Changes To Ontario's Welfare Program

The new provincial government is giving itself a 100-day deadline to rejig Ontario's social safety net.

Doug Ford's PC government says it will bring in major changes to social assistance, starting with reducing a planned 3% increase in support rates and cancelling a basic income pilot program that provided no strings attached payments to more than 4,000 low income people in Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay.

Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, says the previous Liberal government left behind a patchwork system that the Progressive Conservatives will replace.

She says the governing Tories will set a 100-day deadline to come up with a new social assistance program that will help people break the cycle of poverty and get back in the workforce.

Announced Tuesday, the government's first steps, will be to cancel the previous Liberal government's plan to raise Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works rates by 3% a year for three yeras and raise them by 1.5% instead.

Ontario's basic income pilot project had a year-and-a-half left to run and was budgeted at $50-million a year. It saw single participants receive up to $16,989 a year while couples receive up to $24,027, less 50 per cent of any earned income.

— with files from The Canadian Press