Ontario is axing its test of universal basic income

Canadian province scraps ‘not sustainable’ basic income program pilot

"It's reprehensible, reprehensibly irresponsible to announce the end of the pilot without thinking those things through about how they're going to wind up the program and how they are going to support people", he said.

The Ontario government made a decision to ditch its universal income project this week, with Ministers saying the expensive pilot program was "clearly not the answer" for the nation's working families and those below the poverty line.

"They were very clear during the campaign that they had no intention of rolling back the basic income pilot project and now what they've done is kicked thousands of people in the teeth".

When reporters followed up with her she said there's "the decision in the campaign and then you find the realities within your government".

Ontario's new conservative government is ending an unusual experiment in which a basic minimum income with no strings attached is being provided 4,000 people in three communities.

Single participants receive up to $16,989 a year while couples receive up to $24,027, less 50% of any earned income.

The argument is that, if paid universally, basic income would provide a guaranteed safety net. Though a party spokesperson stated during the lead up to the election that the Conservative government, if elected would continue the basic income trial, the officials have apparently changed their minds.

"It was certainly not going to be sustainable".

Although some participants used the money to go back to college or university to boost their odds of rising out of poverty with good jobs, MacLeod branded the pilot program a "disincentive" to finding employment.

NDP legislator Lisa Gretzky, the party's social services critic, said the government had pulled the rug out from under vulnerable Ontarians and would likely continue to do so. "It's possible there may even be an increase in demand for social assistance because of it".

People in Hamilton who were part of the Basic Income Pilot Project say they're shocked and angry after the province cancelled the program yesterday.

With the project already 15 months old, MacLeod said there will be "ample results by the time we end up winding the program down".

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