Seniors, Housing, Pandemic Policy: Party Leaders Continue Promises on Day 12 of Election Campaign

By Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.
August 26, 2021 Updated: August 26, 2021

Day 12 of the federal election campaign saw party leaders focus on a range of issues—from seniors, housing, and healthcare to pandemic preparedness and COVID-19 related health measures.

Liberals. During a campaign stop in Quebec City on Thursday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau vowed to increase federal aid to lower-income seniors if re-elected. He pledged to raise the guaranteed income supplement by $500 for individuals and $750 for senior couples.

Trudeau also announced in a press release Wednesday that the government would raise the corporate income tax of Canada’s largest banks and insurance companies by 3 percent on all earnings over $1 billion, which would be put toward programs to help more Canadians afford homeownership.

The same banks and insurance companies would also be required to share a portion of their profits in a Canada Recovery Dividend.

Conservatives. Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole announced Thursday his party would introduce a “safety net” for gig economy workers who don’t currently qualify for Employment Insurance (EI). He pledged to ensure “gig economy companies” make contributions equivalent to Canada Pension Plan and EI premiums, to be put into a portable Employee Savings Account every time they pay their workers.

O’Toole also announced Wednesday his party aimed to create more integrated mental health care systems across the country, and promised to boost healthcare transfers to provinces to six percent annually over the next 10 years.

His plan also includes encouraging employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans, creating a nationwide 3-digit suicide prevention hotline, and providing $150 million over three years in grants to nonprofits and charities for mental health and wellness programs.

NDP. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continued his focus on housing affordability Thursday, with a pledge to help families buy their first home.

At a campaign stop in Winnipeg, Singh promised to double the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit and convert it into a rebate so that buyers can get the money right when they move into their home instead of at tax time. He would also introduce measures to help homeowners lower their mortgage payments.

Green Party. Green Party Leader Annamie Paul criticized Canada’s pandemic preparedness during a campaign stop in Mississauga on Wednesday, saying the country needs to step up measures to protect against future threats.

She said Canada needs to develop the domestic capacity to manufacture pharmaceuticals, have a sufficient stockpile of personal protective equipment, and create an intergovernmental task force to coordinate “all the elements of the pandemic” to better prepare against any future pandemic threats.

People’s Party. PPC Leader Maxime Bernier issued a statement Thursday on his party’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said if elected, the PPC would focus on protecting the most vulnerable while guaranteeing “the freedom of Canadians to make decisions based on informed consent” and would reject “coercion and discrimination” regarding pandemic health measures.

His plan includes repealing vaccine mandates or regular testing for federal civil servants and workers, repealing vaccine passports, and opposing “other authoritarian measures imposed by provincial governments.”

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac is a reporter based in Toronto.