Transcript: Basic Income Burden | Dec 21, 2018

Jeyan stands in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and striped beige tie.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario Hubs. Basic income pilot grounded. Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. @theagenda."

Jeyan says IN THE SPRING OF NEXT
YEAR, 4000 LOW-INCOME ONTARIANS
WILL RECEIVE THEIR LAST CHEQUE
AS PARTICIPANTS OF ONTARIO'S
BASIC INCOME PILOT.
THE PROGRAM WAS SET TO RUN FOR
THREE YEARS BUT WAS CANCELLED.
IT WAS A PROGRAM THE TORIES
PROMISED TO KEEP DURING THEIR
ELECTION CAMPAIGN BUT LATER
SCRAPPED WHEN THEY TOOK POWER.
I TRAVELLED TO THUNDER BAY, ONE
OF THE THREE CITIES INCLUDED IN
THE PILOT, TO SEE HOW PEOPLE ARE
COPING AHEAD OF THE HOLIDAYS.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs."
Then, a clip shows a young man with long brown hair waiting for a school bus.
A child gets off the bus and approaches.

The man says NICE WAY TO WEAR YOUR BAG,
DUDE.
COOL.
I LIKE IT.

At a house, he opens the door and says
HERE, HOP IN.
DID THEY LOCK US OUT?

He laughs.

Jeyan narrates YOU WOULDN'T KNOW IT
FROM HIS INFECTIOUS LAUGH, BUT
BENJAMIN MURRAY IS STRESSED OUT
THESE DAYS.
HE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE.
HE AND HIS FAMILY ARE AMONG THE
4,000 PARTICIPANTS IN THE
ONTARIO BASIC INCOME PILOT.

Benjamin is clean-shaven, in his twenties.
A caption reads "Benjamin Murray. Basic Income Participant."

Benjamin says EVERYONE I SPEAK
TO, IT'S JUST BEEN THIS LIKE
IT'S WEIGHTS LIFTED.
YOU'RE ON THIS FIXED INCOME AND
YOU'RE STRUGGLING TO PAY RENT
EVERY MONTH AND NO ONE'S TAKING
YOU SERIOUSLY. THE BANKS DON'T
TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY.
THE GOVERNMENT DOESN'T TAKE YOU
SERIOUSLY.
YOU ARE SEEN AS THIS, LIKE,
LEECH ON SOCIETY, AND THEN
LITERALLY OVERNIGHT YOU'RE OVER
TO THE POVERTY LINE.

In a clip, a woman and a man sing and play with a baby.

Jeyan narrates THE THREE-YEAR PILOT
PROGRAM FOR LOW-INCOME ONTARIANS
INTRODUCED BY THE PREVIOUS
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT WILL END A
YEAR EARLIER THAN PLANNED.

A woman sits on a couch.
A caption reads "Khanena Nowegejick. Basic Income Participant."

Khanena, in her twenties with long straight brown hair, says IT WASN'T LONG
ENOUGH TO OPEN THAT DOOR AND BE
ABLE TO ACTUALLY GET HALF WAY
THERE. LIKE, YOU'RE ALMOST THERE
AND THEN IT'S TAKEN AWAY.

Jeyan narrates WITH A PRICE TAG OF
150 MILLION DOLLARS, PREMIER DOUG FORD
CANCELLED THE PROGRAM, CALLING
IT TOO EXPENSIVE AND SAID THE
BEST WAY OUT OF POVERTY IS TO GET A JOB.

A young man sits in a room.
A caption reads "Joshua Hewitt. Basic Income Participant."

Joshua, in his twenties, with short brown hair and a goatee, says LET'S GET SOME LIGHT
IN HERE.
YOU KNOW, I HAD A BIT OF A
BREAKDOWN, AND I CAN IMAGINE THE
FEELING IS THE SAME FOR A LOT OF
PEOPLE, AND JUST TO HEAR THE
SOLUTION TO POVERTY IS A JOB,
I'M SORRY, BUT I LOST MY JOB
BECAUSE I WAS SUFFERING FROM THE
EFFECTS OF POVERTY.

Jeyan narrates THUNDER BAY'S ONE OF
THREE CITIES INCLUDED IN THE
PILOT, ABOUT 1,000 RESIDENTS
HERE WERE PART OF THE PROGRAM.

Benjamin sits in a living room with a woman and two children.
One of the children plays a small keyboard.

Benjamin says THIS KID'S GOT
RHYTHM. HE CAN REALLY SING.

Jeyan narrates LIKE SOME OF THE
PARTICIPANTS, BENJAMIN AND HIS
WIFE KAYLA ARE DIAGNOSED WITH
CONDITIONS THAT YOU CAN'T SEE
WITH THE NAKED EYE.

