Hello Reddit. I made a comment on r/canada on an article about Universal Basic Income, and how I'm receiving it as part of a pilot program in Ontario. There were numerous AMA requests, so here I am, happy to oblige.

In this pilot project, a few select cities in Ontario were chosen, where people who met the criteria (namely, if you're single and live under $34,000/year or if you're a couple living under $48,000) you were eligible to receive a basic income that supplements your current income, up to $1400/month. It was a random lottery. I went to an information session and applied, and they randomly selected two control groups - one group to receive basic income payments, and another that wouldn't, but both groups would still be required to fill out surveys regarding their quality of life with or without UBI. I was selected to be in the control group that receives monthly payments.


Proof here

EDIT: Holy shit, I did not expect this to blow up. Thank you everyone. Clearly this is a very important, and heated discussion, but one that's extremely relevant, and one I'm glad we're having. I'm happy to represent and advocate for UBI - I see how it's changed my life, and people should know about this. To the people calling me lazy, or a parasite, or wanting me to die... I hope you find happiness somewhere. For now though friends, it's past midnight in the magical land of Ontario, and I need to finish a project before going to bed. I will come back and answer more questions in the morning. Stay safe, friends!

EDIT 2: I am back, and here to answer more questions for a bit, but my day is full, and I didn't expect my inbox to die... first off, thanks for the gold!!! <3 Second, a lot of questions I'm getting are along the lines of, "How do you morally justify being a lazy parasitic leech that's stealing money from taxpayers?" - honestly, I don't see it that way at all. A lot of my earlier answers have been that I'm using the money to buy time to work and build my own career, why is this a bad thing? Are people who are sick and accessing Canada's free healthcare leeches and parasites stealing honest taxpayer money? Are people who send their children to publicly funded schools lazy entitled leeches? Also, as a clarification, the BI is supplementing my current income. I'm not sitting on my ass all day, I already work - so I'm not receiving the full $1400. I'm not even receiving $1000/month from this program. It's supplementing me to get up to a living wage. And giving me a chance to work and build my career so I won't have need for this program eventually.

Okay, I hope that clarifies. I'll keep on answering questions. RIP my inbox.

EDIT 3: I have to leave now for work. I think I'm going to let this sit. I might visit in the evening after work, but I think for my own wellbeing I'm going to call it a day with this. Thanks for the discussion, Reddit!

Comments: 9984 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

daddytaco002852 karma

What was your opinion of UBI going into this and has it changed at all since then?

such_hodor_wow5857 karma

I was pretty pro-UBI going into this. Not only for my own self-benefit, but I see the incredible amount of stress poverty has on the lives of people. If we all help each other out, and help people out of poverty, it helps EVERYONE in the end. People can work their way out of debt and poverty, build meaningful lives, be free from stress and mental illness that comes with poverty, and contribute positively to the economy. A bunch of people on r/canada called me a parasite and lazy because I'm receiving this... like, they really just don't get how helpful this program can be, and how much of a godsend it is.

queen_of_greendale4350 karma

/r/canada is cancerous.

I live in the GTA and think UBI is a great idea. I see the impact that poverty has on my students and the cycle it creates. I hope the pilot program brings in meaningful data and a strong program can be developed!

lowbass4u2307 karma

Poverty is one of the leading causes of violence in the community.

such_hodor_wow1249 karma

I could not agree with you more.

billyhorseshoe27 karma

I can completely relate to your comment about the destructive power of poverty, but I've also witnessed the rampant abuse of social assistance that goes on in this country (excuse the generalization, I've only lived in two provinces but I assume my experience is typical of Canada). Programs like this are direly needed, but they must be accompanied by strict policing to make sure money goes where it's truly needed. I'm trying my best to bite my tongue and not rant about how abused ODSP is.

such_hodor_wow54 karma

Fair enough, but how do we police that? Like, who are we to judge what somebody buys with what money? I feel like that's a slippery slope. Like it's saying that poor people should be judged for buying nice things because that's taxpayer's money funding that TV, you know? Like, there has to be an element of dignity here, that isn't earned because you make more money than someone else.

such_hodor_wow23 karma


WalkerDabberRanger6 karma

Where is the money coming from?

such_hodor_wow7 karma

The Ontario government, as far as I know.

TouristsOfNiagara1536 karma

Are you in Thunder Bay?

How's it going so far, overall?

Were/are you gainfully employed?

such_hodor_wow3836 karma

I'm not going to say which city I'm in, in the interest of privacy. But so far, so good! It's a huge relief to not have to worry about paying rent. Re: employment. I work freelance mostly in my field, at the time of receiving UBI I was working part time, and not able to make ends meet. UBI has freed me up to pursue my freelance career, as well as devote my energy into pursuing a career at a small, but rapidly growing organization I'm excited to be a part of. It's basically giving me the time to pursue my dream job.

nosecohn1389 karma

How long is the pilot project supposed to run?

