TORONTO — The Ontario NDP released its platform Monday, days ahead of the expected official start to the provincial election campaign. Here are some key promises:
– End exclusionary zoning; bring back rent control; create a portable housing benefit.
– Begin working immediately on universal pharmacare for Ontario, instead of waiting for the federal plan, and strengthen and accelerate the expansion of dental care.
– Hire 10,000 personal support workers, give them a raise; hire 30,000 nurses, expedite recognition of nursing credentials of 15,000 internationally trained nurses; scrap Bill 124, which limits public sector compensation increases.
– Hire 300 doctors in northern Ontario, including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners; fund travel accommodations for medical residents to take elective rotations in rural and northern communities; create more residency rotation positions to help retain doctors in the north.
– End health-care user fees, such as doctors’ notes.
– Create a mixed member proportional voting system designed by an independent group of citizens.
– Freeze taxes for low and middle income families.
– Hold a public inquiry into the COVID-19 response.
– Establish provincial standards for home and community care services; establish a caregiver benefit program to provide $400 a month to informal caregivers who don’t qualify for existing federal tax credits or respite care.
– Build a new public and non-profit home and community care and long-term care system; build 50,000 new and modern beds.
– Raise the minimum wage to $20 in 2026, with $1-an-hour increases annually; legislate 10 permanent personal emergency leave days.
– Implement a four-day work week pilot project.
– Establish universal, publicly funded mental-health care; invest $130M over three years for children’s mental health.
– Set a minimum wage for registered early childhood educators at $25 per hour, and $20 for all other program staff.
– Create a zero-emissions vehicles strategy, with a goal of 100 per cent of all new auto sales being ZEVs by 2035; offer up to $10,000 incentives for ZEVs, excluding luxury vehicles.
– 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.
– Expand the Greenbelt; plant one billion trees by 2030; ban non-medical single-use plastics by 2024.
– Introduce an energy efficient building retrofit program to help families and businesses with the cost of retrofitting their homes and lowering electricity bills.
– Hire 20,000 teachers and education workers; cap class sizes for Grades 4 through 8 at 24 students; cap full-day kindergarten classes at 26 students; cancel EQAO standardized testing; scrap the requirement for two online courses for high school graduation.
– Restore the previous government’s free tuition program; convert post-secondary student loans to grants; retroactively erase student loan interest.
– Update and enforce the Pay Transparency Act; make prescription contraception free; fund 10 days of paid leave for women escaping violence.
– Make the Ontario Autism Program fully needs-based, with no caps.
– Increase Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program rates by 20 per cent and index raises to inflation; restart a basic income pilot.
– Build 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade; update 260,000 social housing units to extend their lifespan.
– Regulate gas prices.
– Remove the cap on supervised consumption sites and expedite approvals for supervised consumption sites in the north.
– Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
– Implement a provincial anti-racism strategy; appoint a minister responsible for anti-racism; erect a Holocaust memorial on the grounds of the legislature; immediately pass the Our London Family Act to combat Islamophobia.
© 2022 The Canadian Press
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