On Friday evening, Jan. 6, Smiths Falls Mayor Shawn Pankow let his Facebook followers know that the issue of the basic income pilot project is not dead and that the Leeds, Grenville and District Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Paula Stewart, will be presenting details on the province’s project at the Smiths Falls Committee of Whole session, to be held on Monday, Jan. 9.
The presentation will be held at 5 p.m. in council chambers. Here is the link to Dr. Stewart’s presentation.
In Pankow’s Facebook post he wrote:
“We are in an ever evolving world and it is easy to forget that many of the social programs available today, including universal healthcare, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, The Guaranteed Income Supplement, Employment Insurance, The Canada and Ontario Child Benefit, The Trillium Drug Program, Ontario Works, Ontario Disability Support Program and so many more did not exist decades ago.
Were it not for the creative thinking, fortitude and commitment of some of our past leaders, our world could be very different today.
Although many of these initiatives have helped reduce poverty in our nation and have helped provide support to all of us, far too many Canadians live in poverty, including too many in our community.
The basic income concept is not new, just as all the social programs in place today were not based on spur of the moment decisions. Past governments went through exhaustive research and debate before finally proceeding with the launch of a new program.
Every new initiative faces questioning, criticism and condemnation from opponents. Change can be difficult, especially when a price tag may be attached to it.
The provincial government has taken the initiative to launch basic income pilots in communities across Ontario and if successful, this pilot could prove that this concept should replace some of the other programs in place today. Our current welfare system costs Ontario taxpayers upwards of $9 million annually, with over $700,000,000 being committed to the bureaucracy needed to govern and police these programs.
Many people question the potential success of this pilot, but that is exactly what a pilot project is for – to determine if this concept is viable, if it makes a significant different in the lives of recipients, if it stimulates the economy of participating communities and at the same time, uncovers answers to questions we have not yet contemplated.”