Finding a Better Way: A Basic Income Pilot Project for Ontario

In the 2016 Ontario Budget, the Minister of Finance announced the creation of a Basic Income Pilot Project, to test a new approach to reducing poverty in a sustainable way. The purpose of the pilot is to “test a growing view at home and abroad that a basic income could build on the success of minimum wage policies and increases in child benefits by providing more consistent and predictable support in the context of today’s dynamic labour market."

The idea of ensuring that individuals reach a level of Basic Income (minimum income, guaranteed income, etc.) as a means to poverty abatement has been presented for decades, in many jurisdictions. However, research on the implementation and implications of such policies is still scarce. Available data comes mostly from experiments conducted before the substantial transformations of labour markets in economies such as Ontario's.

The government of Ontario’s stated goal of working “with communities, researchers and other stakeholders in 2016 to determine how best to design and implement a Basic Income pilot,”3 is reflected in this discussion paper. This paper is not about restricting options, or limiting debate. Rather, it recommends some constructive options for the design and implementation of a pilot project, in a way that encourages open discussion and debate. The government’s commitment to present this paper for extensive comment and debate demonstrates its desire to work collaboratively with the broader community.

Publication Date: 
Ontario, Canada