Party platforms on housing, inflation, taxes and more
The Ontario election is just days away and already one million have voted in advance of June 2.
Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives continue to lead in the polls by a wide enough margin to win another majority government, according to the CBC poll tracker.
Monday the PCs were at 36.6 per cent, Liberals at 27.1 per cent, NDP at 23.5 per cent and Green at 7 per cent.
Here’s a look at how each party stands on issues that could affect businesses and the economy.
Ontario is one of the two most expensive provinces for housing in Canada and with home prices soaring over the past two years, affordability is a top issue.
- Target the construction of 1.5 million new homes over 10 years by reducing red tape to make it faster and more affordable to build homes.
- Province-wide rent control.
- Tax on vacant homes as well as on developers sitting on undeveloped land.
- Provide the 39 largest municipalities with new funding to streamline development approvals to build more homes.
- Increase the foreign speculator tax and expand its reach beyond Greater Toronto and Hamilton.
- Build 250,000 affordable homes.
- End exclusionary zoning in areas that allow only single-family homes to encourage construction of more townhomes, duplexes, and triplexes.
- Speculator and vacancy tax modelled on British Columbia’s approach.
- Rent control with provision that new tenants pay what the last tenant paid.
- Build 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over next decade.
- End blind bidding and require home inspections at the seller’s expense.
- Reinstate rent control on all units and vacancy controls to limit rent increases between tenancies.
- Speculation tax on people or corporations who own more than two houses or condos, with the tax beginning at 20 per cent on the third home.
With inflation at last count soaring to 6.8 per cent, Ontario voters have been keen to find out what candidates would do to fight rising prices and make life more affordable.
- Eliminate the HST on prepared food under $20, including meals at restaurants and to-go counters.
- Cut transit fares to $1 per ride for one year.
- Increase Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates by 20 per cent, bring back the Basic Income Pilot, and increase Old Age Security top ups by $1,000 a year.
- Temporarily cut the gasoline tax by 5.7 cents per litre for six months starting in July.
- End licence-plate renewal fees saving people $120 per vehicle.
- Increase eligibility for the Low-Income Individuals and Families tax credit from $38,000 to $50,000 and create a tax credit aimed at seniors who still live at home and receive home care.
- Make auto insurance cheaper by banning “postal code discrimination.”
- Double ODSP rates.
- Create a provincial food strategy that makes locally sourced food more readily available.
- Cut the cost of transit in half for at least three months to offset the high costs of gasoline.
- Provide startup funding and land for community-owned food markets, community gardens, and rooftop growing spaces.
- Invest in research and innovation that improves the sustainability of how the province grows, produces and distributes food.
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- Lower corporate taxes for small businesses and eliminate them for businesses that lost more than half their revenue during the pandemic.
- One-per-cent surtax on Ontario-based companies with more than $1 billion in profit and a two-per-cent income tax increase on individuals with an income over $500,000.
- New tax credit for eligible medical expenses for low- to moderate-income seniors.
- Raise the income eligibility rules for the low-income workers’ income tax credit so more people qualify and increase the maximum amount it pays out.
- Freeze taxes for low- and middle-income families.
- Extend the government’s staycation tax credit for two more years.
- Create a tax incentive for companies that install electric-vehicle charging stations.
- Add a one-per-cent climate surtax onto the income taxes of the province’s top 10 per cent of earners to fund a $6-billion “climate bonus” for low-income families.
- Raise the minimum wage to $16 per hour and create a “regional living wage.”
- Pilot project for a four-day work week.
- $15.50 minimum wage starting Oct. 1.
- $5,000 per nurse lump sum retention payment.
- Invest $1 billion over the next three years to get more workers into the skilled trades.
- Right to disconnect from work.
- Ban on non-compete clauses.
- Advisory panel tasked with looking into a plan for health, dental and vision care for gig workers.
- $20 an hour minimum wage in 2026.
- 10 personal emergency leave days.
- Create “Ontario Benefits” to give all workers access to dental and vision care.
- Four-day work week pilot project.
- $16 minimum wage in 2022, rising by $1 a year and top-ups in cities with higher cost of living.
- 10 paid sick days.
- Ban employers from requiring a doctor’s sick note.
- Gig Workers’ Bill of Rights ensuring minimum wage compensation and portable health benefits.
What business says
Small business owners feel the election has overlooked many of the issues they are grappling with.
“From what we’ve heard, there’s disappointment right across the board,” Dan Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, told the Financial Post’s Larysa Harapyn, adding that only 13 per cent of small business owners feel that economic and small business issues are featured in this year’s election campaign.
He said concerns, such as tax burdens, rising costs and labour shortage, do not seem to resonate significantly despite parties’ talk of building and “being open for business.”
Bigger businesses, especially manufacturers, are “generally happy” with the Progressive Conservatives leading the polls, said Alex Bishop, managing partner at Concierge Strategies, citing Ford’s previous funding of projects that he said have created jobs across the province.
“One of the things we should see and ask for from our leaders is how can we create policies to help drive business,” said Bishop, adding that there could be better funding to help startups and scale-ups beyond grants.
Source: Financial Post