Hamilton

Basic income cancellation heads to court in January

A Lindsay lawyer is leading a pair of court challenges.

A Lindsay lawyer is leading a pair of court challenges

Hamilton basic income recipients posed for a photo series by Jessie Golem to show the impact of the basic income cancellation. (Humans of Basic Income/Jessie Golem)

The province's cancellation of the basic income pilot project is heading to court in January.

Lawyer Mike Perry will head to superior court over the project, which impacted recipients in Hamilton, Lindsay and Thunder Bay.

The legal action is on two fronts — asking the province to overturn cancelling the project, and a class action lawsuit for breach of contract. The first will be in divisional court in Oshawa on Jan. 25.

"We are busy preparing our case," Perry said in a media release. "Evidence takes time and we have to give the government time to respond to our materials before the case is heard."

If that request is successful, Perry said, then the class action lawsuit won't be necessary.

"We will be ready to go ahead with the class action right away if we have to," he said. If that happens, participants will hear through public notices and advertisements.

The issue dates back to 2017, when the previous Liberal provincial government launched the program with 4,000 residents. One thousand were in Hamilton.

Under the program, recipients received a maximum of $16,989 per year regardless of their employment status. Many were people with low-paying jobs.

The new PC government announced on July 31 that it would cut the program. It will end in March.

Participants have spoken out about the program, saying it helped their health, self-esteem and employment prospects.

Prior to the June election, Doug Ford said a PC government would look at the results of the pilot. 

But Premier Ford said in Thunder Bay last week that the pilot was too expensive. The best way out of poverty, he said, is "something called a job."

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