We get it.
Figuring out who to cast your ballot for is tough.
Especially this year.
We’re here to help you sift through the personal attacks & election mudslinging to figure out what the parties are actually promising.
So here’s what we’ve done in this issue:
1) We used YOUR questions to interview representatives from each major party about their economic policy
2) We summarized the economic and financial platforms of each party. To read their individual interviews, hit the ‘Election Coverage’ tab on the main menu at the top of the page.
All you need to do now is show up to the polls.
First up, Let’s Talk Jobs…
If you’re watching the campaign trail, you’re probably hearing something like this: “You get a job! And you get a job! Everyone’s getting a job!”
There’s a reason why. Even though Canada saw an unexpected 81,000 jobs added to the economy in August, the national unemployment rate still remains at a steady 5.7%. Abacus Data reported that good jobs and wages are one of the top 6 issues for Canadians in this 2019 federal election.
So, what exactly is each federal party promising in terms of job creation and wages?
The Liberal Party pledged to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour starting in 2020 and make changes to Employment Insurance to support seasonal workers and workers on medical leave. Other promises include supporting 2,000 entrepreneurs a year with cash to launch a new business, increasing funding for apprenticeships in the trades, and a $40 million a year fund to support workplaces to become more accessible for people with disabilities.
The Conservative Party has promised to end foreign oil imports and get pipelines built, including the Trans Mountain pipeline, to create jobs, especially in Western Canada, where unemployment is high. Additionally, the Conservatives promise to improve credential recognition to make it easier for immigrants with equivalent skills to get jobs.
The NDP also promises to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and has pledged to create 300,000 jobs in their first term through their Green New Deal which focuses on developing a low carbon economy. As well, the NDP promises to ban unpaid internships that are not for school credit, and require employers to spend 1% of their payroll on annual employee training.
The Green Party has taken a climate focus in promising a ‘Sustainable Generations Fund’ to invest in ‘green trades’ through apprenticeship training and education facilities. Other promises include providing $1 billion annually to municipalities to increase youth employment, banning unpaid internships in the private sector, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, and putting a “robot tax” on companies who replace their workers with a machine.
Next We Talk Tax…
While this year’s party slogans may sound eerily similar to 2015 (‘Ready For Change’… ‘Real Change Now’… anybody?!), their policies are anything but, especially when it comes to taxes. Tax policies have been a main battleground for gaining voter support during the 2019 election – Keep reading to find out how each party will try and win your vote through their tax policies.
Trudeau has pledged to raise the basic personal income tax deduction to $15,000 for those earning under $147,000. They’ll make parental benefits, like maternity leave, tax-free.
In terms of generating tax revenue, the Liberals intend to tax luxury cars, boats, and planes. While they, like the Conservatives, NDP, and Greens, have promised to tax tech giants, an exact tech tax rate has not been announced.
Reminder: In 2015, the Liberals promised to decrease taxes for the middle class and increase taxes on the wealthiest Canadians. They delivered by adding an upper tax bracket for people making more than $200,000 a year and dropping the tax rate on earnings between $45,282 and $90,563.
With a focus on “helping Canadians get ahead”, Scheer’s platform is centred around tax cuts for the middle class. First, they’ll axe the carbon tax and remove GST from home heating bills. And for people making under $47,630, they’ll cut the tax rate from 15% to 13.75%. They’ll go back to Harper’s income splitting policy, wherein partners can divide their income to lower their household’s tax rate.
Scheer has also pledged to reinstate the public transit and children’s fitness and arts tax credits, and like the Liberals, EI benefits for new parents (maternity and paternity leave) will be made tax-free. The Conservatives will also amend the eligibility criteria for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) by reducing the hours of lifesaving therapy per week needed to qualify, and expanding the definition of what is considered to be lifesaving therapy.
In order to pay for these programs, the Conservatives will establish a 3% tax aimed at online tech giants.
New Democratic Party (NDP):
Singh has consistently advocated for corporate and personal tax hikes for the wealthiest Canadians throughout the campaign. The NDP has pledged to raise the rate for capital gains inclusion from 50% to 75% (capital gains are profits made from the sale of shares, businesses, or real estate), and increase the top federal personal income tax rate from 33% to 35%. Singh is determined to ensure the rich “pay their fair share” by implementing a 1% wealth tax on those making more than $20 million. He’ll also force international tech giants to pay GST on their sales in Canada. These increases will support social programs like universal pharmaceutical and dental care for low and middle-class Canadians.
