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Canada's Ontario government cuts basic income project short

Canada's Ontario government cuts basic income project short

A Canadian province has made a decision to end its basic universal income program, which was launched in 2017, after lawmakers decided it was "not sustainable".

"When you're encouraging people to accept money without strings attached, it really doesn't send the message that I think our ministry and our government wants to send".

About 4,000 people were involved in this program from a range of cities, people living on less than $34,000. That translates to a minimum annual income of $17,000 in Canadian dollars (about $13,000 US) for single people, $24,000 for married couples.

Though the Progressive Conservatives had promised to preserve the pilot project, Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said the government reversed course after hearing from ministry staff that the program didn't help people become "independent contributors to the economy".

Basic income programmes are being tested out around the world.

He's one of about a thousand Hamiltonians receiving guaranteed income through the study. "Hell no", she said.

In a supplied backgrounder, the government states it will "wind down" the Ontario basic income pilot project. Numerous program's participants seemed shocked and frustrated to learn that their monetary plan for the next three years was being thrown out the window.

Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal is a big proponent of a guaranteed basic income program
Conservative Sen. Hugh Segal is a big proponent of a guaranteed basic income program

On Wednesday, when asked about breaking that promise, Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod told the legislature "we made a tough decision that is going to be right for the people, but it was a hard decision to make".

"Our plan will help get people back to work and keep them working, while supporting people with disabilities to work when they are able and participate in their communities", said MacLeod.

The PC Party has now introduced an accelerated 100-day deadline to develop and announce a "sustainable" social assistance program.

The Ottawa Food Bank says it's disappointed in the decision by Ontario's PC government to cancel a basic income pilot project, and to pull back on planned increases to social assistance rates.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the Tories had done nothing but tear things down and would continue to do so. MacLeod suggested the basic income pilot was a disincentive to people to find work.

Losing the program is going to make those plans more hard, she said.

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