Pilot program aims to help those living in poverty

Kingston, ON, Canada / CKWS TV
Anna Fiorino /Kingston Resident:
“I can’t go out to restaurants, I can’t go out with anyone…”

Anna Fiorino is one of the many Ontarians just getting by each month.
She is currently receiving support from the Ontario Disability Support Program but says it’s a struggle, not just for her but for many others she knows in the community.

Anna Fiorino:
“They are even worse off than I am. I try to budget my money wisely… they don’t . And by second week of the month, they’re already at nothing… and its hurts.”

That may soon change with the province introducing the Basic Income Guarantee.

Sophie Kiwala/ MPP, Kingston & the Islands:
“It’s going to mean that, in an ideal world, that people will be drawn out of poverty. They will have a sufficient income in order to live in a way that is tolerable.”
The pilot program would provide a basic monthly income to those below the poverty line, and those receiving it would still be able to work to earn extra money.
Jody Riddle/ Property Manager, Kingston Frontenac Housing Corporation:
“With anybody, whether you’re living in poverty or not… increased income improves the quality of your life. And those in poverty, it’s just… it needs to improve for people to succeed and leave poverty for good.”

Over a hundred people showed up to the Kingston public consultation meeting, one of 14 being held across Ontario to gather input, opinions, and concerns about the program.

Han Dong/ MPP, Trinity Spadina:
“We want to hear from Ontarians… The idea of basic income, what their thoughts on it are, who should be getting it, where this pilot should be run and for how long, and what people will be receiving.”

And though some expressed concerns about people taking advantage of the program, most agreed that if done right, the benefits would far outweigh the negatives.
And for Anna Fiorino, it would be life changing.

Anna Fiorino:
“I do think this would help everybody.”

Callie Warren:
The results from the public consultations will be released in the spring along with a plan on how the government plans move forward with the pilot program.

Callie Warren, CKWS News, Kingston.

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