Unanswered Questions about Basic Income

October 10, 2017

From a Hamilton Community Legal Clinic blogpost: Lots of unanswered questions.

That is what has come out the Ontario government's Basic Income Pilot project to date.

Yesterday the province held a media event in Hamilton to provide an update on the project.

One area that they haven't figured out yet is the issue of basic income recipients being subjected to garnishments. They had no answers at the morning media event. (Read a CBC report on the event at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/basic-income-cheques-going-to-400-households-as-project-gets-off-to-slow-start-1.4329212 )

Later in the day when pressed on it during question period Premier Wynne, had no answers either.

Hamilton MPP Paul Miller (pictured to the right) wanted the Premier to commit to resolving the garnishment issue. Miller referenced a position taken by the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction (HRPR) earlier in the day.

The HRPR will not be making any further referrals to the basic income application sessions until they clarify whether basic income is subject to garnishment.

"We've become concerned that unlike OW or ODSP, participants in the basic income pilot could have their incomes garnished from creditors. This is particularly concerning for OW or ODSP recipients who may owe money to landlords, payday loan companies or other collection agencies," said Tom Cooper, the Roundtable Director.

Perhaps a bigger question posed by Miller was as a follow up. What about the larger issue of social assistance reform, and why the province is stalling on Bill 6, An Act to amend the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act to establish the Social Assistance Research Commission?

No answer to that one either.

You can read Miller's questions and the Premier's response below.

Read more: Unanswered Questions about Basic Income