Ontario Tories announce changes to welfare programs

Ford government announces social assistance overhaul

The province's first steps will be to cancel the previous government's plan to raise Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works rates by three per cent and raise them by 1.5 per cent instead, said MacLeod, adding the decision was made "on compassionate grounds".

They also announced they would cancel a basic income pilot project in three cities.

The pilot program, launched in 2017 by the previous Liberal government, was expected to last three years, according to The Guardian.

"I live with a person with a disability day-to-day and I'm involved in it through advocacy and it's still hard for me to understand the varying life situations of people in Ontario", she said.

"They were very clear during the campaign that they had no intention of rolling back the basic income pilot project and now what they've done is kicked thousands of people in the teeth". Lisa MacLeod, Ontario's minister in charge of social services, cited the high costs of the project ($150 million in Canadian dollars) as the reason for the cuts and said it was "clearly not the answer for Ontario families". Did they quit their jobs because they got basic income? When pressed several times she said "we had a platform and this was not in the platform".

In a freaky turn of events Thursday, Doug Ford's government said its promise to keep the basic income pilot was "fake news". Numerous program's participants seemed shocked and frustrated to learn that their monetary plan for the next three years was being thrown out the window.

He said MacLeod's flip-flopping on the issues was putting ideology ahead of evidence.

Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal is a big proponent of a guaranteed basic income program
Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal is a big proponent of a guaranteed basic income program

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the Tories had done nothing but tear things down and would continue to do so.

Garvey said she is waiting to hear more information about what those changes could look like and what MacLeod meant when she referred to the income supports as a "patchwork".

Advocates for basic income initiatives said such programs are more effective in lifting people out of poverty than social assistance and require less bureaucracy to run.

It was to test whether basic income is better than current social assistance programmes.

Losing the program is going to make those plans more hard, she said.

"It's not just about money, it's about security", she said.




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