Ontario Election 2018: Your guide to the Liberal, PC and NDP platforms

Ontario election 2018 platform guide: Where the parties stand on everything from hydro bills to taxes to transit

Your complete guide to the issues at stake in Ontario’s 2018 provincial election. Check back as we update this guide all the way to election day.

by
Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne, Doug Ford

From left: Ontario party leaders Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford. (Chris Young/CP; Fred Lum/Globe and Mail/CP)

Latest updates: Wednesday, May 16

Election day in Ontario—June 7—is fast approaching, and voters face a stark choice in the three main candidates. Kathleen Wynne and the governing Liberals are campaigning on the record of their 15 years in office and a budget plan that calls for a massive expansion of government spending and deficits. Andrea Horwath is taking the Ontario NDP into her third election as party leader by presenting the NDP as the real progressive choice for voters. Meanwhile Doug Ford, the newly-minted and maverick head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party hopes to harness taxpayer outrage to propel his party to victory.

Yet sifting through the platforms to find where the parties stand on key issues can be daunting. To make that task easier, Maclean’s has assembled this live cheat sheet which we’ll update throughout the campaign.

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NOTE: Much of the Liberal platform comes from the 2018 Ontario budget, while the NDP have posted their platform online. However, large parts of the Ontario PCs platform remain unknown since the party has not indicated which parts of former leader Patrick Brown’s People’s Guarantee platform are being retained. To that end, Maclean’s is piecing together Ford’s policy positions from press reports, party press releases and social media posts. Lastly, due to popular demand, we’ve added the Green Party of Ontario to the platform tracker.

View by topic:


Deficits

Liberal Party of Ontario

The Liberals have pledged a bevy of increases to social services, healthcare, and childcare—all of which will send Ontario into the red again after briefly balancing the province’s books:

  • With more than $20.3 billion in new spending planned over the next three years, as announced in Budget 2018, the Liberals project annual deficits of between $6.5 billion and $6.7 billion until at least 2020-2021
  • Under Budget 2018 Ontario isn’t projected to return to balance until 2024-2025, though the province’s auditor general has dismissed these projections and said deficits are higher than stated now, and will grow rapidly

Sources: 2018 Ontario Budget, Toronto Star

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

In contrast to his opponents, Ford is the only leader campaigning on a promise to quickly balance the books and keep them that way.

  • Would run deficit in first year, but hasn’t provided a timetable to balance the budget
  • Ford vowed to cut $6 billion from Ontario’s budget without laying off any public employees but hasn’t specified how he’d eliminate “inefficiencies”
  • Convene an “outside audit” to probe spending under the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne and give more funding to the office of Ontario’s Auditor General

Sources: Ontario PC, The Globe And Mail

Ontario New Democratic Party

The party projects multi-year deficits with its heavy investment in healthcare and social services.

  • Five consecutive deficits that would see the province incur a deficit of $3.3. billion in 2018-2019, peaking at more than $5 billion in 2020-2021 before shrinking to $1.9 billion by 2022-2023
  • No clear timeline to return to a balanced budget

Source: The Canadian Press

Green Party of Ontario

The Green Party’s platform makes zero mention of deficits, debt or the budget.

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation

Taxes

Liberal Party of Ontario

In their most recent budget, the Liberals:

  • Ditched the provincial surtax (a tax levied on income taxes that kicks in for those earning higher incomes) and readjusted Ontario’s tax brackets
  • Tax rates for approximately 8.6 million people would stay roughly the same, but 1.8 million would pay an average of $200 more while close to 700,000 would see an average tax cut of $130
  • No change to corporate taxes
  • Another tax hike on cigarettes in 2019 of $4 a carton, following two years of increases

Source: 2018 Ontario Budget

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

The PCs under Doug Ford have vowed to shrink government and cut taxes, but questions remain about how many platform policies from Patrick Brown’s “People’s Guarantee” will be adopted. So far, Ford has promised:

