Fact Check: Ford said Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot cost $17 billion. It only cost $50 million per year
What Ford Said
At an event in Thunder Bay Ontario, the site of one of the test cities for Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot, Ford claimed the Pilot was too expensive and would cost $17 billion.
Here is the quote from the CBC article:
“It was very simple, it cost $17 billion dollars,” Doug Ford said during at appearance at the Resolute Forest Products pulp and paper mill. “It’s not realistic.”
Source – CBC
The Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives initially promised to keep the Basic Income Pilot. But when elected they cancelled it:
An Ontario minister admits the new government has backtracked on a campaign promise to keep the province’s basic income pilot project in place.
“[There’s] the decision in the campaign and then you find the realities of when you’re in government,” MacLeod told reporters on Wednesday, restating her intent to “come up with a better plan in 100 days.”
Source – CBC
Media coverage of the basic income pilot consistently cited the cost as $150 million over 3 years or $50 million per year.
According to the Ontario government website, the program provided the following
- $16,989 per year for a single person, less 50% of any earned income
- $24,027 per year for a couple, less 50% of any earned income
- People with a disability will also receive up to $500 per month on top
Ford stated the program would cost $17 billion dollars. But this cost refers to expanding the program to every Ontarian, not the Pilot itself. At no point was this number a factor in determining the cost calculation of the program. Most experts acknowledge that if the Pilot were expanded, other social services programs would be reduced thereby reducing the potential cost of a province-wide rollout. This cost does not appear to be factored into the analysis.