Benjamin says WE HAVE PEOPLE THAT
MAKE JUDGMENTS ON US AND PASS
JUDGMENT ON US THAT DON'T REALLY
UNDERSTAND BECAUSE IT'S AN
INVISIBLE ILLNESS, AND WE LOOK
FINE FROM THE OUTSIDE.

Jeyan narrates KAYLA SUFFERS FROM
CROHN'S DISEASE AND BENJAMIN HAS
PRIMARY SPONTANEOUS
PNEUMOTHORAX, A CONDITION THAT
AFFECTS HIS LUNGS.

Benjamin says THE BLOOD HAVE
THESE AIR BUBBLES THAT FORM
ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE LUNGS,
AND WHEN THEY POP, IT MAKES THE
LUNG GO DOWN, LIKE THE PRESSURE
IN DIFFERENCE, BASICALLY.
SO I HAD LIKE 47 COLLAPSES.
I ONLY DOCUMENTED MAYBE 10 OF THEM.

Jeyan narrates FOR KHANENA NOWEGEJICK
IT WAS HER MENTAL HEALTH.
SHE HAD TO OVERCOME A LOT DURING
HER CHILDHOOD.
AT THE AGE OF 17 SHE BECAME A
MOTHER, DROPPED OUT OF HIGH
SCHOOL AND FORCED TO TAKE SHIFT
WORK AT A TIM HORTONS.
SHE STARTED TO USE DRUGS AND
WAS IN AND OUT OF REHAB AND
ULTIMATELY MADE THE DECISION TO
QUIT WORK.

Khanena says IT WAS DISGUSTING.
IF I DID GO ON ONTARIO WORKS, I
GOT LIKE A 400 CHEQUE.
LIKE WHAT IS THAT GOING TO DO
FOR MY SON AND I?
I WAS AN ADDICT FOR MOST OF HIS
LIFE, AND I HAD NO SUPPORT, SO I
NEEDED THE ABILITY TO BUILD THIS
RELATIONSHIP.

Jeyan narrates THE PILOT GAVE
INDIVIDUALS 17,000 A YEAR AND
ABOUT 24,000 A YEAR FOR
COUPLES.
THE AMOUNT WOULD DECREASE BY 50
CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR SOMEONE
MADE THROUGH WORK.
RESEARCHERS WERE LOOKING AT
WHETHER THE BASIC INCOME MET
THEIR NEEDS AND IMPROVED THEIR
LIVES AND OVERALL HEALTH.

Khanena says EVERYBODY HAS
SETBACKS, BUT I FEEL LIKE PEOPLE
THAT DON'T HAVE THAT EXTRA
LITTLE BIT OF MONEY, MONEY
DOESN'T BUY YOU HAPPINESS,
BUT IT DOES GIVE YOU A CHANCE.

Jeyan narrates A PLACE TO CALL HOME.
IT'S ALL RELATIVELY NEW FOR
JOSHUA HEWITT.

Joshua says I ACTUALLY LIVED IN
AND OUT OF HOMELESSNESS FOR
EIGHT YEARS HERE IN THUNDER BAY.
I EXPERIENCED ADDICTIONS FOR
ABOUT 10 YEARS THAT CONTRIBUTED
TO THAT SITUATION.

Jeyan narrates HE LIVES ON THE THIRD
FLOOR OF AN OLD HOME IN THE
CITY'S WEST-END.
HE HAS THE SHED AND EVEN A REAR
PARKING SPOT.
BUT WITHOUT THE BASIC INCOME
PROGRAM, EVEN THIS WOULD HAVE
BEEN OUT OF REACH.

As the camera follows him down a narrow hallway, Joshua says I GET A REALLY GOOD
DEAL, ACTUALLY.
TECHNICALLY I ONLY PAY 500 A
MONTH TO LIVE HERE.

Sitting in a room, he says
WHEN I GOT ONTARIO WORKS, I GOT
788, SO IF I PAID 500, THEN I
HAVE 200 TO DO THE REST OF MY MONTH.
I GOT TO BUY A BUS PASS.
THAT'S 40, OR 45, SORRY.
AND I GOT TO BUY FOOD AND I GOT
TO PAY MY PHONE BILL EVERY
MONTH, AND HOW CAN I DO THAT OFF
OF 80?

Jeyan narrates WITH THE PROGRAM
ENDING EARLIER THAN SCHEDULED,
FAMILIES LIKE BENJAMIN'S ARE
ACTUALLY IN A BIGGER HOLE THAN BEFORE.
HE WAS ENCOURAGED TO UPGRADE
THEIR EXISTING CAR, ONE THAT WAS
COSTING THEM MORE IN REPAIRS
THAN IT WAS EVEN WORTH.

