Quebec basic income program begins, but advocates say many low-income people excluded

National Post

For the first time in many years, Monique Toutant thinks she might be able to buy herself some better groceries and a few new clothes.

As a longtime social assistance recipient, the 62-year-old Quebec City resident is used to pinching pennies, buying the strict minimum at the grocery store and saving for months for every purchase. She calls it “everyday stress.”

“Will I have enough money to get through the month? Will I have enough money to eat well? Will I have enough money because I have a doctor’s appointment in two days and I have to pay a bus ticket?” she said in a phone interview.

Toutant, who can’t work because of acute rheumatoid arthritis that prevents her from sitting or standing for long periods, is facing a little less hardship after her monthly cheque rose by more than $300 to about $1,548 at the beginning of January with the launch of the Quebec government’s basic income program.

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