Three cities in the province of Ontario will try it for three years. Four thousand low-income residents will get monthly checks, regardless if they work or not.
In terms of U.S. dollars, single participants will get up to roughly $12,500 a year. If they work, half the value of their earnings will be taken out of their basic income checks.
The idea is to support those looking for jobs, getting degrees, taking care of families and living on retirement savings.
Others say as more and more traditional jobs become automated and displace workers, a basic income may be necessary for more people in the future.
Manitoba tried a similar basic income experiment in the 1970s, and it found the program didn't make recipients less inclined to work.
But it ran out of funding halfway through, which left its data collection incomplete.
In a recent poll, two-thirds of Canadians supported the idea of basic income, but most were unwilling to pay more taxes to make it happen.