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Canada election: Complete list of affordability-related promises made during the 2021 campaign

Here’s a running list of the affordability-related promises that Justin Trudeau, Erin O’Toole, Annamie Paul, Jagmeet Singh, and Yves-Francois Blanchet have made from the time the campaign starts to election day:

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Conservative Promises

Aug. 16: In their 160-page platform, The Conservatives say they will scrap the Liberals’ $30-billion child-care program, and turn it into a refundable tax credit, which the party said would cover up to 75 per cent of the child-care cost for lower-income families.

  • The Tories say they will create the Canada Seniors Care benefit, paying $200 per month per household to any Canadian who is living with and taking care of a parent over 70.
  • The Conservatives said they have a plan to “ensure that Canadians get the banking services they need at a price they can afford” by bringing in legislation on open banking, a regulatory framework that lets consumers decide how to share banking data with their financial service providers. It can also help to facilitate the movement of this information from one institution to another.
  • The Tories say they will launch a “Super EI” program that would temporarily increase the benefits (75 per cent of salary instead of 55 per cent) when a province goes into recession.
  • The Tories plan to launch a portable savings account for gig workers that will require gig economy companies to make contributions equivalent to CPP and EI premiums every time they pay their workers. The money will grow tax-free and the worker can withdraw it when needed.
  • O’Toole’s platform pledges to increase the maximum fine for price-fixing to $100 million from $24 million — and promises to introduce criminal penalties for executives found to have fixed food prices.

Aug. 19: The Tories plan to build one million homes in the next three years.

  • The Conservatives say that in an effort to encourage Canadians to invest in rental housing, they will extend the ability to defer capital gains tax when selling a rental property and reinvesting in rental housing, something that is currently excluded.
  • The Tories say they will remove the requirement for a stress test when a homeowner renews a mortgage with another lender, in an effort to increase competition and provide more options. They also plan to increase the limit on eligibility for mortgage insurance and index it to home price inflation, allowing those in pricey housing markets with less than a 20 per cent down-payment an opportunity at home-ownership.

Aug. 20: Erin O’Toole says his government would pay a 25-per-cent subsidy for all net new hires for six months, with up to an additional 25 per cent top-up depending on if the worker had been unemployed for several months.

Aug. 24: If elected, Erin O’Toole promises a Conservative government will give priority to pensioners over companies and most other creditors during bankruptcy or restructuring proceedings. O’Toole said his government would amend legislation to prevent executives from paying themselves bonuses while steering a company through restructuring unless the pension plan is fully funded.

Aug. 26: Erin O’Toole announces a Conservative government would require gig economy companies to make contributions equivalent to Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance premiums into a portable employee savings account each time they pay their workers. The tax-free funds can be used to pay CPP premiums or accumulate savings that can be withdrawn by the worker at their discretion.

Aug. 27:  O’Toole pledges an increase to EI benefits for seriously ill workers from 26 to 52 weeks.

Sept. 7: The Conservatives promise to allow international telecommunications companies to provide services in Canada.

Sept. 13: O’Toole promises to allow new parents to earn up to $1,000 per month without it affecting their maternity or parental leave payments. He is also promising to expand the Canada Child Benefit to start at the seventh month of pregnancy instead of at childbirth.

Liberal Promises

Aug. 17: Trudeau said if his government is re-elected, the Liberals will reduce fees for child care by 50 per cent on average in the next year and deliver $10-a-day on average child care within five years everywhere outside of Quebec.

Aug. 20: The Liberals have promised to provide 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers. The amendment to the Criminal Code would come within the first 100 days of a new mandate, Trudeau said.

Aug. 24: Trudeau laid out a three-point plan he says will improve housing affordability. The plan proposes billions of dollars for more housing, as well as banning blind bidding and foreign buyers, while creating a legal right to a home inspection and establishing a new tax-free savings account for young first-time home buyers.

Aug. 26: Trudeau promised to increase the guaranteed income supplement by $500 for individuals and $750 for senior couples. This supplement typically goes to low-income seniors.

Sept. 1: In their 82-page platform, the Liberals pledge to extend EI benefits to self-employed Canadians, boost Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) payments and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits for some seniors, and scrap the federal portion of the interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, among other initiatives. That’s in addition to promises on affordable childcare and housing previously announced on the campaign trail.

  • The Liberals propose to introduce a new EI benefit for self-employed Canadians similar to one that EI-eligible employees currently get.
  • The Liberals promise to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by $500 a year for single seniors and $750 for couples, starting at age 65. They also want to raise the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent.
  • The party proposes to eliminate the federal portion of the interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans. It also pledges to raise the income threshold under which Canadians would be eligible to make no payments on their Canada Student Loans from the current limit of $25,000 a year to $50,000 a year. As well, the Liberals want to allow new parents to pause repayment of their federal student loans until their youngest child reaches the age of five.
  • The Liberals say they want to establish a “minimum tax rule” that would ensure Canadians in the highest income-tax bracket would pay a tax rate of at least 15 per cent per year. The measure would be aimed at removing high earners’ “ability to artificially pay no tax through excessive use of deductions and credits,” the platform says.
  • The Liberals pledge to create a new Canada Disability Benefit for low-income Canadians with disabilities aged 18 to 64.

