Ontario is pulling the plug early on a universal basic income pilot project intended to last three years. The program, which was launched in April of 2017 was, shockingly, found to be far too expensive and simply unsustainable. (Who would have guessed?)
Universal basic income is “clearly not the answer for Ontario families,” explained Children, Community, and Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod, adding that the program was “not sustainable.”
Though the welfare program was intended to last three years, it will be coming to an end this week, announced MacLeod. She promised the program’s exit would be done “ethically” and would provide “more detail at a later date.”
Roughly 4,000 Canadians, regardless of unemployment status, are enrolled in the program. “[A] single person could have received up to about $17,000 a year, minus half of any income he or she earned. A couple could have received up to $24,000 per year. People with disabilities could have received an additional $6,000,” reports CBC.
MacLeod was lambasted for pulling the plug on the unsustainable system by Canadian politicians and program recipients. Andrea Horwath, the Ontario provincial NDP leader, for example, said the call to end the program was “shameful.”
“And this callous, mean-spirited premier sees this as a priority? Making poverty worse? Making life worse for families? Absolutely disgraceful. Shameful,” blasted Horwath.
Dave Cherkewski, a program recipient, complained, “I had a three-year plan and now it’s gone.”
MacLeod, who has 100 days to implement a “sustainable” welfare system, said the goal should be to help people exit a life of poverty. “We need to do more than just help people remain mired in poverty,” she noted. “We’re going to hit the pause button on the previous government’s patchwork system and replace it with a system that helps stabilize people in need and support them to succeed.”