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Ontario election 2022: Top 6 themes and how parties commit to addressing the issues

Highlights were taken from platforms posted online by the four major parties.
Elections Ontario voting screen

As the general Ontario election date draws closer and with advance voting in full swing, attention to the platforms and casting a ballot is ramping up.

CityNews is taking a look at the key issues that have arisen during the campaign and ones repeatedly raised during the last term of office.

Here are highlights of what the four major parties — the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the Ontario NDP, the Ontario Liberal Party and the Green Party of Ontario — are committing to after the June 2 vote.

These highlights were taken from platforms posted online by the Ontario NDP, the Ontario Liberal Party and the Green Party of Ontario. Many of the Ontario PC Party highlights were taken from the budget tabled just before the legislature was dissolved for the Ontario election campaign as the party’s website pointed to that document versus a separate, detailed election platform.

The excerpts below don’t necessarily include all of the platform commitments related to the topics or other elements contained in each document.

The parties included in this list all had at least one MPP elected in the 2018 Ontario election under each party banner and the order of the parties is based on the descending order of total MPPs in each caucus at the time the legislature was dissolved.

Economy, jobs and taxes

Ontario PC Party

  • Balance the budget in 2027-28
  • Implement a new Ontario Seniors Care at Home tax credit that would refund up to 25 per cent of eligible expenses up to $6,000, for a maximum credit of $1,500.
  • Enhance the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit, boosting the maximum benefit to $875 from $850 and allowing people making up to $50,000 to qualify, up from a limit of $38,000
  • Move some provincial agencies (e.g. WSIB) out of Toronto in a bid to save on real estate costs and bring jobs to other regions
  • Make film and television productions distributed exclusively online eligible for a credit, scrap a rule that limited tax credits to books with more than 500 hard copy editions published
  • Invest an additional $114.4 million over three years in a skilled trades strategy, provide an additional $268.5 million over three years to Employment Ontario
  • Invest an additional $15.1 million over three years to improve and expand the Immigrant Nominee Program
  • Introduce a legislative amendment to raise compensation for workers injured on the job
  • Implement five-year critical minerals strategy

Ontario NDP

  • Make high-speed internet available provincewide by 2025
  • Freeze taxes for low- and middle-income families
  • Raise the minimum wage to $20 in 2026 with $1-an-hour increases annually
  • Require employers to provide 10 permanent personal emergency leave days
  • Implement a four-day work week pilot project
  • Create Ontario Benefits program to ensure all workers (including part-time and casual) have access to medical benefits such as dental and vision
  • Strengthen Employment Standards Act to better protect workers from being fired without cause
  • Making it easier for employees to unionize with 55 per cent approval, end contract flipping
  • Stop temporary and gig workers from being classified as independent contractors, bringing greater protections
  • Move to redirect WSIB surpluses to clearing worker claims
  • Create recruitment, training programs for people from equity-deserving communities
  • Two more rounds of small business COVID-19 recovery grants, another tourism recovery program grant

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Balance the budget by 2026-27, but making room for “unforeseen circumstances” and not if it comes at the cost of health or education investments.
  • Remove provincial HST on prepared food (e.g. restaurant meals, to-go meals) under $20
  • Charging one per cent surtax on businesses that had profits over $1 billion
  • Two per cent income tax increase for people who have earn more than $500,000 annually
  • Create health benefits package for all workers in Ontario who don’t have coverage, including people self-employed, gig and contract workers, opt out available to employees
  • Banning employers from requesting sick notes to access leave
  • Require employers to provide 10 paid, job-protected sick days for workers
  • Give businesses up to $200 a day to compensate for costs of workers taking more sick days
  • Work with businesses, unions to design and evaluate four-day work week model
  • Suspend corporate income tax for small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19 for two years, relief scared to losses and eliminated if more than 50 per cent of revenues were lost
  • Drop incorporation fees for new businesses, launch 311-like service for businesses to navigate government supports
  • Work with the federal government to give Ontario more control over immigration to the province, appoint a dedicated immigration minister to help newcomers work in their areas of expertise, strike a northern immigration advisory panel of regional municipal leaders and economic development officers to ensure a new immigration system is “in the best interests of the north”

