Saturday, July 2, 2022

Where Ontario’s main party leaders stand on the top five issues in campaigning

With Ontario’s election campaign entering its final phase, here’s a look at where the Progressives Conservatives, NDPs, Liberals and Greens stand on five issues that are top-notch for voters:

Health care

PC:

Invest $40 billion in hospital infrastructure over 10 years, including $1 billion in hospital projects at Scarborough Health Network and Unity Health.

Invest $142 million to recruit and retain health care workers in underserved communities.

– Reducing barriers to practice for internationally trained health care workers in Ontario.

NDP:

– Start working on PharmaCare for Ontario immediately, rather than waiting for a federal plan, and strengthen and accelerate the expansion of dental care.

Establish universal mental health coverage and invest $130 million over three years in children’s mental health.

– Prescription birth control covered under OHIP, including Plan B, the pill, intrauterine device, implant, shots, patch and ring.

– Introduce a Northern Health Travel Grant Guarantee that ensures Northern residents do not have to wait more than 14 days to be reimbursed for health travel.

– Declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency and accelerate additional supervised consumption sites.

– Hire 30,000 nurses, accelerate the recognition of nursing credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses, and hire 300 doctors in Northern Ontario.

Liberals:

– Hire 100,000 health care workers and train 3,000 new mental health and addiction professionals.

– Clear diagnostic and surgery backlogs with a billion dollar investment and maximize waiting times for surgeries.

– Invest an additional $3 billion in mental health and addiction services and remove the limit on new sites for consumption and treatment services.

– Make sure everyone can contact the family doctor or nurse practitioner within 24 hours, regardless of where they live. Cover tuition costs for medical and nursing students committed to working in a rural or remote community.

– Create an Ontario Women’s Health Strategy. Expand the Ontario Fertility Program to cover one egg freezing cycle.

Greens:

– Include mental health and addictions care in OHIP and reduce mental health care wait times for children and youth to 30 days or less.

– Increase hospital base operating funding by at least five percent year-on-year.

– Invest in nurse practitioner-led clinics in Northern Ontario.

– Expand the number of women’s health clinics and abortion clinics in Ontario.

– Strike a task force to develop policies to address the adverse effects of racism, homophobia and transphobia on mental health and access to health care.

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Accommodation

PC:

Build 1.5 million houses in 10 years.

– Spend $19.2 million over three years to increase capacity at the Ontario Land Tribunal and Landlord and Tenant Board.

– Distribute the housing supply action plan every year for the next four years.

NDP:

– Build 1.5 million homes over 10 years with a mix of starter homes, rental homes and affordable housing.

– Build at least 250,000 affordable and non-market rental homes operated by public, non-profit and cooperative housing providers, and 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade.

Bring back actual fare control and scrap vacancy deregulation.

– Allow first-time buyers with a home income of less than $200,000 to access a home equity loan of up to 10 percent of the purchase price to help with their down payment.

– Eliminate exclusion zoning.

Liberals:

– Build 1.5 million houses in 10 years.

– Work with municipalities to expand zoning options.

– Bring back fare control.

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– Establish an Ontario Home Construction Corporation to finance and build affordable homes.

– Build 78,000 new social and community homes, 38,000 homes in supportive housing, and 22,000 new homes for indigenous peoples.

Greens:

– Build 182,000 sustainably affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 ancillary homes.

– Make inclusive zoning mandatory and require a minimum of 20 per cent affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size.

– End blind bidding. Mandatory home inspection at seller’s expense. Create a new, multi-provider home warranty model for newly built homes.

– Apply multiple home speculative tax on purchase of new homes for buyers who already own two or more houses or condos, starting at 20 percent for the third home purchased and each additional home grow with.

– Restore fare control on all units.

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education

PC:

Invest approximately $6 billion over 10 years in capital projects in the post-secondary education sector.

– Investing $21 billion over the next 10 years, including approximately $14 billion in capital grants, to support the renovation and expansion of school infrastructure and childcare projects.

– Invest $42.5 million over two years starting 2023-24 to support the expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training in the province.

NDP:

– Hire 20,000 teachers and education staff.

– Cap class size for grades 4 to 8 at 24 students and cap all-day kindergarten classes at 26 students.

– Restore the previous Liberal government’s free tuition program, convert secondary student loans into grants and wipe out student loan interest retroactively.

