Ontario Election: What the Parties Are Promising

By Shane Miller
Shane Miller
Shane Miller
Shane Miller is a political writer based in Ontario.
May 10, 2022 Updated: May 10, 2022

The Ontario provincial election campaign was officially launched on May 4, with election day slated for June 2.

Here is a glimpse of what six parties with at least one MPP in the current session are offering.

Progressive Conservative (Doug Ford)

The Conservative Ford government has made several announcements that indicate a plan to increase spending and a promise to decrease the cost of living in Ontario in the post-pandemic era.

Recently, the government announced its pre-election budget, titled Ontario’s Plan to Build, which projected a record $198.6 billion spending, with $178.3 billion of it going toward the health-care, education and post-secondary education, children’s and social services, and justice sectors, along with other programs including high-speed internet and transit and transportation infrastructure.

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends a transportation announcement in Woodbridge, Ont., on March 10, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)

Of the remaining amount, $6.9 billion is going toward funding for COVID-19 response and $13.5 billion toward interest on debt. The budget projects continued deficit spending for the next five years, with hopes of declining from a deficit of $19.9 billion in 202223 to a surplus of $1.3 billion in 202728.

It also proposes an increase of the minimum wage to $15.50, effective Oct. 1, and pledges to provide $300 in additional tax relief, on average, to low-income workers through the Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax Credit.

On April 28, the government proposed a new tax credit for seniors receiving care at home, which seeks to help with the cost of nurses’ visits and medical devices by refunding 25 percent of costs up to $6,000, with the maximum credit being $1,500.

A month before the campaign launch, the Ford government released a housing plan that aims to address increasing costs in Ontario’s real estate market. It seeks to empower municipalities through a Community Infrastructure and Housing Accelerator tool to quicken the process of approvals for non-profit housing and other building projects.

It is also pledging to allocate $19 million over the next three years to reduce backlogs at the Ontario Land Tribunal and Landlord and Tenant Board.

New Democratic Party (Andrea Horwath)

In its election platform released on April 25, the NDP under Andrea Horwath has also made announcements that pledge an increase in spending with a focus on addressing Ontarians’ concerns over the rising cost of living and revitalizing the provincial health-care system.

A particular focus is the housing crisis, with the NDP stating that a Horwath government would “work hard to ensure every Ontarian has a decent, affordable place to live, wherever you live, whether you’re renting or buying.”

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Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath makes an announcement during an election campaign rally in Toronto on April 3, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)

The NDP pledges to end exclusionary zoning and increase the supply of affordable homes by updating zoning rules to allow more construction of duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes.

In addition, it promises to build at least 250,000 affordable rental homes over the next 10 years through a newly established housing agency and introduce a vacancy tax, modelled after a B.C. version, to address speculators owning property but not living in it. The tax would, according to the platform, be phased in over two years with the rate at 2 percent of the assessed value. The party also pledges to close any loopholes that allow wealthy investors “off the hook.”

On child care, the NDP promises to follow other provinces in signing an agreement with the federal government that would achieve $10-a-day child care, as well as increasing standard wages for child-care workers to $25 an hour for registered early childhood educators and to $20 per hour for other staff.

To revitalize the health-care system post-COVID, the NDP promises to end what it calls “creeping” progression toward user fees and privatization by reversing cuts made by prior Liberal and Conservative governments and increasing investment to improve the system.

With a focus on youth mental health, the NDP will dedicate $130 million over the next three years to objectives such as building intensive treatment services and increasing access to psychotherapy, counselling, and family therapy.

The NDP also announced that it seeks to follow the federal NDP and introduce a plan to create a universal pharmacare program.

Liberal Party (Steven Del Duca)

In its platform released on May 9, the Liberals under Steven Del Duca pledges to maintain an increase in spending to address post-pandemic challenges to the economy over the next few years.

As summarized in the fully costed platform, the Liberals project a $19.9 billion deficit for the current fiscal year, with $16.4 billion in new spending over the next four years and elimination of the deficit by 202627.

New Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca
Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca speaks at the convention in Mississauga, Ont., on March 7, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Pledging to address the housing crisis, Del Duca’s Liberals promise to build 1.5 million new homes over the next 10 years, which they say will double the pace of building from the past decade. They promise to increase supply to meet the demand by going after the red tape that keeps prices up and by “unlocking more provincial land by burying electric transmissions lines and redeveloping under-utilized strip malls and offices.”

