Canadian province scraps 'basic income' experiment
By ROB GILLIES
Jul. 31, 2018
TORONTO (AP) — Ontario's new conservative government announced Tuesday it is ending an unusual experiment in which a basic minimum income with no strings attached is being provided 4,000 people in three communities.
Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said the government is scrapping the "basic income" project of the previous Liberal government. It was designed to evaluate whether providing more money to people on public assistance or low incomes would make a significant difference in their lives. It was being closely watched by social scientists, economists and policymakers in Canada and around the world.
Those eligible for the experimental program were unemployed or with an annual income below 34,000 Canadian dollars ($26,000) — or under 48,000 Canadians (US$37,000) dollars if they are a couple in certain communities — less 50 percent of any earned income.
MacLeod said program was "not doing what it's intended to do and it's quite expensive." She did not elaborate further.
Technology leaders such as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla founder Elon Musk have promoted the idea as a way to address the potential loss of jobs to automation and artificial intelligence.
Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said cancelling "the unfinished and promising basic income pilot project is a waste and a shame."