  • Ford, who has pledged to scrap the Liberals’ planned minimum wage hike from $14 to $15 next year, would introduce an income tax credit for workers earning minimum wage so that anyone making less than $28,000 a year would pay no income tax.
  • Cut corporate tax rates from 11.5 to 10.5 per cent in an effort to attract new businesses to Ontario
  • Use a tax rebate program to cover up to $6,750 for childcare costs—lower-income families would receive 75 per cent of child-care costs back
  • Mused he could abolish the 15 per cent non-resident buyer tax on real estate introduced last year
  • Cut middle-class income taxes by 20 per cent for those earning $42,960 to $85,923 annually, but Ford unclear how it will be paid for
  • NEW: Cut gasoline taxes by 10 cents a litre by ending the 4.3 cent a litre carbon tax along with a 5.7-cent reduction in the province’s fuel tax

Sources: Global News, Ontario PC, The Globe And Mail, The Toronto Star, Maclean’s

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP says its projected deficits from its budget will be partially paid for by tax increases:

  • Increase the corporate tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 13 per cent, while keeping the Liberals’ earlier reduction to small business corporate tax rates
  • Raise income tax rates by one percentage point for those earning more than $220,000 and two percentage points on incomes greater than $300,000
  • Enacting a three per cent surcharge on luxury cars priced above $90,000
  • Implementing a speculation tax targeting Canadian and foreign home buyers similar to the model enacted by B.C. NDP government

Sources: NDP Platform

Green Party of Ontario

Lower payroll taxes for businesses, raise resource royalty rates for companies making money from mining, reduce property speculation by taxing vacant properties, add a surtax on quick turnaround real estate sales and expand the Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation

Hydro

Liberal Party of Ontario

With the decision to sell off 60 per cent of Hydro One and rising hydro costs, the Liberals face an uphill battle to impress voters. Highlights:

  • Through its Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan, the Liberals are offering a 25 per cent cut in hydro bills, with larger savings of 40-to-50 per cent for rural communities
  • The affordability fund, launched last October, would help Ontarians who don’t quality for low‐income conservation programs to buy items that improve home energy efficiency, including LED light bulbs, greener appliances, and better insulation

Sources: 2018 Ontario Budget; Ministry of Energy

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Doug Ford has said that he’d fire the CEO of Hydro One. Since the utility’s privatization, however, that power no longer rests with the provincial government. Other highlights:

Sources: CBC News; Toronto Star, Doug Ford’s official Twitter account; Global News

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP says its plan would cut hydro bills by 30 per cent. Highlights:

  • Return control of Hydro One to the provincial government by buying back the share of the utility that’s been sold to private investors
  • Cut rural electricity rates by about 15 per cent
  • End time-of-use billing; set a flat rate of 10.3¢ per kWh (Currently, rates fluctuate between 6.5–13.2¢ per kWh based on the time of day)
  • Open negotiations with the federal government to remove HST on hydro bills

Sources: NDP Website (archived); Hydro One; NDP Hydro Plan PDF (archived)

Green Party of Ontario

Cancel the Liberals’ hydro plan, transition to revenue-neutral carbon fee-and-dividend system, return pollution tax revenue to people who conserve more energy and oppose the rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear station, which Schreiner says will increase hydro bills by “180 per cent.”

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation

Health Care

Liberal Party of Ontario

Kathleen Wynne is heavily showcasing her plans for this area in the 2018 Ontario’s budget. Highlights:

  • Invest $822 million to bolster hospital care and infrastructure—the largest annual boost in more than a decade
  • Spend $300 million over three years for registered nurses in every long-term care facility in Ontario and increase the number of hours each RN spends with patients by 2022
  • Introducing a drug and dental program to cover 80 per cent of specific drugs and dental costs
  • Expanding OHIP+ program to cover drug costs to seniors 65 and over, which is projected to cost $575 million
  • Spend $2.1 billion to “rebuild” Ontario’s mental health system
  • Hire 3,500 new nurses by the end of this year

Source: 2018 Ontario Budget

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

The Ontario PCs haven’t yet released a comprehensive platform to replace former leader Patrick Brown’s “People’s Guarantee.” But on the health care front, Ford has promised to:

  • Add 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years and 30,000 new beds over the next 10 years
  • Put an end to “hallway medicine” (when hospital overcrowding leads to patients being treated outside of more private rooms), although Ford hasn’t provided specifics as to how
  • Spend $1.9 billion over the next decade on mental health and addiction support
  • Encourage more doctors to move to northern Ontario by cutting their provincial taxes down to as low as zero per cent
  • Opposed to planned safe-injection sites for Ontario, particularly “in neighbourhoods”
  • Invest $98 million a year to provide dental care to low-income seniors

Sources: Ontario PC, Global News, Toronto Star, CityNews

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP has promised an overhaul of drug and dental care as well as a massive boost to hospital care and adding a new ministry of mental health and addictions.

