Ontario is taking the next step in its efforts to find eligible applicants for its basic income pilot project.

The pilot, which was launched in the spring, initially began soliciting applications by inviting specific people to apply through random mail-outs to residents in Thunder Bay, Lindsay and Hamilton.

Basic income project applications being mailed out in Ontario

The province is now casting the net wider, inviting any eligible people in the pilot communities to apply, and attempting to reach out through a series of open enrolment sessions in Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Brantford and Lindsay.

Hydro One customers will be able to opt in or out of a proposed program to “pre-pay” electric bills, Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault insists.

Thibeault also insisted the controversial application by Hydro One – to replace some smart meters with new “pre-paid” meters – won’t target the poor.

“When I talked to Hydro One about this specifically, they said this is about giving people choice,” Thibeault said Thursday.

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns, who raised the issue this week in the Ontario Legislature, suggested the Minister isn’t credible when he says requiring consumers to pre-pay for power won’t focus on the poor.

Well, he’s finally shown his true colours.

Patrick Brown has promised to roll back the $15 minimum wage and kick the increase down the road another four years.

Brown confirmed his plan to delay a pay increase for low-income earners while speaking at a York Region Business Breakfast overlooking the 18th green at a golf course today.

Even with the audience, he should know that Ontarians who are working full-time yet are struggling to pay rent, put food on the table or care for their families can’t afford to wait. For them, delaying a minimum wage increase is the same as denying one. And under the Conservative roll-back scheme, they’ll earn less.

That’s not fair.

With the cold weather in full swing, the City of Duncan has been asked to help establish a daytime warming centre for the homeless in the field houses at McAdam Park.

The United Way’s Melaina Patenaude, who is also a member of the Cowichan Coalition to Address Homelessness and Affordable Housing, said in a letter to council that the coalition’s ultimate goal is to establish safe, affordable and supportive housing for everyone in need in the Cowichan Valley.

“But we recognize it will take time to gain that objective,” Patenaude said.

“In the interim, we must house or otherwise support those who are living without a shelter, and it is our hope that the City of Duncan will help meet this end.”

The Guelph-Wellington 20,000 Homes Campaign released a 2016-17 annual report on Nov. 17 about the progress the community has made in a bid to end homelessness.

The report states the number of known individuals experiencing homelessness has fallen from 207 in April 2016 to 129 in October 2017, an overall decrease of 38 per cent.

Also highlighted in the report are 117 housing placements for individuals considered “high-acuity” (those with high depth of need.)

The local campaign is part of a broader national change movement focused on ending chronic homelessness in 20 communities and housing 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people by July 1, 2020.

There is nothing so cruel in politics as a broken promise to the vulnerable.

In fixing things, politics can help people fix themselves. But a broken promise is further trauma, insult to injury for those too familiar with disappointment.

And when that broken promise was originally a false hope, then the public has every reason to lose faith in politicians and government.

Such is the case with our never-ending campaign on homelessness.

The promises about ending homelessness are nearly as harmful as the experiences of it, for they fake the capacity of public institutions to provide simple and short-term remedies to complex and long-term problems.

United Ways across the country are celebrating the announcement of the new National Housing Strategy (NHS).

This strategy represents a big advocacy win for the national movement and the NHC – an alliance of non-profit and private housing associations and major foundations – who proposed four major pillars for government action that were adopted in the recently announced strategy:

  • Adopt a national goal to end homelessness within 10 years – and launch a pan-Canadian initiative to make it happen.
  • Develop a national housing benefit that provides direct financial assistance to renters, moving households out of poverty and providing them with more choice and autonomy.
  • Maintain and increase the supply of rental housing that is affordable across the country through innovative financing and equity tools.
  • Provide leadership and resources to strengthen and renew our existing social housing to ensure it remains physically sound and financially viable.