer today to learning whether a basic income will be a better way to support those who need it most by allowing them to make ends meet and make decisions about their future while also improving their physical and mental health, and making them better able to participate in their community." Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Community and Social Services.

Ontario's economy is in a relatively strong position, however many people in the province are not feeling that growth in their everyday lives. People are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living and facing "precarious employment" with little job security or benefits.

Ensuring everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.