Skip to main content

Globe editorial: Cancellation of Ontario’s basic-income project is callous and wasteful

The unexpected decision by Ontario Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod to cancel a year-old pilot project that gives low-income people a guaranteed basic income can be described in many terms.

Deceitful, because the Progressive Conservatives promised during the election campaign that their party, under Leader Doug Ford, would continue the project.

Callous, because the 4,000 participants were told it would run for two more years and built their lives around that expectation. These vulnerable people have been played for suckers by Ms. MacLeod and her boss.

Story continues below advertisement

Anti-scientific, because this was a valuable research project. It included 2,000 low-income Ontarians who agreed to not receive the basic income supplement but still report on their lives, thereby serving as a control group.

Wasteful, because the project was to cost about $50-million a year, which means Ms. MacLeod has thrown the first year’s instalment, along with any research it might have produced, into the garbage.

Vindictive, because that seems to be the operating principle of this government to date. Ms. MacLeod has given no justification for her decision, other than to say she is undertaking a 100-day review of Ontario’s social-assistance system.

But that review feels rigged. It includes an investigation into the minister’s unproven claim that there have been “hundreds of millions of dollars” in fraudulent welfare payments. And Ms. MacLeod has already said that all that is required to “restore dignity” in people who need social assistance is to find them a job. In fact, 70 per cent of the people in the pilot project have jobs, according to the government. And yet they still don’t earn enough to feed their families, pay their rent or complete their education.

Ms. MacLeod should let the pilot project continue for at least one more year, out of fairness to the participants and in order to reap the benefits of the research. Is she willing to open her mind to the inconvenient possibility that the simple fact of having a job doesn’t always pull a person out of poverty? That’s the big question.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.