The 2017–2018 basic income pilot in the Canadian province of Ontario attempted to alleviate poverty in a precarious economy. With three communities participating, we examine how the pilot was framed by local media, permitting a look at the narratives that were dominant in the participating communities. In essence, were recipients framed as “deserving?” How the media addresses this question can set the foundation for whether policymakers can proceed with basic income. Given that media coverage of poverty alleviation in the United States generally follows an episodic frame, which puts focus on individuals and their particular circumstances (i.e. lifestyle choices), while major Canadian media generally shows a mix of frames, results of a media content analysis at the local level shows basic-income pilot was covered mainly through thematic frames, which emphasizes systemic factors and more general social conditions, which support state action on basic income.