  • Invest $19 billion over 10 years for hospitals, adding 2,000 new hospital beds and 15,000 long-term care beds by 2023
  • Fund more hospital staff to ensure shorter wait times and fewer cancellations for surgeries and remove “arbitrary annual caps” on the number of surgeries due to understaffing
  • Implement a $475-million pharmacare plan covering 125 commonly prescribed drugs including some take-home cancer medication and drugs used for those transitioning genders
  • Expand full dental to contract, full and part-time workers, as well as low-income children and retired seniors living without a pension or dental insurance, at a cost of $670 million in the first year.

Sources: NDP Platform

Green Party of Ontario

Implement universal dental care, push for a federally funded Pharmacare program while extending the provincial system, increase the number of midwifery and birthing centres, expand the number of abortion clinics—particularly in the northand increase funding for Local Health Integration Networks especially in rural areas.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation

Marijuana

Liberal Party of Ontario

The Liberals are pushing full-throttle on the federal plan to legalize recreational pot by this summer.

  • Plan to regulate the sale of marijuana through the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation—the LCBO for weed—which was created on Dec. 12, 2017
  • The new LCBO subsidiary is projected to gain a net income of $100 million in 2020-21 fiscal year, following $48 million in start-up costs before that

Source: 2018 Ontario Budget

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Doug Ford previously said he’d consider privatizing the sale and distribution of weed and alcohol but later softened his stance:

Sources: CBC News, Maclean’s

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP has remained relatively mum on this issue, but what Horwath has said so far is:

  • The NDP favours restricting the sale of pot to adults aged 19 or older, similar to how alcohol is regulated
  • The leader has endorsed the idea of using the LCBO to distribute pot but has suggested the Liberals’ plan to roll out 40 LCBO-run pot shops by next year (150 by 2020) won’t be enough to curb the black market
  • Prime agricultural land must be preserved from being overrun by marijuana-growing operations

Sources: iPolitics, Hamilton News

Green Party of Ontario

Enact a pilot project to test the private retailing of cannabis alongside the LCBO-run dispensaries for two years.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation

Education

Liberal Party of Ontario

Highlights from the Liberals’ laundry list of education promises include:

  • A $625 million boost for education funding and $300 million to improve special education programs
  • As part of a $2.2 billion investment, provide free full-day daycare for preschoolers, starting in 2020
  • Offer OSAP grants for lower-income students to cover their tuition
  • Set aside $411 million to fund a high-school apprenticeship program

Sources: 2018 Ontario Budget

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Doug Ford has said he wants to “review the curriculum in all core subject areas thoroughly“:

  • “Scrap Kathleen Wynne’s ideological sex-ed curriculum and replace it with one that is age-appropriate, and only after real consultation with parents occurs”
  • Scrap discovery math, and replace it with proven methods of teaching.”
  • Expand the mandate of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario to include a complaints and investigations process to evaluate violations of free speech

Sources: Doug Ford press release, The Toronto Star, Doug Ford Tweets, David Hains Tweet

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP has rolled out a 10-year, $16 billion capital plan which would delve into:

  • Convert all student debt into grants and retroactively forgive interest for anyone with provincial student loan debts
  • Create more than 200,000 new child care spaces, nearly a 51 per cent increase from current levels
  • End standardized testing
  • Impose a moratorium on school closings
  • Make child care free for families earning $40,000 or less, with the goal of child-care costs averaging $12 a day; the proposed price tag would be $375 million after the first year, $1 billion the following year and by 2023, it would cost $3 billion annually

Sources: NDP Platform

Green Party of Ontario

Restrict class sizes to 22 students for grades four to eight, scrap standardized testing, revamp special education funding, expand funding to high schools in lower-income communities, provide interest-free  loans for post-secondary students in financial need and enhance funding for adult education and learning tools.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

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Environment and energy

Liberal Party of Ontario

The Liberals say that the province is moving towards a more “competitive and low‐carbon economy.” To that end, the Liberals would:

  • Spend $1.7 billion over three years to support energy-saving programs under the Green Ontario Fund
  • Invest $52 million over three years for new technologies to deal with toxic chemicals, excessive algae and road salt; better manage sewer system overflow
  • Spend $15 million over the next three years to protect forests, wetlands and lakes
  • Invest more than $90 million in 2017–18 to support commuter cycling

Sources: Newswire, 2018 Ontario Budget

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Ford has said his platform will have neither a cap-and-trade system nor a carbon tax (despite the $10-billion hole it would leave in the Tory fiscal plan). Highlights:

  • Repeal Ontario’s existing cap-and-trade system and oppose the federally-mandated minimum price on carbon emissions
  • End Ontario’s Green Energy Act
  • Briefly supported opening Ontario’s Greenbelt to housing development to help drive down real estate costs in Toronto and the GTA but later walked it back, saying the area would be protected in its entirety
  • Cancel energy projects initiated by the current Liberal government that are in the pre-construction phase
  • Issue a moratorium on new energy contracts and re-negotiating other energy contracts

Sources: The Globe And Mail; Global News; Maclean’s; Doug Ford’s official Twitter account

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP plans to use revenue from Ontario’s cap-and-trade program to fund part of its environmental platform, including:

  • $50 million from cap-and-trade programs for new no-interest and on-bill home retrofitting to help residents pay for power-saving technology into their homes
  • Direct 25 per cent of cap-and-trade revenue to rural, northern and lower-income homes and trade-exposed industries
  • Clean up the mercury in the English–Wabigoon River in northwestern Ontario and commit an additional $12 million to a Mercury Disability Fund for people suffering from complications
  • Update the Environmental Bill of Rights and expand parks in consultation with First Nations

Sources: NDP Platform

Green Party of Ontario

Provide funding incentives for business to invest in low carbon equipment and products, support tax credits for research to create new clean technologies and services, make it easier for home owners to upgrade their properties to be more energy efficient and set “aggressive” green house gas targets for public buildings.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

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Transportation

Liberal Party of Ontario

When it comes to transit and transportation infrastructure, the Liberals have promised to:

  • Set aside $79 billion for different public transit projects—up $24 billion from the 2017 budget
  • $11 billion would go to set the groundwork for a high-speed rail line between Toronto to Windsor
  • The rest of the $79 billion would go to integrating municipal services to allow for broader regional infrastructure
  • Match a federal infrastructure grant of nearly $5 billion, with a $4 billion contribution from the provincial infrastructure budgets for public transit projects across Ontario between now and 2028

Source: 2018 Ontario BudgetThe Toronto Star

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario

Doug Ford hasn’t said which infrastructure proposals in the “People’s Guarantee” he’d keep, but has said the PCs would:

  • Commit $5-billion more funds for subways, relief lines, a two-way GO Transit to Niagara Falls as part of existing plan to build a regional transportation system
  • Open the question of Hamilton’s $1.3 billion LRT project to a vote, noting that even if voters reject the LRT, Hamilton would receive the money for other infrastructure projects
  • Develop new transportation infrastructure to open access to the Ring of Fire mining project in Northern Ontario’s James Bay lowlands
  • Cut aviation fuel taxes on interprovincial flights to and from Northern Ontario

Sources: CityNews, Global News; CBC News

Ontario New Democratic Party

The NDP plans to invest more than $800 million in transit across the province. Highlights:

  • Cover 50 per cent of all municipal transit operating costs, which would add up to roughly $330 million in Toronto
  • Introduce all-day, two-way GO rail service between Kitchener, Waterloo and Toronto and year-around GO rail service between Niagara and Toronto
  • Immediately start construction on Hamilton’s light rail transit project and Toronto’s downtown relief line as soon as possible

Sources: NDP Platform

Green Party of Ontario

Phase out internal combustion engines so Ontario can be carbon neutral by 2050, support funding for the private and public purchase of electric vehicles and build better infrastructure for electric vehicles, including more charging stations on 400 series highways.

Sources: Ontario Green Party platform, Mike Schreiner Twitter, Green Party of Ontario

Skip to: Deficits  |  Taxes   | Hydro  |   Health Care   |    Marijuana  | Education   |   Environment & energy   |    Transportation