Green Party of Ontario

  • Increase minimum wage to $16 in 2022, increase a dollar each year after with a top-up in cities with higher cost of living
  • Increase number of protected sick days to 10 from three, provide financial support for small businesses to help
  • Ban employers from requiring sicknotes
  • Introduce gig workers’ bill of rights, ensure all workers (part-time, gig, temporary) have equal access to employment rights and benefits
  • Ensure major infrastructure projects have local economic benefits
  • Rent control guidelines for all commercial tenants, protect existing tenants during lease renewals with standardized leases
  • Add one-per-cent climate surcharge to Ontario’s top 10 per cent of income earners, redirect $6 billion to low-income households as “climate bonus”
  • Free college tuition for 60,000 people over four years to train or retrain in jobs that support green economy
  • Create “hundreds of thousands” of new jobs through retrofitting 40 per cent of Ontario’s existing homes and businesses

Education and schools

Ontario PC Party

  • Expanding granting of college degrees to help graduates in applied fields and allow students to gain the education, experience and skills to enter the workforce faster
  • Introducing a new science and technology curriculum and de-streaming the Grade 9 science course for the 2022–23 school year
  • Reducing child care fees by 50 per cent by the end of 2022, aiming for $10/day child care by September 2025

Ontario NDP

  • Hire 20,000 teachers and education workers
  • Cap class sizes for Grades 4 through 8 at 24 students, full-day kindergarten classes at 26 students
  • Cancel EQAO standardized testing
  • Scrap the requirement for two online courses for high school graduation
  • Restore the previous government’s free tuition program, convert post-secondary student loans to grants, retroactively erase student loan interest
  • Implement a $25-an-hour minimum wage for registered early childhood educators and $20 for other program staff
  • Expand high school trades, shop classes

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Provide free tuition for early childhood education college programs
  • Cap class sizes at 20 students for all grades
  • Hire more than 10,000 teachers, one new special education worker for every school
  • Optional Grade 13 for students at all schools
  • Introduce new credit courses in mental health, financial literacy and taxes
  • Give “significantly more grants” for students who accessed OSAP, eliminate interest payments for current and future loans, increasing support for trades apprentices

Green Party of Ontario

  • Cap class sizes in Grades 4 to 8 at 24, kindergarten at 26
  • Drop EQAO testing
  • Start a province-wide nutritious school lunch program
  • Collection and reporting of race-based data at school to address racism
  • Update curriculum to include “informed discussions” of anti-Black racism, discrimination, and LGBTQ2S+ prejudice
  • Restore funding for, and develop a, mandatory curriculum on colonialism, residential schools, Indigenous histories and experiences
  • Convert OSAP loans to grants for low- and middle-income students, eliminate interest charges on debt
  • Index post-secondary institution operating grants to a national weighted average followed by annual inflationary increases
  • Environment and climate change

Ontario PC Party

  • Spend more than $1 billion building five transmission lines to address growing electricity demand in the regions of London, Windsor and, driven by growth in the electric vehicle, battery manufacturing and greenhouse sectors
  • Spend $91 million to help make electric vehicle (EV) chargers more accessible to the public across the province
  • Create new provincial park

Ontario NDP

  • Offer grants between $7,000 to $11,000 for energy efficient upgrades on people’s homes and interest-free financing for costs over that amount, retrofit programs for businesses
  • Reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050
  • Establish a new cap-and-trade system
  • Offer up to $10,000 incentives for zero-emission vehicles, excluding luxury vehicles
  • Expand the Greenbelt
  • Ban non-medical single-use plastics by 2024
  • Plant one billion trees by 2030
  • Establish a Youth Climate Corps
  • Mandate all newly built public, residential and commercial buildings to have net-zero emissions by 2030
  • Have 100 per cent of vehicle sales be zero emission by 2035
  • Electrify all municipal transit by 2040
  • Give households $600 to install electric vehicle charging stations

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Cut greenhouse gas emissions 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, net-zero emissions by 2050
  • “Making electric vehicles more affordable”
  • “Preparing our homes for climate change”
  • Expand Ontario’s Greenbelt, designate 30 per cent of land as protected by 2030
  • Create five new provincial parks
  • Plant 100 million trees a year for eight years, focusing on restoring ecosystems and protecting drinking water

