Ontario is axing its test of universal basic income

Ontario's Children Community and Social Services Minister Lisa Macleod attends Question Period at Queen's Park in Toronto on Tuesday

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The first steps of the new government of Ontario will be aiming at the abolition of the Liberal party proposed a plan to increase payments to social programs Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works 3%.

The Ontario PC government actually announced it is raising social assistance rates by 1.5 per cent, but that is half of the three per cent increase the previous Liberal government announced in its pre-election budget.

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".

Asked how the government determined the pilot was ineffective before it was over, MacLeod simply said the program was "not doing what it's meant to do and it's quite expensive".

Ziegner says she is "overwhelmed" when thinking about how the families who had previously signed up for the program are feeling.

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"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", MacLeod said in a press release.

The pilot program's end will leave many of those people in financial, and sometimes psychological, turmoil, he contends.

"He's targeting kids, those with mental-health challenges and people struggling in poverty", said Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who also represents Hamilton Centre.

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

Ms. MacLeod said that although the planned hikes were cancelled, the government would allow a 1.5-per-cent increase to the two programs later this year.

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One program recipient, who has lived in poverty for 15 years, told Business Insider that the basic income pilot was "a huge ray of hope", and that the future is now uncertain. Suggesting the program discouraged participants from finding work.

In a supplied backgrounder, the government states it will "wind down" the Ontario basic income pilot project.

"What I'm announcing today is about restoring dignity to Ontarians", she said.

Under the project, randomly selected participants living in three communities in Ontario were being given at least C$16,989 ($12,600, £9,850) a year to live on, minus 50% of any earned income.

MacLeod later admitted that the cancellation of the pilot was a broken campaign promise. In Silicon Valley in particular, many have championed basic income as the answer to the question of how society should deal with large-scale job automation-but real-world data on whether such a program is even a good idea has been lacking.

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