A Canadian province just killed one of the world’s largest basic income pilot projects

  • Ontario’s new premier, Doug Ford, killed its three-year basic income pilot project.
  • The project was started under Ontario’s former government in July of 2017.
  • Ford promised he wouldn’t kill the project during the election campaign.

The new government of Ontario, Canada’s largest province, killed its basic income pilot project on Tuesday.

Nearly 4,000 people in Ontario were receiving a no-strings-attached monthly stipend through the project, which was put into place by former premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal party.

People who made less than $34,000 (CAD) per year were eligible to receive up to $17,000 annually, and couples who made under $48,000 received up to $24,000 per year, minus 50% of any earned income, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reports.

The program was started in July of 2017 and was slated to run for three years. The previous Ontario government estimated the cost of the pilot project to be around $50 million.

Lisa Macleod, Ontario’s Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, told reporters that the project was too expensive and “clearly not the answer for Ontario families.”

“I’m in shock,” Dave Cherkewski, an Ontario man who was receiving a stipend through the project told the CBC. “I had a three-year plan and now it’s gone.” 

Ontario’s new Premier, Doug Ford, ran on a platform much further to the right than Wynne. Ford is the older brother of Rob Ford, the notorious crack-smoking mayor of Toronto. He took office on June 29th.

During the election campaign, Ford promised he wouldn’t kill the basic income project, CBC reports.

Ontario’s basic income project was one of the largest worldwide. The biggest is a 12-year pilot in Kenya

In Finland, where 2,000 unemployed residents are receiving basic income under a pilot, government enthusiasm to expand the project has “evaporated,” one of the experiment’s leaders told the BBC. The project will not be extended beyond this year as a result.

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