Green Party of Ontario

  • Cut carbon pollution in half by 2030, net-zero emissions by 2045
  • Eliminate fossil fuels from electricity generation, stop new fossil fuel infrastructure by 2025
  • Double Ontario’s electricity supply by 2040 with clean energy sources, no new nuclear plants
  • Give up to $10,000 for buying a fully electric vehicle and $1,000 for an e-bike or used electric vehicle, stop sales of new gas passenger vehicles, buses and medium duty trucks by 2030
  • Boost number of electric vehicle charging stations, requiring stations to be installed at all new or resurfaced parking lots by 2023, change building code to ensure charging stations can be accommodated
  • Stop fossil fuel use at new and renovated Ontario government buildings by 2025, all government buildings by 2030
  • Protect at least 25 per cent of lands and water by 2025 and 2030
  • Double size of the Greenbelt, strengthen Greenbelt Act and make new highways in it illegal
  • Boost recycling standards, ban food waste from landfields
  • Freeze all urban boundaries, permanently protect prime farmland
  • Create five new provincial parks

Health care and COVID-19

Ontario PC Party

  • Invest an additional $1 billion in home care over three years
  • Spend more than $40 billion on health care facility expansion and renovation infrastructure projects over 10 years, including a new patient tower at Scarborough Health Network’s Birchmount hospital, turning Peel Memorial into an inpatient hospital, rebuilding Mississauga Hospital and four new long-term care homes in the GTA
  • Spend $3.5 billion over three years starting in 2022–23 to support the over 3,000 hospitals beds put in place during the pandemic
  • Spend $2.8 billion over the next three years to make the temporary wage enhancement program for personal support workers permanent
  • Spend $142 million to recruit and retain health care workers in underserved communities
  • Reduce barriers to make it easier and quicker for foreign-credentialled health workers to begin practicing in Ontario
  • Spend $764 million to give nurses a $5,000 lump sum retention bonus
  • Spend $124.2 million over three years to modernize clinical education for nurses
  • Spend $42.5 million over two years beginning in 2023–24 to support the expansion of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education and training in Ontario
  • Spend $230 million in 2022/2023 to enhance health care capacity including critical care in hospitals
  • Spend $300 million in 2022/2023 as part of the province’s Surgical Recovery Strategy to combat the surgical backlog brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Spend $3.5 million in 2022/2023 to improve emergency readiness in the event of major emergencies
  • Spend $15 million over three years in a new Life Sciences Innovation Program to help develop therapeutics and medical and digital technologies
  • Spend $204 million to build on investments in mental health supports

Ontario NDP

  • $1 billion in home care in an effort to keep seniors living at home longer, implement property tax deferrals for seniors
  • Declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency and expedite additional supervised consumption sites
  • Expand Peel Memorial to include a 24-hour emergency department, build a new full-service hospital in Brampton and establish a dedicated cancer centre
  • Make dental care free for households earning less than $90,000 and make it cheaper — on a sliding scale — for households earning between $90,000 and $200,000
  • Guarantee quick job offers for 2,000 internationally educated nurses by investing $60 million to expand the Nursing Graduate Guarantee program
  • Begin working immediately on pharmacare for Ontario instead of waiting for a federal plan
  • Hire 10,000 personal support workers, give them a raise. Hire 30,000 nurses, expedite recognition of nursing credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses
  • Scrap Bill 124, which limits public sector compensation increases
  • Hire 300 doctors in northern Ontario, including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners
  • Introduce a Northern Health Travel Grant Guarantee that ensures northern residents don’t have to wait longer than 14 days to be reimbursed for health travel
  • Fund travel accommodations for medical residents to take elective rotations in rural and northern communities, create more residency rotation positions to help retain doctors in the north
  • End health-care user fees, such as doctors’ notes
  • Hold a public inquiry into the Ontario government’s COVID-19 response
  • Cover prescription birth control under OHIP, including Plan B, the pill, intrauterine devices, implants, shots, patches and rings
  • Establish a caregiver benefit program to provide $400 a month to informal caregivers who don’t qualify for existing federal tax credits or respite care
  • Build a new public and non-profit home and community care and long-term care system
  • Establish universal mental health coverage, create Mental Health Ontario agency
  • Invest $130 million over three years in children’s mental health, boost funding to Canadian Mental Health Association branches by eight per cent
  • Invest $10 million more in mobile crisis services
  • Invest an additional $7 million for safe bed programs to support mobile crisis teams

