Ontario announces details of 'basic income' trial

Participants in the Canadian pilot scheme will receive an unconditional guaranteed income

Ontario announces details of 'basic income' trial

Picture by: Gregor Fischer/DPA/PA Images

The Canadian province of Ontario has revealed details of its planned 'basic income' trial.

A basic income refers to a guaranteed and unconditional monthly income, which is paid to all citizens.

Proponents of basic incomes argue that it can encourage people to seek work or education without fear of losing unemployment benefits.

The Ontario basic income pilot - which will get underway by the end of the year - will involve 4,000 participants and take place over three years.

Participants will be guaranteed $16,989 (€11,571) for a single person or $24,027 (€16,365) for a couple - less 50% of their earned income.

For example, if a single person earns a net total of $10,000 through part-time work, they will also be guaranteed an additional $11,989 through the basic income scheme - ensuring a total income of $21,989.

Announcing details of the scheme, Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne explained: “Everyone should benefit from Ontario’s economic growth. A basic income will support people in our province who are reaching for a better life.

"It gives people the security of knowing they can cover their basic needs and the ability to earn more through work. I believe this pilot is one way that government can be a force for good."

The trial will look at how a basic income impacts a number of areas - such as mental health, use of healthcare, education, and employment participation.

Ontario is not the only area experimenting with the idea of basic income - a similar trial is currently underway in Finland, with a pilot also planned in the Netherlands.