Sept. 6: The Liberals promised to expand the Canada Workers Benefit to an additional one million Canadians in low-wage jobs. They also pledged to introduce a new Labour Mobility Tax Credit to allow building and construction trades workers to deduct up to $4,000 in eligible expenses when they need to travel or temporarily relocate for a job, for a tax credit of up to $600 per year.

Sept. 7: The Liberals vowed to stop “renovictions” and deter “unfair” rent increases that fall outside a normal change in rent.

NDP Promises

Aug. 18: The NDP say they will make housing more affordable for Canadian families.

  • Party leader Jagmeet Singh has vowed “to get big money out of Canada’s housing market and help young Canadians and families buy a home they can afford.
  • The NDP say they will go after big money investors by introducing a 20 per cent Foreign Buyer’s tax on the sale of homes for people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • The party says they will target money laundering and organized crime within the housing sector “by making it harder to hide behind nameless companies and by giving regulators more teeth.”
  • The party has also pledged to build 500,000 affordable homes in ten years, if elected.

Aug. 21: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will offer up to $5,000 in rental support for families if he is elected prime minister in this year’s federal election. He also said he will end “renovictions” by tightening rules on developers.

  • Singh says he would “close loopholes” and increase taxes on wealthy corporations like Amazon, which don’t pay taxes in Canada.

Aug. 25: An NDP government under Leader Jagmeet Singh would lower cellphone and internet bills. Singh says he’ll work with the CRTC to force large telecommunications companies to reduce prices on all of their plans and cap their fees below the global average.

Aug. 26: Singh says his government would double the first-time homeowner’s credit to $1,500 and transform it into a rebate to ensure first-time homebuyers can get the money when they move in rather than “at tax time.”

Aug. 28: The NDP will forgive up to $20,000 of student loan debt if elected, Singh said. Federal loans will also become interest-free and will be doubled for student grants. New graduates will be given a five-year grace period on federal loan repayments, Singh pledged.

Aug. 31: If elected, Singh says he will target “big-money” house flippers by increasing the taxable amount of capital gains profits from 50 to 75 per cent.

Sept. 9: The NDP promised a to establish a guaranteed livable income, starting with seniors and people living with disabilities.

Green Party Promises

Aug. 18: Green Party Leader Annamie Paul promised in her party’s vision for Canada a guaranteed livable income and affordable housing.

  • Paul’s party also included free post-secondary education in their platform.

Aug. 31: The Green Party pledge to replace one-third of food imports with domestic production. It also said it would work with provinces to create land trusts. In addition, the party says it will increase urban agriculture to ensure access to local food and protect the supply management system.

Sept. 7: In its 101-page platform the Green Party promises to accelerate the pace of carbon-tax hikes; boost the supply of affordable housing; establish a guaranteed livable income, do away with tuition for post-secondary education; and introduce universal, affordable long-term care, among other things.

  • Raise taxes on environmentally harmful goods and services. Increase carbon taxes by $25 per tonne each year between 2022 and 2030. Introduce government grants for the purchase of electric vehicles and buy-back programs for internal combustion engine passenger vehicles.
  • Declare housing affordability and homelessness a national emergency. Allocate one per cent of GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure. Invest in the construction and operation of 50,000 supportive housing units over 10 years. Build and acquire at least 300,000 units of “deeply affordable” non-market, co-op and non-profit housing over a decade.
  • Declare a national moratorium on evictions. Create national standards for rent and vacancy controls. Introduce a new benefit to help Canadians with rent arrears avoid eviction and homelessness.
  • Establish a guaranteed livable income.
  • Abolish post-secondary education tuition and cancel all federally held student loan debt. Reintroduce the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB), ensuring that all those who are eligible receive $2,000 per month for the period starting on May 1 and until the end of the pandemic.
  • Fully fund a universal pharmacare program.
  • Expand medicare to include dental care.
  • Make a universal, affordable early learning and child-care system a reality.
  • Expand parental leave to include leave following miscarriages and leave to care for elderly parents.
  • Introduce universal, affordable long-term care by bringing long-term care under the Canada Health Act. Make the Caregiver Tax Credit a refundable tax credit.

Bloc Québécois Promises

Aug. 22: The party’s electoral platform aims to introduce a new tax on the wealthy, along with a three per cent tax on large digital companies like Netflix.

  • The Bloc says it will combat the national housing crisis by investing one per cent of the federal government’s annual revenue into social housing. More social housing will be created by utilizing all unused federal properties.
  • Blanchet says a new tax on real estate speculation will be introduced at the federal level under a Bloc Quebecois government.
  • For seniors, the Bloc says it wants to:
    • Increase old-age pensions by $110/month for people aged 65 and up;
    • Improve the quality of federal services offered to seniors, including automatic enrolment in guaranteed income support and tax credits for people who want to continue working;
    • Offer tax credits for the construction or accommodation for inter- or multi-generational housing so that seniors can live at home longer; and
    • Automatically grant tax credits for home care, rather than asking people to provide receipts.

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