Hamilton isn’t the only City involved in the basic income pilot project. Our sister pilot community of Lindsay has 2,000 participants and they made an announcement at a local media conference on Monday morning:
Class Action Lawsuit Launched from Lindsay over Basic Income Cancellation (click picture for news report)
A notice to launch a class action lawsuit against the Province for its cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot has been filed by four residents of Lindsay.
Mike Perry, a local Lindsay area lawyer and social worker acting pro bono on their behalf, notes the intent to file is for “anticipatory breach of contract, negligence, and misfeasance in public office” for the Ford government’s abrupt cancellation of the pilot program.
The representative plaintiffs – Dana Bowman, Grace Marie Doyle Hillion, Susan Lindsay, and Tracey Mechefske – are seeking for their lawsuit to include the approximately 2,000 people in Lindsay and another 2,000 from Hamilton area and Thunder Bay area, who were participating in the pilot project research study; receiving some level of basic income in return for their participation which involved sharing their personal information, completing surveys and being engaged in research.
“The period of the research study was stated and known as three years,” according to the notice filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Lindsay this morning.
“No one likes to sue,” Perry notes. “Legal actions against the government are hard. But this is why the courts are there: for people to seek justice when governments stray and the political process isn’t working.”
As well, according to the Notice of Action, “the Defendant’s decision to cancel the basic income pilot project research study has caused direct, significant harm to the Plaintiffs and all members of the intended class, which the Defendant could reasonably have foreseen.”
Dana Bowman, one of the plaintiffs, says the Ontario Basic Income Pilot has been critical for her in positively changing her life circumstances. She is able to visit her grandchildren more often because she can afford the transportation. She says it also means more self-care is possible for her, including eating better and not having to resort to using the food bank.
Above all, it means dignity: she’s empowered to make her own financial decisions.
The next steps for the legal action will be to complete and file the statement of claim. Under the law, legal proceedings against the government require 60 days notice in advance. A request will also need to be brought to the court to approve the class action and open the lawsuit to all 4,000 basic income participants, should they wish to participate,
Hamilton basic income participants will be notified about next steps in this legal action in the coming weeks and check in at www.hamiltonpoverty.ca for updates.