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Put $1 billion over two years toward clearing a surgical backlog, and put the additional funding into allowing hospitals to operate “significantly” above pre-pandemic volumes and expand operating room and diagnostic procedures into evenings and weekends
  • Create maximum wait times for surgeries, return to pre-pandemic wait times by end of 2022
  • Home care guarantee for seniors, increased financial support for caregivers and home safety retrofits
  • Raise base pay for personal support workers to $25 an hour
  • Repeal Bill 124, which limits public sector compensation increases
  • Boost number of family doctors and increase funding for family health teams, community health centres, nurse practioner-led clinics
  • Train 3,000 new mental health and addictions professionals, hire 1,000 more workers for children
  • Have mental health responders at 911 centres, emergency rooms
  • Guarantee access to mental health services for all health professionals
  • Expand, reduce publicly covered mental health and addiction care wait times

Green Party of Ontario

  • Increase annual hospital base operating funding year over year by a minimum of five per cent
  • Work with federal government to implement universal dental care, pharmacare
  • Increase nursing enrolments by 10 per cent a year for seven years, boost number of nurse practitioners by 50 per cent by 2030 (target 30,000 more nurses)
  • Increase OHIP-covered care for rare diseases such as long-COVID, lyme disease, chronic pain disorders
  • Expand family health teams, community health centres, midwifery services
  • Repeal Bill 124
  • Conduct independent public inquiry into Ontario government’s handling of COVID-19
  • Build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041
  • Increase long-term care base finding by 10 per cent
  • Boost mental health spending to 10 per cent of Ontario’s health care budget to expand services
  • Create three-digit, 24-7 mental health crisis response line to divert calls from 911 to “a more appropriate service”
  • Build 60,000 supportive housing spaces for people who need addiction care with 6,000 of those units dedicated to people with complex care needs

Housing and affordability

Ontario PC Party

  • Increase disability support payment (ODSP) rates by five per cent and introduce legislation to tie annual increases to inflation
  • Build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years
  • Invest $45 million for a new Streamline Development Approval Fund to help modernize, streamline and accelerate processes for managing and approving housing applications
  • Investing over $19 million over three years to help reduce backlogs at the Ontario Land Tribunal, as well as the Landlord and Tenant Board
  • Exploring the use of vacant house taxes
  • Temporarily cut the gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre and the fuel tax by 5.3 cents per litre for six months beginning on July 1

Ontario NDP

  • End exclusionary zoning, bring back rent control, create a portable housing benefit.
  • Reduce auto insurance rates by 40 per cent, enact an 18-month ban on auto insurance rate increases, create an Ontario Auto Insurance Fair Pricing Commission to explore reforms such as the possibility of a public system
  • Increase ODSP to double the current rate in a second year, increase Ontario Works rates
  • Restart a basic income pilot
  • Build 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade and update 260,000 social housing units to extend lifespan
  • Regulate gas prices through the Ontario Energy Board to ensure prices are “fair, stable and competitive”

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Reinstate rent control as it existed before the 2018 election (landlords could only raise rent at a set rate each year during a lease, usually between 0.5 and three per cent. That’s still in place for units built before 2018, but those created after are not subject to rent control)
  • Ensure everyone can access a family doctor or nurse practitioner within 24 hours, regardless of where they live. Cover tuition costs for medical and nursing students who commit to working in a rural or remote community
  • Build 1.5 million homes over 10 years and work with municipalities to expand zoning options
  • Establish the Ontario Home Building Corporation to finance and build affordable homes, build 78,000 new social and community homes, 38,000 supportive housing homes and 22,000 new homes for Indigenous people
  • Opening up provincial land by burying electric transmission lines, using underutilized strip malls for affordable housing
  • New taxes on vacant homes in urban areas, for developers holding onto land
  • Raise minimum wage to $16 and create living wage for different parts of the province
  • Add an extra $1,000 a year to boost seniors’ pensions, increase income eligibility threshold to $25,000 for single seniors and $50,000 for couples
  • Bring back basic income pilot project started by previous Liberal government
  • Increase ODSP rates by 20 per cent, let recipients keep more employment earnings

