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1,000 Thunder Bay-area residents invited for Basic Income project

Some participants will get money, while others will be part of a control group
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Thunder Bay Marina
Thunder Bay Marina - photo by Jonathan Hendel

THUNDER BAY -- The Ontario government has begun mailing packages to potential Thunder Bay-area candidates for its new Basic Income Pilot Project.

The three-year project, also being tested in Hamilton and Lindsay, will determine whether a basic income can better support vulnerable workers and improve health and education outcomes for people on low incomes.

According to a government announcement in April, a separate project is being created for First Nations communities in collaboration with First Nations partners.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services says application packages are currently being sent to randomly-selected residents of Thunder Bay and several outlying townships. The ministry says it’s using an automated selection system to ensure the process is ethical and fair.

Recipients have four weeks to respond, and participation is voluntary.

To be eligible, clients must have lived in the area for the past year, be 18 to 64 years old, and earn less than $34,000 for a single person or $48,000 for a couple.

The scheme will use a tax credit model to ensure participants receive up to about $17,000 annually for a single person, less 50 per cent of any earned income. A couple will receive up to $24,000, minus half of any earned income.

But not everyone will necessarily get payments.

Some will be part of a control group made up of people who will receive no payments. Over the length of the project, outcomes for individuals getting money will be compared with outcomes for those in the control group.

Up to 1,000 of the 4,000 participants across Ontario will be residents of the Thunder Bay area.

A third-party research group will evaluate the results based on:

  • food security
  • stress and anxiety
  • mental health
  • health and healthcare usage
  • housing stability
  • education and training
  • employment and labour market participation

A community information meeting about the project and the application process will be held in Thunder Bay on June 29.