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Who are the Ontario Liberal leadership candidates and what did they promise?

The Ontario Liberal Party is set to announce their new leader 

It’s been a heated race these last eight months. Members of the party cast their vote last weekend, and the results will be hand-counted and revealed to much fanfare on Dec. 2.

A lot of what each candidate pledged in their individual platforms does overlap—they are all members of the same party with the primary goal of beating Premier Doug Ford during the next election. However, there are a few differences.

Here are some of the things each candidate promised to do if elected:


Health care: Crombie’s plan touts a “patient-central” approach to health care by eliminating loopholes that allow corporations to bypass the Canada Health Act and clearing the surgical backlog “without resorting to private for-profit surgical centres.”

She also said she would provide 10 paid sick days for everyone, recruit more family doctors and expand nurse practitioner-led clinics, expand hospitals and deliver wage parity between staff in home, community, long-term and acute care sectors.

Crombie also said she would give personal support workers and registered practical nurses a pay bump.

Housing: Crombie will require home builders to include at least 20 per cent long-term affordable units as a condition of the sale of provincial surplus land, including near GO Stations. Other initiatives include removing the Provincial Sales Tax on construction of purpose-built rental housing, introducing provincial rebates for development charges, creating as-of-right zoning frameworks to unlock more rental homes, and limiting third-party Ontario Land Tribunal appeals.

Bonnie Crombie, who is considering a bid for the Ontario Liberal Leadership is photographed on the steps of the Ontario Legislature, in Toronto on Thursday May 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

She also said she will reward towns and cities with progress-based, top-up funding for community infrastructure tied to housing starts.

Greenbelt: Crombie has promised to “take politics out of the process” when it comes to the Greenbelt by creating an arms-length process to preserve and expand the protected space. She will also legislate the boundary to “prevent land swaps for good.”

Democracy: The Mississauga mayor said she will allow municipalities to choose a ranked-ballot system in their municipal elections and potentially introduce electronic voting, raise the filing fee and the number of endorsements needed to run for mayor, and support the idea of launching a citizens’ assembly to make recommendations on electoral reform in Ontario.

Other promises in her platform:

  • Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
  • Deliver smaller class sizes through the use of mandatory ratios or students and teachers
  • End mandatory online learning credits and eliminate EQAO testing
  • Boost the low-income workers and family tax credit
  • Double the current rate of the Ontario Disability Support Program
  • Eliminate provincial portion of interests on OSAP loans
  • Boost the Guaranteed Annual Income system and Ontario Seniors’ Care at Home Tax Credit


Health care: Erskine-Smith’s first goal will be to prioritize the health human resources crisis by offering competitive wages, 10 sick days and more training supports. Team-based care is a big part of Erskine-Smith’s plans, ensuring patients have access to multiple professionals.

He also said he wants to expand virtual care and increase funding for home care and community-based services.

Housing: This candidate’s plans involve removing barriers and improving density by ending exclusionary zoning and building “public-minded and affordable rental housing. In particular, Erskine-Smith says he wants to allow fourplexes province-wide, study sixplexes and pre-approve off-the-shelf plans for multiplex housing.

He also wants to legalize multi-tenant housing, phase-in rent control, and increase land transfer tax for investors that do not add housing.

Member of Parliament for Beaches—East York Nathaniel Erskine-Smith speaks to reporters during the Liberal summer caucus retreat in St. Andrews, N.B. on Monday, September 12, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

The plan includes the creation of a “public builder,” although little information was provided about what this meant.

Climate: Erskine-Smith’s climate strategy focuses heavily on reducing emissions by investing in infrastructure, such as zero-emission vehicles, electric charging stations, and green retrofits. He also pledged to expand the Greenbelt and create an Ontario ravine strategy.

Democracy: Erskine-Smith has promised to deliver on electoral reform, restore ranked ballots for municipal election, and expand the right to vote to those 16 years and older. He has also promised that, under his leadership, MPPs would be free to vote in a manner that represents their communities except on issues that relate to platform promises.

He has committed never to use the notwithstanding clause

Other promises in his platform:

  • Reduce donation limits to match federal rules
  • Update Ontario’s building code
  • Expand Ontario’s Digital ID adoption and use
  • Crackdown on subscription traps
  • Develop a sectoral bargaining system in relevant sectors and develop a bill of rights for gig workers
  • Increase minimum age by $.024 annually above inflation


Health care: The first part of Hsu’s health-care plan involves collecting and standardizing data and making electronic medical records compatible and digitally linked. To address pressures on hospitals, he says he will focus on staff retention, investing outside of acute caree and in permanent community paramedicine. Virtual primary care can be used to reduce unnecessary ER visits, his plan says.

Housing: Hsu will legislate planning measures for medium-density housing while focusing on self-sufficient communities with mixed neighbourhoods along transit routes. He will also allow municipalities to raise revenue through planning changes.

Cost of living: Hsu says the minimum wage should be set at a rate that reflects cost of living, which the Ontario Living Wage network says is about $19 an hour and more than $23 an hour in the Greater Toronto Area. He also argues that ODSP and Ontario Works should be “anchored to a certain percentage of minimum wage both over time and geographically.”

Liberal MP’s Ted Hsu, centre, Marc Garneau, left, and Kirsty Duncan hold a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Education: Hsu will focus on empowering students by ending mandatory online learning requirements, lowering classroom sizes and supporting educators by ensuring safe environments and hiring more educational assistants.

Other promises in his platform:

  • Build renewables and storage while retaining gas power plants to ensure reliability
  • Increase rural housing supply and financing for community housing
  • Widen Highways 11 and 17
  • Electoral reform will be in his 2026 platform
  • Implement a Farmland Easement Program


Health care: Naqvi’s policy starts with three changes—simplifying the licensing process, increasing funding for college and university spaces and cutting red tape to allow more internationally trained professionals in the field. He has also pledged to guarantee universal mental health coverage.

Housing: Naqvi says he will lower the price of a new home by as much as $135,000 in some areas by ending development charges and replacing them with “outcome-based funding” for cities and communities to transfer the burden of new developments from homebuyers and renters to the province.” He has also pledged to implement rent control, ban renovictions and end the backlog at the Landlord Tenant Board.

Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi attends an announcement in Toronto on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)

Climate change: Part of Naqvi’s plan involves closing natural gas plants by 2035 and protecting the Greenbelt while creating a “protected farmbelt.”

Education: Naqvi has an extensive education platform, which includes a hard cap of no more than 15 kindergarten students and no fewer than 25 students per class in high school. He would also want to commit to an early childhood educator or special educator in every classroom up to Grade 8, as well as bring high-speed internet and air conditioning to every school. Birning back home economics and shop classes is also a part of the plan.

Other promises in his platform:

  • Introduce an Ontario Accountability Act that would cover new lobbying rules, establish an Ontario anti-corruption force and transparent Ministerial Zoning Orders.

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