Green Party of Ontario

  • Phase-in basic income with first step of doubling ODSP and OW rates
  • Build 182,000 permanently affordable community housing rental homes
  • Build 1.5 million homes within existing urban boundaries over the next 10 years
  • Mandate inclusionary zoning and require at least 20 per cent of units to be affordable in all projects “above a certain size”
  • Allow single-family dwellings to be converted into multiple condo units
  • Reinstate rent controls on all units, put in place vacancy control to limit increases between tenancies
  • Implement multiple property speculation, anti-flipping (on quick turnarounds) taxes
  • Work to reinstate goal to end homelessness with 10 years

Transportation and infrastructure

Ontario PC Party

  • Spend $25.1 billion over 10 years for planning and/or construction of highway expansion or rehabilitation projects across Ontario, including plans to build Highway 413 across Halton, Peel and York regions and the Bradford Bypass connecting Highways 400 and 404
  • Spend $61.6 billion over 10 years on public transit projects such as building the Ontario Line, Scarborough and Yonge North subway extensions, Eglinton Crosstown West LRT extension, restoration of Ontario Northlander Timmins-Toronto train service
  • As part of transit spending, “transforming” GO Transit with electrification and increased service along with expanding service to Bowmanville and increasing Toronto-London rail service
  • Continue with work to build road infrastructure to the Ring of Fire
  • Continue with pre-election elimination of tolls on Highways 412 and 418, licence plate sticker fees

Ontario NDP

  • Cancel Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass
  • Restore provincial funding for transit operating costs to 50 per cent net costs
  • Implement 10-minute-or-better service guarantee for TTC, adding wi-fi on subways
  • Implement two-hour, flat-rate fare across Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area municipal transit, transfer to and from GO Transit at no extra cost
  • Transition winter road maintenance back to public sector
  • Improve all-day two-way GO train service between Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto, expand year-round daily-or-better service to Bowmanville, Grimsby and Niagara
  • Extend Hurontario LRT (to be called Hazel McCallion LRT on completion) to downtown Brampton, restore downtown loop
  • Make Metrolinx more transparent and accountable, more public involvement at board meetings and at all stages during key decisions, add municipal participation to board
  • Upgrade Highway 11/17, Highway 69, expand Highway 7
  • Fully restore the Northlander passenger rail service, support Huron Central and Algoma Central rail lines

Ontario Liberal Party

  • Cancel Highway 413 project, use $10 billion from that toward building new schools
  • Provide subsidies to public transit providers (including GO Transit, Ontario Northland) in order to temporarily cut transit fares to $1 a ride and monthly passes capped at $40
  • Extend Eglinton Crosstown LRT east to UTSC and Malvern
  • Expand GO train service to Bowmanville, electrify and expand GO train network in Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
  • Extend Hurontario LRT to Brampton GO station
  • Provide $375 million in extra operating funding for transit providers
  • Fare-free transit for veterans
  • Ensure the completion of several northern highway projects, including the four-laning of highways 69 and 11/7 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon, and the reconstruction of Highway 101 in Timmins
  • Introduce a refundable tax credit of $75 per winter tire and $100 per studded tire in northern Ontario
  • Restore service on the Northlander rail line from Toronto to North Bay within two years and plan for passenger rail further north, including extending the Polar Bear Express south to Timmins
  • Construct new roads to access the Ring of Fire
  • Give northern municipalities a rebate of five per cent of the provincial mining tax

Green Party of Ontario

  • Cancel Highway 413, Bradford Bypass and Highway 417 widening
  • Create dedicated truck lanes on Highway 407 to reduce congestion, help with goods movement
  • Cut all public transit (including GO Transit and Ontario Northland) fares in half for at least 3 months
  • Restore 50-per-cent provincial funding for transit operations
  • Electrify Ontario’s transit system and add 4,000 electric and fuel-cell buses by 2030
  • Triple number of dedicated bus lanes by 2025
  • Expand all-day, two-way GO service to every 15 minutes at peak and 30 minutes during off-peak hours and weekends
  • Fully fund Northlander passenger train service
  • Require bike storage and e-bike charging at all multi-unit buildings, surface parking lots, government buildings

With files from Meredith Bond and CityNews staff, and The Canadian Press

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