The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Board of Health is upset at the cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot.

Board of Health Chair for the SMDHU Scott Warnock sent a letter to Minister for Children, Community and Social Services, Lisa MacLeod asking the government to reverse its decision to scrap the plan that would see at-risk individuals receive a minimum living allowance.

While there are no program participants in the Simcoe Muskoka area, Warnock says there would be benefits to people living in the area if it were to spread to other parts of the province.

Warnock asked MacLeod “to In the immediate future maintain the planned increase to social assistance rates.”

Citing 12 percent of the public in the Simcoe Muskoka area live in low income, Warnock wants the government to resume the pilot project. It was one of a number of promises by Premier Doug Ford to get government spending under control.

The letter goes on to state: “Those living with a lower income in our region are at far greater risk of experiencing a lower life expectancy — two and a half years less for females and five years less for males, compared to those with the highest income.”

Warnock concludes the letter by asking the government “to maintain this pilot and its planned evaluation, so that future generations may benefit from this learning.”