They will also introduce new taxes on vacant homes in urban areas and developers sitting on land.

To address long wait times in Ontario’s health-care system, the Liberals promise to dedicate $1 billion to enable hospitals to “operate significantly above pre-pandemic volumes” and will establish maximum wait times for surgeries and “return to pre-pandemic wait times by the end of 2022.”

On the issue of COVID, the Liberals have called for extensions and expansions to mask mandates, criticizing the Ford government’s move to end them in long-term care homes and hospitals on April 27.

Del Duca also announced recently during a campaign stop that a Liberal government would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of school immunizations.

Green Party (Mike Schreiner)

The Green Party has also announced a series of plans, mostly focusing on housing affordability and climate.

Its housing plan is based on three main pillars: Connected, Affordable, and Sustainable. It pledges to build walkable “15-minute neighbourhoods” that would make it easier to connect with family and friends and reduce car dependency.

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Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner speaks to candidates at a campaign event in Kitchener, Ont., on April 10, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Geoff Robins)

The party also promises, over 10 years, to build 100,000 new affordable rental homes and allocate $5 billion for a green building program with a focus on saving energy and reducing emissions.

On May 9, Mike Schreiner announced that the Greens would introduce a First-Time Homebuyer Support Plan. The plan intends to end blind bidding and impose a multiple homes speculation tax and vacant home tax to reduce speculative demand and free up homes for first-time buyers.

Schreiner said the intention is to “level the playing field” and reform a housing system that currently “favours wealthy speculators and corporations with excess capital” over families looking for a home in their preferred community.

On climate, the Greens’ plan intends to “crush climate pollution” by adopting a net-zero 2045 strategy that would emphasize building a “clean economy.” This would include supporting businesses that go green and encouraging green careers by giving 60,000 young people in the next four years the skills and experience to do energy retrofits and install renewable energy programs.

The party would also encourage sustainable finance by requiring public sector investment funds to quickly phase out fossil fuel investments.

To make transportation more affordable and address climate change, the Greens also announced on May 7 that it would introduce a plan to make it more affordable to “drive and bike electric.” It would offer up to $10,000 and $1,000 in incentives for new and used electric cars respectively. The plan also intends to make electric vehicles more accessible by expanding and improving charging infrastructure across the province.

New Blue Party (Jim Karahalios)

A newly formed party, the New Blue Party under Jim Karahalios pledges to offer a conservative alternative to the other main parties, with a focus on accountability and the government’s management of COVID-19.

In its New Blueprint, it promises to end all COVID-19 mandates if elected and provide restitution for those impacted by those mandates implemented at the provincial and federal levels.

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Jim Karahalios, New Blue Party leader, in a handout photo. (Courtesy Jim Karahalios)

It also promises to strengthen political accountability by scrapping the $100 million taxpayer subsidy to political parties and cracking down on voter fraud in internal party elections.

In addition, it seeks to promote a free, independent press and “defund the establishment media,” such as by taxing all corporate media that benefit from the federal government’s $600 million subsidy.

The party also pledges to grow Ontario’s economy by 5 percent annually, which it says would begin with taking down wind turbines to improve productivity and reduce electricity prices. It would also lower the HST tax from 13 percent to 10 percent and scrap the carbon tax.

Ontario Party (Derek Sloan)

Another new upstart, the Ontario Party under former Conservative MP Derek Sloan, also pledges to offer a conservative alternative, with an emphasis on limited government and the “inalienable right to life, liberty, and private property,” according to its charter.

In its platform, it promises to defend conscience rights by protecting people targeted in their workplace or school for practising their conscience or free speech rights. It promises to withhold provincial funding from any provincially subsidized organization that compels its members to contradict or disavow their religious beliefs or moral convictions or that discriminates against those expressing certain points of view.

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Independent member of Parliament Derek Sloan rises during question period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Feb. 5, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Adrian Wyld)

It also pledges to end all COVID-19 mandates imposed by the Ford government and pass legislation to decrease the power of government to prevent it from imposing further lockdowns.

To address the housing crisis, the Ontario Party promises to establish a foreign purchasing ban on residential homes and attain powers similar to those of Quebec to adjust immigration rates and settlement patterns to reduce unsupportable housing demand in many of Ontario’s urban areas.

The Ontario Party also pledges more funding to hospitals to expand their bed capacity and hire more workers while also enabling private corporations and non-profit organizations to build and manage their own hospitals.

Shane Miller
Shane Miller is a political writer based in Ontario.