Canada's Ontario government cuts basic income project short

Canadian province scraps ‘not sustainable’ basic income program pilot

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The minister has been criticized for not allowing the program - a tiny fraction of the province's annual budget - to continue by Segal, who wrote a scathing opinion piece in Thursday's Globe and Mail calling MacLeod's decision "callous and mean-spirited".

Joe Marczi has been getting $1,900 a month since February from the basic income pilot project, and was expecting that money for the next 3 years.

The basic income pilot project was introduced in April 2017 and was tested in Hamilton, Brantford, Brant County, Lindsay and Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.

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

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He said a Basic Income reduces red tape for the poor, saves money in healthcare and decreases the burden on the criminal justice system.

He's one of about a thousand Hamiltonians receiving guaranteed income through the study. When pressed several times she said "we had a platform and this was not in the platform".

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".

In a supplied backgrounder, the government states it will "wind down" the Ontario basic income pilot project. Suggesting the program discouraged participants from finding work.

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The decision was made as part of a commitment to reform the province's social assistance system.

MacLeod trotted out new arguments for ending the three-year pilot program, which cost $50 million annually, saying that to adopt it province-wide would cost $17 billion - about $7 billion more than is now spent on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program for about 1 million Ontarians.

"It was certainly not going to be sustainable", MacLeod said.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the Tories had done nothing but tear things down and would continue to do so. "The basic income program is now in a pilot stage", she said, "and we look forward to seeing the results".

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In a TVO panel on health care the Green Party says now deputy premier Christine Elliott confirmed that her party would keep the pilot program.

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