The 82-page document details Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s vision for the next few months of the pandemic and beyond, detailing how a newly elected Liberal government would support the roll-out of vaccine passports, cut emissions in the oil and gas sector, and confront the legacy of residential schools, among many other commitments.
“With the next 18 months and the next 18 years … we have a plan to move forward for everyone,” Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday.
Overall, the Liberals’ re-election plan is expected to generate $25.5 billion in new revenue over the next five years, adding $70 billion to the federal debt over the same period. The Liberals are the first major party to include full costing of their platform, but because of time constraints, the parliamentary budget office did not cost all promises.
The re-election platform contains all the main announcements Trudeau has made so far on affordability issues, from tackling the housing crisis through revamping unemployment benefits to the Liberals’ signature pledge to create a $10-a-day universal child-care system. But there is also a slew of smaller proposals, including an extended and increased work-from-home tax deduction, a federal disability benefit and the creation of a “right to repair” appliances and electronics. The Liberals also want to create a minimum tax rule ensuring that top earners pay at least 15 per cent each year.
Here’s a look at the promises that would directly impact Canadians’ bottom lines:
After an opening section detailing how a new Liberal government would finish the fight against COVID-19, the platform talks about housing, possibly the number one concern for the key millennial demographic. The list of promises about how the party intends to tackle the affordability crisis precedes even the details on the Liberals’ $10-a-day child-care plan, which had been a key focus of the Liberals’ election rhetoric in the earlier phase of the campaign.
Along with a pledge to build or fix up 1.4 million homes in four years, the document contains an array of promises for homebuyers. These include the creation of a tax-free savings account to help first-time buyers under the age of 40 save up to $40,000 for a down payment. The Liberals also want to institute a rent-to-own program that would help young tenants buy out their landlords. And the party proposes reducing CMHC mortgage insurance rates by 25 per cent, along with raising the home-price cut-off for insured mortgages.
The Liberals also promise to boost protections for homebuyers including by banning blind bidding on residential real estate, which prevents prospective homebuyers from knowing the bids of others and has been named for driving up home prices.
The party also wants to introduce a legal right to a home inspection. However, the platform does not explain how the federal government would implement the changes since real estate rules are set at the provincial and territorial level.
In addition to the promise to create a universal $10-a-day child care, the platform contains a few other proposals that would affect parents and Canadians who are trying to start to grow their families.
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 party also proposes providing up to five new paid leave days for Canadians who experience a miscarriage or stillbirth. This would apply to those who work for a federally regulated employer.
For seniors, Liberals pledge to move forward with their plan to boost the Old Age Security benefit by 10 per cent next year for those aged 75 and over starting in July 2022.
The party promises to increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement by $500 a year for single seniors and $750 for couples, starting at age 65.
As well, the Liberals said they would work with provinces and territories to raise the Canada Pension Plan and Quebec Pension Plan survivor’s benefit by 25 per cent.
After temporarily freezing debt repayments and the accumulation of interest on federal loans because of the pandemic, the Liberals are proposing to eliminate the federal portion of the interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans for good.
Trudeau also wants to raise the income threshold under which Canadians would be eligible to make no payments on their Canada Student Loans from the current $25,000 a year to $50,000 a year.
As part of their plan to revamp the federal social safety net, the Liberals propose to introduce a new Employment Insurance benefit for self-employed Canadians that would be similar to the kind of unemployment assistance EI-eligible employees currently get. The platform says the benefit could provide nearly $15,500 over 26 weeks.
For those labouring away from the office, the plan proposes to extend the temporary work-from-home tax by another two years and boost the deductible amount from $400 to $500.
A newly-elected Liberal government also promises to develop a new policy establishing workers’ “right to disconnect” at the end of a workday.
For Canadians with disabilities
Among other promises for Canadians with disabilities, the Liberals pledge to create a new Canada Disability Benefit for low-income Canadians with disabilities aged 18 to 64. The benefit, they say, would “reduce poverty among persons with disabilities in the same manner as the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Canada Child Benefit.”
When it comes to new taxes on individuals, the Liberals say they want to establish a “minimum tax rule” that would ensure Canadians with incomes high enough to fall into the top 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.
As well, the party wants to implement a national tax on real estate flipping. The Liberals say they’d also move forward with their tax on empty homes and land held by non-residents and non-Canadians. They’d also press ahead with plans announced in the budget to impose new taxes on luxury cars, boats and planes, as well as vaping products and tobacco.
'Right to repair'
Finally, if you’re dealing with a leaky blender or glitchy laptop screen, you may like this one. The Liberals want to establish a “right to repair” home appliances and electronics by requiring manufacturers to provide repair manuals and spare parts. They’d also introduce a 15-per-cent tax break to cover the cost of home appliance repairs performed by technicians (up to $500).