The Green Party:
The Green Party has focused most of their tax platform on increasing corporate taxes to ensure environmental responsibility and support the many social programs the party would implement if elected (universal post-secondary education, universal dental care to name a few). May will increase corporate tax rates from 15% to 21%, and like the other parties, will implement a tech tax for mega companies like Netflix and Google. They’ll also establish a Federal Tax Commission to ensure the tax system is fair, and will find a way to tax cryptocurrencies.
Third, A Little Bit on Savings and Investments…
Last election, if you recall, there was a lot of debate about Registered Education Savings Palns (RESPs), Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TSFA) contribution limits. What’s the buzz this election? It’s been pretty quiet, but there’s a few noteworthy promises that have been made:
The Liberals have increased the amount that first-time homebuyers can withdraw from their RRSPs from $25,000 to $35,000.
The Conservatives have promised to increase the government’s contribution to the RESP from 20% to 30% for each dollar added, up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. For low income parents, they’ll receive 50% on the first $500 they save for their child’s education every year.
The NDP have promised to double the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit to $1,500. As we’ve mentioned, they’ve also promised to tax 75% on capital gains from investments, up from the current rate of 50%.
The Greens have promised free education, which comes with a total elimination of the RESP (who needs to save for an education if it’s free anyways?), and would eliminate the first-time homebuyers incentive altogether.
And lastly, We Chat Housing….
Like most young people, you’re probably concerned about the rising cost of housing across the country. Housing affordability is super stressful and yet another way that millennials are drowning in debt.
So, what can we expect from Canadian federal parties this election when it comes to housing?
The Liberal Party
Housing has been a big issue in the Liberal platform since the 2015 election. During his term, the Trudeau government launched the first ever National Housing Strategy (NHS) – a 10-year commitment to invest over $55 billion in making housing more affordable for Canadians. The current Liberal platform will continue this strategy, which it says will help to reduce chronic homelessness by half, by giving 530,000 families access to housing, and build 125,000 affordable housing units by 2027. The strategy also targets vulnerable Canadians with $10 billion of NHS funding allocated specifically to housing for women and girls.
The Liberal Party has also announced the introduction of the Canada Housing Benefit (CHB) in 2020. The CHB will provide approximately $2,500 to over 300,000 low-income families to make rent more affordable. New additions to the platform this year include increasing the threshold for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, (which reduces the cost of a mortgage) for homebuyers in major cities, and allow Canadians to withdraw $35,000 (up from $25,000) from their RRSPs to purchase a house.
Like the NDP, they’ll introduce a “tax on vacant residential properties owned by non-Canadians who don’t live in Canada.”
The Conservative Party
The Conservative platform doesn’t offer much in terms of housing and nothing for renters or low-income families. They promise to extend the mortgage amortization period to 30 years for first-time buyers with an insured mortgage in an attempt to reduce mortgage payments and barriers to entry for home buyers. The platform also looks to increase housing supply by working with the provinces to reduce regulatory burdens on homebuilding, making “surplus federal real estate available” and investing more in the Federal Lands Initiative.
The New Democratic Party
The NDP platform – a New Deal for People – includes commitments to making housing more affordable for renters and buyers over the next 10 years with 500,000 new affordable housing units, including an additional $5 billion investment in affordable housing in the first 18 months. They will also waive part of the GST/HST on new construction of affordable housing units. Similar to the Conservatives, they plan to “re-introduce 30-year terms to CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first time home buyers,” and will also increase the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500.
The NDP is also proposing new models for housing ownership including co-ownership (think housing cooperatives) and Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) backed mortgages. Like the Liberals, the platform promises to impose a Foreign Buyer’s tax.
The Green Party
The Green Party platform advocates for housing as a human right and is the only party to focus on rental housing over home ownership. It seeks to collaborate with provincial governments to increase affordable housing to 25,000 new and 15,000 rehabilitated units each year for the next 10 years. The platform promises to “increase the National Housing Co-investment Fund by $750 million for new builds, and the Canada Housing Benefit by $750 million for rent assistance for 125,000 households.”
Like the NDP, the Green Party also aims to increase co-op housing options. They will adjust the mandate of the CMHC to focus on “the development of affordable, non-market and cooperative housing” and allow Indigenous organizations to access funding for self-determined housing needs.
That’s it, that’s all.
Now go vote!