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Canadian province scraps 'not sustainable' basic income program pilot

A Canadian province has decided to end its basic universal income program, which was launched in 2017, after lawmakers decided it was "not sustainable." (Derek Brumby/Getty Images)

A Canadian province has decided to scrap its universal basic income pilot after lawmakers decided it was "quite expensive" and "not sustainable," The Guardian reported.

“It was certainly not going to be sustainable. Spending more money on a broken program wasn’t going to help anyone," Lisa MacLeod, the Ontario minister responsible for social services, told reporters Tuesday.

MacLeod, who's a member of Ontario's new Progressive Conservative party, described the program as "quite expensive."

The pilot program, launched in 2017 by the previous Liberal government, was expected to last three years, according to The Guardian.

The decision comes as some U.S. cities including Chicago, are toying with the idea of testing universal basic income. Others, such as Stockton, California, have already put the wheels in motion.

How did the program work?

The government touted the C$150 million (about $115 million) three-year plan as a way to cure poverty, bloated bureaucracy and the rise of precarious work, The Guardian reported.

It recruited 4,000 participants from three regions across Ontario. Some participants had low-paying or insecure jobs, while others were on social assistance.

Social scientists tracked whether the payments improved health, education or housing outcomes.

MacLeod said the program was "clearly not the answer for Ontario families," but she didn't provide data backing the decision to end it.

Has it worked in other countries?

Earlier this year, Finland announced its plans to ditch its two-year basic income experiment by the end of the year. The Finland test gave 2,000 unemployed citizens €560 per month (about $652) with no strings attached and no requirement to gain employment.

One last thing…
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