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Enrolment completed for Ontario basic income project

Three-year pilot includes Thunder Bay participants

THUNDER BAY -- The Ministry of Community and Social Services says it has successfully completed the enrolment phase of Ontario's basic income pilot project.

In a news release Tuesday, the ministry said it had enrolled over 4,000 people in the pilot in three locations across the province including Thunder Bay and area, Hamilton/Brantford and Brant County, and Lindsay.

Single persons will receive up to $17,000 a year, less 50 per cent of any earned income. Couples will receive up to $24,000 a year, less 50 per cent of any earned income.

An additional 2,000 individuals will participate in a comparison group, and will not receive any monthly basic income payments but will take part in the research study.

The goal is to determine how a basic income might expand opportunities and job prospects while providing more security for those living on low incomes.

The ministry said the pilot is being recognized internationally "for its leadership and innovation" including being a finalist in Fast Company magazine's World Changing Ideas Awards for 2018.

It was one of 33 international entries chosen for final judging in the General Excellence category, but was not selected as the winner. Fast Company bills itself as a leading "progressive business" media brand, with an editorial focus on innovation in technology, leadership, world changing ideas and design.

An advisory committee led by Kwame McKenzie, CEO of Toronto's Wellesley Institute, is monitoring the basic income project for rigour and integrity.

A third-party research group—led by researchers, experts and academics from St. Michael's Hospital and McMaster University—will independently evaluate the results.