Anger and outrage, shock and betrayal: Those were some of the raw emotions after one of the world’s largest basic-income experiments was suddenly canceled.
Earlier this week, Doug Ford, the conservative new premier of Ontario, Canada, pulled the rug out from under the experiment, which provided 4,000 people living at or near the poverty line with a stipend.
Ford’s government hasn’t publicly said much about its reasoning for canceling the program, other than claiming it disincentives recipients from finding work.
Business Insider contacted several people who were receiving income under what was supposed to be a three-year pilot project put in place by Ontario’s previous government.
It lasted only one year, despite Ford’s campaign promise to keep the pilot project funded.
“I feel I have been stabbed in the back by my own government,” Alana Baltzer, 29, told Business Insider in an interview. “I honestly have no idea what’s happening next because there has been no communication whatsoever.”
The pilot project was supposed to run for 3 years. It lasted for one.
Basic income is a system in which, ideally, everyone, regardless of income, regularly receives money from the government.
Ontario’s program was a modified basic-income experiment, in which people who received the stipend had to meet a certain income threshold.
Under the program, a person who made less than 34,000 Canadian dollars a year ($26,000 at current exchange rates) was eligible to receive up to CA$17,000 annually, and couples who made under CA$48,000 could receive up to CA$24,000 a year, minus 50% of any earned income.
Kenya, Finland, and a handful of other countries and cities have rolled out experimental basic-income pilots, intending to hand the results over to social scientists and economists to evaluate whether it helps lift people out of poverty.
When Ontario’s previous Liberal government began one of the biggest basic-income experiments in the world in July 2017, extending the pilot project to 4,000 residents,activists around the world were hopeful.