Ford government announces social assistance overhaul

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Sherry Mendowegan has been able to pursue post-secondary education as a result of participating in the Ontario basic income pilot program.

"It really is a disincentive to get people back on track", she said Wednesday. "There are more compassionate ways the government could save money without targeting the most vulnerable".

A source involved in the pilot, however, said it had not been active long enough to generate the data required to gauge its success. Instead of traditional welfare benefits, around 4,000 randomly selected low-income or jobless residents would be provided with yearly stipends of CA$16,989 per person (or CA$24,027 per couple).

Statistics released by the previous government showed 2/3 of those enrolled had a job.

The PC Party has now introduced an accelerated 100-day deadline to develop and announce a "sustainable" social assistance program.

It also relieved a lot of the stress that comes from struggling to make ends meet, she said.

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"They (the Tories) certainly seem more interested in tearing things down than building things up", he said.

She called the minister's comments "ridiculous", saying everyone she knows on the program has done better because of it.

"I was expecting it, but it's so hard, there's so many people who live like me and it's not just me and it's not just people who don't want to work, it's people who can't work".

"And our efforts to fix social assistance will go hand-in-hand with our commitments to reduce gas prices by 10% litre, lower hydro rates, and provide targeted tax relief for working parents and minimum wage earners, all of which will provide focused benefits to lower income families". "It shows you're not thinking about the people less fortunate than you". "It's possible there may even be an increase in demand for social assistance because of it". Provincial Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said yesterday that Ontario would be ending the "quite expensive" experiment.

Ontario's previous government implemented the pilot program last July, estimating that it would cost about CA$150 million.

Some advocacy groups have also denounced the move, as have some who received support through social assistance or the basic income program. "This decision isn't about saving money, this decision is about fixing a broken system", she said. "It's knowing that no matter what else happens in life, you've got something that helps you deal with that".

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