Ont. gov't will show social assistance plan after scrapping basic income pilot
TORONTO -- The Ontario government is set to lay out its plans to reform the province's social assistance program, just months after it moved to cancel a basic income pilot project.
A pair of Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers will introduce the plan at Queen's Park this afternoon.
Opposition parties expressed concerns about possible cuts to supports for those who need them the most.
"I'm very, very worried. We've seen a government that has continued to hurt the most vulnerable," NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Wednesday.
"It seems to me that this government is bent on giving themselves or giving people like (Premier Doug) Ford, his high-income top business earners, a tax break and the rest of Ontarians are going to have to suffer the pain."
The Liberals said they have heard from communities worried that the government will further roll back the supports their party brought in while in government.
"Doug Ford has not prioritized low-income people," Liberal legislator Marie-France Lalonde said in a statement. "They are concerned about what might come -- even more cuts to services for those who need this support the most."
The government announced in July it was "winding down" a pilot project that provided payments to 4,000 low-income earners in cities such as Hamilton, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.
At the time, Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod called the program, launched by the Liberals in 2017 and set to run for three years, a "disincentive to get people back to work."
Anti-poverty advocates denounced the move, with one group pledging to defend against what it called Premier Doug Ford's "war on the poor."
The Tories also said they were cutting a planned three per cent increase in social assistance to 1.5 per cent.