Ontario government introduces basic income pilot project
May 11, 2017
Ontario is conducting a social experiment. Our province wants to pay people not to work.
It was announced in the recent provincial budget that Ontario will spend $150 million on a three-year experiment to give people a basic income.
This will include some who have low paying employment that does not provide enough money to cover basic living costs.
Some low-income recipients will be selected from Hamilton, Lindsay, and Thunder Bay.
An initial reaction by some might be to pay people not to work is providing the wrong financial incentive. Those would suggest financial motivation is necessary to encourage all to be fully employed.
The experiment will monitor the behaviour of those receiving provincial funding and compare that behaviour to other Ontario residents that do not receive funding.
Part of that objective will be to see if recipients make use of additional funds to improve their education, health and quality of life.
Will people upgrade their abilities in order to be more employable?
That information will be beneficial for the Ontario government to determine whether this experiment should be implemented to all low or non-earning residents.
There is a problem with the logic about taking away the incentive to find full employment.
Will full employment in future decades be something that is accessible to all?
There are real concerns with other governments around the world that automation will expand and greatly reduce the numbers of jobs available.
Someone might want to work, have the health and strength to work and possess the necessary qualifications.
However, if there are no jobs that introduces a whole new employment environment that has to be considered.
For example, assume at some point in the future, because of automation, Ontario had a 25 percent unemployment level. Those citizens will have living expenses.
It would be extremely unadvisable for any government to have such a disparity between the haves and the have-nots. That is a formula for anarchy.
There would be tremendous resentment and likely a significant increase in illegal activities that some would argue would be necessary to provide for their family if they did not have the ability to earn sufficient funds through employment.
Our value system is to provide care to those less fortunate.
We pride ourselves on free healthcare.
Many feel that health care costs would be reduced if everyone had the financial ability to take better care of themselves through proper eating habits and lifestyle choices, including satisfactory housing.
Better to spend money up front to maintain a minimum standard of quality of life than pay more to address the problems that poverty might cause.
I agree with the provincial initiative to start experimenting with increased funding for the less fortunate.
For those who have access to good paying jobs there is an upside. Ontario will continue to be a safe and caring province that will add to their quality of life.
For those without jobs who pay enough to maintain the desired standard of living, it will mean they continue to be an important part of the Ontario population.
We all benefit from economic and social harmony.