At the end of that time, when you stop receiving the money, what do you expect to be different about your life than if you'd never been part of the program?

such_hodor_wow2715 karma

It's supposed to run for three years. I am expecting and hoping that the small organization/start-up/business I am helping to grow will be big enough and viable enough that I will be able to work at it full-time. I am hoping and expecting that by the time the UBI pilot project is over, it won't be a huge loss to me, because I won't need it at that point.

marquicuquis1538 karma

Dude, I will give you all my good vibes for your succes \ ('_') /

such_hodor_wow578 karma

Thank you. <3

Random_act_of_Random841 karma

How is that even a question? The group getting money is of course going to have a better quality of life.

Edit: I know everyone that there is a point to the question, I was just pointing out what looked like an absurd question to me, I don't need a bunch of explanations to why they ask this question.

such_hodor_wow946 karma

I was thinking the exact same thing at the info session. I literally said to the guy, "So like, if I DON'T get UBI... you're just going to make me fill out surveys where I tell you how hard my life is...?"

daddytaco00381 karma

So what do you say to the argument that it would make people lazy, which, given this is financed through income tax, means the government is essentially stealing money from hard workers and giving it to people that will just be lazy when given the opportunity?

I'm not fully against UBI, but this is a very interesting point against it. I love the idea of building less risk into starting new businesses and creating new avenues of income.

such_hodor_wow872 karma

I think that sentiment plays into a stereotype people have against people in poverty. That poor people are lazy, and need to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" and "hard work pays off" - sometimes, despite the amount of hard work one does, they're still in poverty, and nobody really understands how deep of a hole that is to dig yourself out of until you're looking at an empty fridge, bills you have no way of paying, a maxed out credit card, and empty savings account. I can't judge what one does with the benefit they're getting from UBI, for me personally my money is fully being invested into my work and career, and giving me the space and time to focus on it, without needing to pick up a second or third job (which I've had to do many times in the past) - but I found when I disclosed I was receiving UBI on r/canada, people started calling me lazy, and a parasite, and were insulted that I was putting my money back into my career. I made a mistake and used the term "I am part of a start-up" (which isn't fully accurate, but I used the vernacular in the interest of my privacy) and so then people assumed I was an entitled millennial, about to blow away all these taxpayer money on a risky "start-up" that's going to fail.

ThoughtSolicitor318 karma

Do you share this with your friends and family? I would see this like being financially handicapped.

such_hodor_wow525 karma

My closest friends and family know about this. I have set boundaries on helping them, as I have to take care of myself first. Once I pay off some things, I'll look at helping my kin, but nobody has pressured me so far or tried to gold-dig me. :)

shittysportsscience107 karma

I think they were asking if you tell them. The implication is that it is embarrassing to be receiving UBI. What I find fascinating about your response is that it pays you enough to pay off debts and share with family. That seems to be outside of necessary expenses for living.

such_hodor_wow144 karma

I mean, it's a nice thought! I want to help my loved ones. In no way am I in a position to do that. When I started UBI, it took a while for the income to stabilize where I was actually SEEING money I could spend. A lot of it vanished quickly into the hands of my debt collectors.

Natolx15 karma

I assume he is still working at his normal job. Remember, everyone gets it, not just the unemployed. For him, UBI was essentially a raise of 34k... that can pay off some debts.

AGallopingMonkey45 karma

No, not a raise of 34k. At most, it is a raise of 16800. Otherwise, it just fills up until he hits an annual income of 34k.

such_hodor_wow26 karma


such_hodor_wow44 karma

Not in this case. I am still working, but not making a living wage at my job. The UBI is meant to supplement me UP to 34k. I've never made anything remotely CLOSE to 34k. I think I'd be generous if I was saying I capped off at 15k last year. It's not a 34k raise. I didn't get approved for the full amount that is offered ($1400/month)

labatomi9 karma

It's $250 a week dude. I'd be very disappointed to find out people were giving you shit about not helping them when talking about so little money.

such_hodor_wow12 karma

I'm not even making $1000/month off UBI. Even if I wanted to help, again, it's a nice thought, but something not feasible.

Thopterthallid6 karma

Have you heard about the bureaucratic horror stories of people that applied through the mail?

such_hodor_wow5 karma

No! Tell me more...

smr50002 karma

Need a roommate?

such_hodor_wow6 karma

hehehe maybe! One of the roomies is planning on moving out for sure in September and the other is travelling all summer. The next few months will tell. :)

danny27872 karma

How was your experience getting into the program? How long did it take before you started getting the funds?

I got the letter in September. I submitted all the paperwork and waited and waited. After each step the wait was a few months. After nearly 7 months I got thd answer that I'm part of the control group. So no money. What bothered me the most was no one responded to emails/phone messages. And I only got an answer after getting my mpp involved.

such_hodor_wow2 karma

That's horrible. The program seems kind of disorganized eh? My roommate and I went in together to the info session, and applied back in December. She found out in January, and I didn't find out till February, despite us applying at the same time. I'm sorry for your experience. I wish everyone got it.

youareadildomadam2 karma

Are you still eligible for other social services?

such_hodor_wow0 karma

Yes. I can receive OW, EI or OSAP on UBI. I don't know the details of that because I don't benefit from those programs.