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Basic Income Pilot Project in Ontario – Decision to scrap it made before any results could be gleaned

Premier Doug Ford’s decision to scrap Ontario’s basic income pilot project was made before any results could be gleaned from the program, making it impossible to determine whether it was a success.

That’s the opinion of at least one researcher who was on the academic team assembled to study the results of the three-year, $150-million program that launched last year.

Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said the government decided to end the program after being informed by ministry officials that it was failing to help people become “independent contributors to the economy.”

Economists question implementation

Some economists here in Canada have taken issue with the project’s design.

Kevin Milligan, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, tweeted on Tuesday that the project simply reinforced our understanding “of the nefarious effects of complex application forms.”

“The Ontario govt literally couldn’t give money away in part because of a 40 page application form,” he said in the tweet.

PC voter worried about family’s future without basic income pilot
Stephen Gordon, an economics professor at Laval University, agreed that the complex application form posed problems and led to serious sample-selection issues.

“They had a heck of a hard time getting people to answer it,” he said.

Gordon said the results could be skewed because only a certain type of personality may have been willing to wade through the burdensome application process. That means the sample of participants might not be entirely random.

Plus, he said, pilot projects are explicitly temporary, so the participants might act differently in a three-year program than they would if they knew they were receiving money indefinitely.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the decision to end the project was ‘absolutely disgraceful.’ (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)

Another problem is that the project was not financed by increasing taxes in the sample cities, he said.

“It was literally free money that fell from heaven. That’s not how this is going to work. If Ontario decided to roll this out across the province, where are they going get that money from?” Gordon said.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Ford government ditched basic income pilot project before any data landed, researcher says | CBC News

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