The province of Ontario, Canada's largest, is testing a new way to help poor people. The poor in three cities will be given money in place of current social welfare programs.The test will last for three years. Randomly selected participants living in three communities in Ontario will be given at least $12,600 a year minus 50% of any income earned from a job to live on. Couples will receive $18,300. Participants must have lived in one of the areas for over a year, be between 18-64 and be living on a lower income.
Ontario is not alone in trying this. Finland launched its own trial in January, and the Scottish government has expressed interest. The program will cost C$50m a year, and will include 4,000 households from across those three communities. By allowing people to keep part of their earnings, the government hopes people will be encouraged to work and not rely solely on assistance.