Ontario NDP Unveil Election Platform

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Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in Thunder Bay for Caucus Meeting
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in Thunder Bay for Caucus Meeting - August 2019

TORONTO – POLITICS – The NDP has released a comprehensive election platform that lays out a plan to fix the things that matter most to people — including expanding OHIP so people can get mental health care, dental care and prescriptions with their OHIP card, not their credit card.

“The last few years have been tough. People are waiting in pain because our health care system is on its knees. And folks are working harder than ever while the cost of living and the cost of homes makes it impossible to get ahead,” said Horwath.

“But it really doesn’t have to be this way. Ontario is the greatest place in the world to live, and together we can start to fix the things that have been broken — the things that matter most to everyday people.”

The NDP platform commits to universal mental health care, as well as the first real pharmacare program in Canada. It adds and expands to the incoming federal dental care plan, too. Those moves will save families thousands of dollars every year, and ease the strain on Ontario’s emergency rooms.

It invests to recruit, retain and return health care workers with better wages and working conditions. The NDP will hire 10,000 personal support workers, 30,000 nurses and more. Horwath is also committing to hire 20,000 more teachers and education workers to make class sizes smaller and give every child more support and opportunity.

The NDP platform also promises to make everyday life more affordable by bringing back rent control, stopping big rent hikes in between tenants, building more starter homes, cracking down on housing speculators, banning user fees in health care, tackling the price of hydro bills and more.

The party’s fiscal framework includes a commitment to freeze income tax for low- and middle-income households for four years, and instead require multi-millionaires and massive corporations who exploit tax loopholes to pay their fair share.

“Doug Ford’s cuts won’t fix things. He’ll keep giving his buddies anything they want, no matter what it costs the rest of us. And people can’t trust Steven Del Duca’s Liberals to fix what they helped break. They had 15 years, and chose not to fix things when they had the chance. They cut health care and laid off 1,600 nurses. They sold off Hydro One. They made life more expensive. People are still paying for their choices,” said Horwath.

“This is a platform that works for people. We’re not promising the moon and the stars. We’re promising that we’re going to work for you — and if we come together, we can defeat Doug Ford and get everyday families back on solid ground. It’s a practical, doable plan that means hope is on the way.”

The NDP already released three comprehensive platforms: Homes You Can Afford, a strategy to get the price of homes under control; Climate. Jobs. Justice: A Green New Democratic Deal, a strategy to be a Net Zero province by 2050 and create hundreds of thousands of jobs; and Aging Ontarians Deserve the Best, a concrete plan to finally move home and community care, and long-term care, back into public and non-profit hands and protect seniors’ quality of life as they age.

Highlights include:

Fixing and expanding health care

  • Universal, Publicly Funded Mental Health Care. The NDP will expand access to counselling and therapy services across the province by bringing therapy services into OHIP.
  • Pharmacare. The NDP will begin working immediately on universal pharmacare for Ontarians.
  • Recruiting, retaining, returning and supporting health care workers. With a comprehensive strategy that finally respects health care workers, and improves wages and working conditions, the NDP will:
    • Hire 10,000 personal support workers
    • Hire 30,000 nurses
    • Expedite recognition of the credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses
    • Create new jobs for late-career and recently retired nurses, so they can keep working in a role that’s mentoring and supervising
    • Hire 300 doctors and 100 specialists specifically for Northern Ontario

More affordable homes, and a more affordable life

  • Middle-income tax freeze. The NDP is promising a four-year income tax freeze for low- and middle-income households.
  • Pay what the last tenant paid. An NDP government will bring back real rent control for all apartments, eliminating the financial incentive for landlords to squeeze out tenants to raise the rent. We will also ensure that you pay what the last tenant paid by scrapping vacancy decontrol.
  • Cracking down on speculation. Horwath will introduce an annual speculation and vacancy tax on speculators who own houses they don’t live in. The rate will be two per cent of the assessed value and will be phased in over two years. We’ll also close loopholes that allow wealthy investors off the hook.
  • Regulate gas to stop gouging at the pump. The NDP will direct the Ontario Energy Board to regulate the retail price and wholesale mark-up of gas to stop big oil companies from gouging Ontarians.
  • End user fees. The NDP with health sector partners to eliminate unfair user fees on patients and their families in every part of the health care system.

Tackling hydro bills. The NDP will expand hydro capacity, increase affordable renewables – including wind and solar power – improve grid scale storage and make major grid interconnections with Québec and Manitoba to enable cost-effective electricity imports. We’ll also stop privatization and expensive private power contracts, looking at the best ways to restore public ownership, maintain reliability and make hydro bills affordable once again.