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Rent-Geared to Income Assistance and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot

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Subject: Rent-Geared to Income Assistance and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot

Legislation Regulation checkbox Legislation/Regulation                                                          Release 17-02

Legislation Regulation checkbox Operational

In April, the Government of Ontario announced details of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot (OBIP), a three-year study to test how a basic income might improve the health, education, housing and job prospects of those living on low incomes. The communities selected to take part in the OBIP are as follows:

  • Hamilton, Brantford and Brant County
  • Thunder Bay and the surrounding area 
  • Lindsay (beginning in fall 2017)

The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) will randomly select eligible individuals to participate in the OBIP in these locations. Household receiving a Basic Income may relocate to other Service Manager areas.  MCSS anticipates that payments to participants will begin by July 25, 2017. 

Payments received through the OBIP should be considered income for the purpose of rent-geared-to-income (RGI) calculations under the Housing Services Act, 2011.  

Social assistance recipients selected to receive a Basic Income are required to withdraw from Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program. If these recipients are receiving RGI assistance, they would no longer pay rent in accordance to prescribed rent scales. 

Basic Income payments are not made under the authority of the Ministry of Community and Social Services Act.  As such, the income exemption provided under Paragraph 5 of Section 50 (3) under Ontario Regulation 298/01 should not be applied to OBIP payments.  

Persons and households deciding to participate in the OBIP, and currently residing in social housing and receiving RGI assistance, will be instructed to contact their local housing administrator to report their enrollment in the OBIP in order to allow the necessary adjustments to be made to their rent calculation.

Individuals interested in more information about the OBIP, may contact the OBIP program at:

Phone: 1-844-217-4516

Any further questions regarding this matter may be directed to Rhona Duncan, Manager, Housing and Homelessness Policy Unit by telephone (416) 585-7228, or by e-mail:

Carol Latimer 
Director, Housing Policy