Where Ontario's main party leaders stand on five top issues in the election campaign

·9 min read

With Ontario's election campaign entering its final stretch, here's a look at where the Progressive Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens stand on five issues that are top of mind for voters:

HEALTH CARE

PCs:

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

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

- Reduce barriers for internationally trained health-care workers to practise in Ontario.

NDP:

- Begin working immediately on pharmacare for Ontario, instead of 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.

- Cover prescription birth control under OHIP, including Plan B, the pill, intrauterine devices, implants, shots, patches and rings.

- 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.

- Declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency and expedite additional supervised consumption sites.

- Hire 30,000 nurses, expedite 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 addictions professionals.

- Clear the diagnostic and surgery backlog with a $1-billion investment and establish maximum wait times for surgeries.

- Invest an additional $3 billion in mental health and addictions services and lift the cap on new Consumption and Treatment Services sites.

- 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.

- Create an Ontario Women's Health Strategy. Expand the Ontario Fertility Program to cover one cycle of egg freezing.

Greens:

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

- Increase year-over-year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of five per cent.

- 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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HOUSING

PCs:

- Build 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

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

- Deliver a housing supply action plan every year for the next four years.

NDP:

- Build 1.5 million homes in 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 co-op housing providers, and build 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade.

- Bring back real rent control and scrap vacancy decontrol.

- Allow first-time buyers with household incomes under $200,000 to access home equity loans of up to 10 per cent of the purchase price to help with their down payment.

- End exclusionary zoning.

Liberals:

- Build 1.5 million homes over 10 years.

- Work with municipalities to expand zoning options.

- Bring back rent control.

- Establish the Ontario Home Building 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 people.

Greens:

- Build 182,000 permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next decade, including 60,000 supportive homes.

- Mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20 per cent affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size.

- End blind bidding. Make home inspections mandatory at the seller's expense. Create a new, multi-provider home warranty model for newly built homes.

- Implement a multiple homes speculation tax on purchases of new homes for buyers who already own two or more homes or condos, starting at 20 per cent for the third home purchased and increasing with each additional home.

- Reinstate rent controls on all units.

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EDUCATION

PCs:

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

- Investing $21 billion, including about $14 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years, to support the renewal and expansion of school infrastructure and child-care projects.

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

NDP:

- Hire 20,000 teachers and education workers.

- Cap class sizes for Grades 4 through 8 at 24 students and cap full-day kindergarten classes at 26 students.

- Restore the previous Liberal government's free tuition program, convert post-secondary student loans to grants and retroactively erase student loan interest.

- Implement a $25-an-hour minimum wage for registered early childhood educators and $20 for other program staff.

Liberals:

- Impose a hard cap of 20 students per class in all grades and hire 10,000 teachers.

- Reintroduce an optional Grade 13, hire 1,000 more mental health professionals for students and staff and hire 5,000 more special education workers.

- 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 compulsory immunizations for school attendance, while maintaining current exemption provisions.

- Double OSAP funding and give "significantly" more grants, and eliminate interest on provincial student loans.

Greens:

- Eliminate interest on student debt.

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

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AFFORDABILITY

PCs:

- Increase disability support payment rates by five per cent and introduce legislation to tie annual increases to inflation.

- 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 from $850 to $875 and allowing people making up to $50,000 to qualify, up from a limit of $38,000.

NDP:

- Raise the minimum wage to $20 in 2026, with $1-an-hour increases annually.

- Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates by 20 per cent in the first year and double rates in the second year, and restart a basic income pilot.

- Implement property tax deferrals for seniors.

- Reduce auto insurance rates by 40 per cent.

- Regulate gas prices.

Liberals:

- Make all transit fares across the province $1 per ride and reduce monthly transit passes to $40 until January 2024.

- Remove the provincial portion of the HST on prepared foods under $20.

- Boost the minimum wage to $16 an hour by Jan. 1, then work to set regional living wages.

- Increase disability support payment rates by 20 per cent and reintroduce a basic income pilot.

- Top up the amount received by pensioners through the Guaranteed Annual Income System by $1,000 and increase the eligibility threshold to $25,000 for single seniors or $50,000 for couples.

Greens:

- Cut transit fares in half for three months.

- Double Ontario Disability Support Program rates and phase in a basic income.

- Increase the floor of the minimum wage each year by $1, starting at $16 in 2022, with a top-up in cities where the cost of living is higher.

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CLIMATE

PCs:

- Continue investing through the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to help small, rural and northern communities construct and rehabilitate roads, bridges, water and wastewater infrastructure to address public safety and impacts from climate change.

- Invest part of over $2 billion in capital grants over the next 10 years for colleges, universities and Indigenous institutes in modernizing classrooms for environmental sustainability.

- Invest in mining critical 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 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 in incentives for zero-emission vehicles, excluding luxury vehicles, and have 100 per cent of vehicle sales be zero emission 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 over that amount.

Liberals:

- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

- Expand the Greenbelt and designate 30 per cent of Ontario land as protected, up from 10 per cent.

- Provide 100,000 grants of up to $3,000 each year to people and businesses with green renovations and eliminate setup connection fees for rooftop solar panels.

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

- Plant 800 million new trees over eight years.

Greens:

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

- Protect 30 per cent of lands 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.

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

- Offer homeowners a grant of up to $15,000 to $20,000 to cover green retrofits like heat pumps and improved insulation and transition homes and offices to net zero by 2040 using a combination of solar and heat pumps.

- Establish stricter monitoring and enforcement standards for air and water pollution in areas with health risks from multiple industries such as Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

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

The Canadian Press

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