The Ontario government recently announced that it’s launching a basic income pilot project. While only 4,000 Ontarians will be involved in this trial run, we’re already wondering: How could a guaranteed basic income impact your life? Here’s what an expert had to say.
1. For starters, it means you’d have a financial safety net.
2. Why? Because so many of us work “precarious jobs,” positions that are shady when it comes to their duration and pay.
3. But if you’re already using Ontario’s social programs, be aware that some of your existing benefits would likely be dropped.
4. As well, the provincial government has stated that in the pilot, “The basic income amount will decrease by $0.50 for every dollar an individual earns by working.”
5. And yes, people would still work if a basic income were available.
6. Because you're definitely not about to get rich through basic income alone.
7. And unless you’re already in the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, a basic income wouldn’t get you any additional health coverage.
8. You could also use those funds to afford things like the dentist, physiotherapy, and your contact lenses’ recommended disposal schedule.
9. Additionally, just the existence of a basic income program could provide a psychological boost.
10. It could also improve your health by allowing you to skip the 99 cent pasta and buy higher quality food.
11. The extra money would also give you more options on where you shop.
12. Having a reliable income would let you better plan your finances, too.
13. It also means more leisure time.
14. “Having a basic income gives you the ability to take time and build your community,” said Ellis.
15. So would a basic income program raise people's taxes?
Of course before any of this becomes reality, the pilot project has to succeed. It won’t wrap up until 2019 so while a basic income sounds promising, don’t turn down that extra shift just yet.
Information on possible changes to benefits, in item #3, comes from the Income Security Advocacy Centre. A previous version of this post misattributed it to another organization.
Contact Lindsay Kneteman at lauren.strapagiel+LindsayKneteman@buzzfeed.com.
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