– Apply a $25-per-hour minimum wage for registered early childhood teachers and $20 for other program staff.

Liberals:

– Implement a hard cap of 20 students per class across all grades and hire 10,000 teachers.

– Create an optional Grade 13 resume, hire 1,000 more mental health professionals for students and staff, and hire 5,000 more special education staff.

– Cancel Highway 413 and use $10 billion in planned savings to build 200 more schools and repair another 4,500.

– Add COVID-19 vaccination to the list of mandatory immunizations for school attendance, while retaining the current exemption provisions.

– Double OSAP funding and “substantially” more grants, and eliminate interest on provincial student loans.

Greens:

– Eliminate interest on student loans.

– Convert OSAP loans into grants for middle- and low-income students.

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Affordability

PC:

Increase disability support payment rates by five percent and introduce legislation to link the annual increase to inflation.

– Apply a new Ontario Seniors Care at Home tax credit, which will refund up to 25 percent of eligible expenses up to $6,000 for a maximum credit of $1,500.

– Increase the low-income individuals and family tax credit, increase the maximum benefit from $850 to $875 and allow people up to $50,000 to qualify, up from the $38,000 limit.

NDP:

– Increase the minimum wage to $20 in 2026 with a $1-per-hour increase in 2026.

Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates by 20 percent in the first year and double the rates in the second year, and resume a basic income pilot.

– Implement property tax deferrals for seniors.

– 40 percent reduction in auto insurance rates.

– Control gas prices.

Liberals:

– Reduce all transit fares across the province to $1 per ride and reduce monthly transit passes to $40 by January 2024.

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– Eliminate the provincial portion of HST on prepared foods under $20.

– Increase the minimum wage to $16 an hour by January 1, then work to determine the regional living wage.

Increase disability assistance pay rates by 20 percent and resume a basic income pilot.

– Increase the amount received by pensioners through the Guaranteed Annual Income System to $1,000 and raise the eligibility limit to $25,000 for single senior citizens or $50,000 for couples.

Greens:

– Halve transit fares for three months.

– Double Ontario Disability Assistance Program rates and phase in a basic income.

– Starting at $16 in 2022, raise the minimum wage floor by $1 each year, with top-ups in cities where the cost of living is higher.

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climate

PC:

Investment through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to help build and rehabilitate roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure to support small, rural and northern communities for public safety and to address the impacts from climate change continue.

Invest more than $2 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years for colleges, universities and Indigenous institutions to modernize classrooms for environmental sustainability.

Invest in mining important minerals in the north to provide materials for electric vehicle batteries manufactured in the south of the province.

NDP:

– Reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

– Establish a new cap-and-trade system.

– Offer up to $10,000 in incentives for zero-emissions vehicles, excluding luxury vehicles, and 100% of vehicle sales must be zero-emissions by 2035.

– Expand the Greenbelt.

– Offer grants of $7,000 to $11,000 for energy-efficient upgrades on people’s homes and interest-free financing for costs that exceed that amount.

Liberals:

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Expand the Greenbelt and designate more than 30 percent of Ontario’s land as protected by more than 10 percent.

– Provide 100,000 grants of up to $3,000 per year to people and businesses looking to green renewables and eliminate setup connection fees for rooftop solar panels.

– Offer up to $8,000 off retail prices of $65,000 for electric vehicles and $1,500 for charging equipment, and require all new passenger vehicles sold in Ontario to be zero emissions by 2035.

Plant 80 crore new trees in eight years.

Greens:

– Halve climate pollution by 2030 and reach net zero by 2045.

– Protect 30 percent of land and water in Ontario by 2030, double the size of the greenbelt to include a bluebelt of protected waterways, and implement a moratorium on new gravel mining permits to protect water and farmland.

– Rebate up to $10,000 for electric cars, and $1,000 for e-bikes and used electric cars, and phase out sales of new gas and diesel passenger vehicles, medium-duty trucks and buses by 2030.

Provide grants ranging from $15,000 to $20,000 to homeowners to cover green retrofits such as heat pumps and better insulation and transition homes and offices by 2040 using a combination of solar and heat pumps.

– Establish strict monitoring and enforcement standards for air and water pollution in areas with health risks from multiple industries, such as the Aamjeevanang First Nation.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on May 30, 2022.

canadian press

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