As Ontario faces a certified class action, former recipients of basic income pilot share their struggles

CBC News

Tracey Crosson says she ate healthier, slept better and had more energy when she was receiving basic income payments from the Ontario government.

Now, she’s left with $22 every month after paying rent and relies on Meals on Wheels.

Crosson is just one of the thousands of people impacted after the province scrapped the basic income pilot project (OBI) nearly six years ago. The early cancellation of the program in 2018 is behind a class-action lawsuit that was certified by a Superior Court judge on March 4.

“When I was on the OBI, I got to go and get a steak for $10 and have that for dinner once a month,” said Crosson, who participated in the program in Thunder Bay and now lives in Toronto for better access to medical care. “Now, I don’t have the luxury for steak and hamburger and all that stuff.”

On Tuesday, the Toronto law firm Cavalluzzo LLP said the class action was brought forward by 4,000 people. It alleges Ontario breached the terms and conditions of the contract it entered with participants and seeks damages of up to $200 million.

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