Benjamin says SO WE HAVE THIS 27 percent
INTEREST RATE ON A 13,000
VEHICLE. WE'RE PAYING 30,000
AT THE END OF THE WHOLE TERM
AND WE'RE STUCK IN THAT FOR
ANOTHER TWO YEARS AND THE
PROGRAM ENDS IN MARCH.
SO THAT'S BEEN A MAJOR STRESSOR.

Jeyan narrates THE CANCELLATION ALSO
MEANT ANY OPPORTUNITIES TO GO
BACK TO SCHOOL WERE PUT ON PAUSE
AND ANY CHANCES OF BUILDING NEW
SKILLS WERE SQUASHED.

Joshua says I WANTED TO CREATE MY
OWN OPPORTUNITY, AND I REALIZED
THAT I WAS SLUGGING IT OUT
BETWEEN TWO JOBS TRYING TO MAKE
ENDS MEET, AND IT JUST WASN'T
HAPPENING.

Jeyan narrates BUT THAT CHANGED WHEN
HE GOT THE BASIC INCOME PILOT.
HE WAS ABLE TO CONCENTRATE ON
HIS ORGANIZATION STAND UP FOR CLEAN UP.

Joshua stands inside a shed and as he points at different items, he says WE'VE GOT PYLONS,
SAFETY VESTS, EVERYTHING YOU
WOULD NEED TO DO A COMMUNITY
CLEAN UP.
SO YOU KNOW, JUST BEING PART
OF SOMETHING IS A TREMENDOUS WAY
TO MAKE PEOPLE MAKE A POSITIVE
IMPACT IN THEIR PERSONAL LIVES,
AND TO GIVE THEM A REASON, TO
GIVE THEM HOPE TO CHANGE.

Jeyan narrates BOTH JOSHUA AND
BENJAMIN SAY THEY HAVE BEEN
GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY THROUGH THE
PILOT TO BE A PART OF THE
COMMUNITY RATHER THAN A BURDEN.

A snippet from a music video in which Benjamin sings plays on screen.

Jeyan narrates BENJAMIN IS A HIP HOP ARTIST AND
GOES BY THE NAME PLAN B STRIKE NINE.
HE ALSO WORKS AS A YOUTH
FACILITATOR IN NORTHERN FIRST
NATIONS COMMUNITIES.
HE'S COME A LONG WAY BEFORE HE
HAD HIS KIDS BENJAMIN WAS IN AND
OUT OF REHAB.
HE STARTED SMOKING MARIJUANA AT
THE AGE OF EIGHT, COCAINE AT 15
AND OPIOIDS SHORTLY AFTER.
AND HE TALKS OPENLY ABOUT HIS
STRUGGLES THROUGH HIS MUSIC.

Benjamin says I HEARD A LOT OF
PEOPLE DID A LOT OF DAMAGE IN MY
COMMUNITY, AND THAT'S BASICALLY
WHY I'VE BEEN FOCUSED ON
BETTERING AND MAKING SURE NO
KIDS END UP GOING DOWN THE SAME PATH.

Jeyan narrates BENJAMIN HOPES TO
HAVE A RECREATION CENTRE AND
STUDIO IN THUNDER BAY FOR YOUTH
IN THE REGION.
BOTH JOSHUA AND BENJAMIN WERE
HONOURED BY THE CITY OF THUNDER
BAY FOR THEIR WORK IN THE COMMUNITY.

In a clip, Joshua holds up an award that reads "2015 Mayor's community safety award presented to Stand up 4 clean up."

Jeyan continues BUT WHEN NEWS HIT THAT THE BASIC
INCOME WOULD BE WINDING DOWN,
JOSHUA ORGANIZED A MEETING WITH
FELLOW PARTICIPANTS IN HOPES OF
GETTING THE PROGRAM REINSTATED.

Joshua says PEOPLE WERE CALLING
US DEGENERATES, SAYING THAT WE
ARE LEECHING OFF THE SYSTEM,
THAT WE'RE DESTROYING THE MIDDLE
CLASS AND WHAT PEOPLE HAVE
WORKED FOR.
WELL, WHAT ABOUT WHAT WE'VE
WORKED FOR?
MOST OF US HAVE STRUGGLED OUR
WHOLE LIVES WITH MENTAL HEALTH
AND ADDICTIONS.
WE'VE HAD TO WORK ON THAT EVERY
SINGLE DAY.
WHY IS THAT INVESTMENT NOT WORTHWHILE?

A caption reads "Ontario Hubs Field Producer, Jeyan Jeganathan. @JeyanTVO. Editor, Ian Partridge."

Jeyan narrates THE CITY OF THUNDER
BAY JOINED THREE OTHER
COMMUNITIES IN CALLING FOR THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAKE OVER
THE PILOT.
AND IN JANUARY THE PROVINCE'S
CANCELLATION OF THE PILOT WILL
GO TO COURT WHERE A CLASS ACTION
LAWSUIT MAY BE FILED.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

Watch: Basic Income Burden