Survey results from basic income project reveal housing, mental health struggles

January 23, 2019

Just days before a legal challenge of the cancelled basic income pilot project goes to court, data from a survey examining the lives of the participants at the start of the program shows the intense stress many of them were living under every single day.

The data was pulled from a questionnaire conducted for the province by St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and released Tuesday by the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

It offers a snapshot into the living conditions of the program's 4,000 residents from Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay when they signed up for basic income.

"It reinforced just how desperate many people's housing situations were," said Tom Cooper, director of the roundtable.

Under the program, recipients were to receive a maximum of $16,989 per year regardless of their employment status. People in the program said basic income helped their health, self-esteem and employment prospects.

But not long after taking office, the PC government announced it would cut the program, with the last cheques going out in March.

Premier Doug Ford said the pilot was too expensive, adding the best way out of poverty is "something called a job."

Here are some snapshots from the survey data in Hamilton:

33% of participants employed

According to the survey, 33 per cent of respondents said they were currently employed, compared to 20 per cent who were unemployed, and 47 per cent who were "not in the labour force."


The distinction here is "unemployed" means people who looked for work in the last four weeks or were on a temporary layoff.

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