Federal parties have spent weeks laying the foundations for their campaign and the promises they intend to make to address a suite of issues they believe are at the tops of voters’ minds in the Oct. 21 federal election.
You’ve likely already heard references to what is to come: The cost of living is too high, so we’ll make it easier for you to manage your household budget; climate change needs to be addressed, and we’ll make sure that happens.
You may have heard some specifics, particularly when it comes to balancing the federal budget — and how it won’t be possible in the life of one government.
Here’s a running list of specific promises made by the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and Greens since the official start of the campaign on Sept. 11.
Oct. 17: Apply a "disability lens" to government decisions to consider how they might affect people with disabilities differently from others.
Oct. 8: Help northern, remote and Indigenous communities transition from diesel power to renewable energy sources by 2030.
Oct. 1: Provide $250 million over five years to help municipalities develop solutions to gang violence and gun crime. The funding would be sent directly to cities, "bypassing" the need to deal with provinces.
Sept. 29: Run deficits for the next four years — $27.4 billion next year, falling to $21 billion by the fourth year of the mandate. Lower the debt-to-GDP ratio to 30.2 per cent by 2023-24.
Increase Canada Student Grants by 40 per cent. Extend a student-loan-repayment grace period to two years from six months. Increase the threshold at which recent graduates would have to start repaying loans to $35,000 of income, up from $25,000. Allow new parents to pause repayments until their youngest child turns five, without accruing interest during that time.
Impose an additional 10 per cent excise tax on luxury cars, boats and personal aircraft with price tags of more than $100,000.
Impose a three per cent tax on tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook with global revenues of at least $1 billion a year and Canadian annual revenues of at least $40 million for revenue generated by the sale of online advertising and users' personal data.
Introduce a national tax on vacant residential properties owned by non-resident foreigners.
Crack down on tax loopholes that allow large corporations to excessively deduct debt to artificially reduce the amount of taxes they pay. Conduct a comprehensive review of government spending and tax expenditures, with a focus on tax measures that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest individuals and large corporations.
Create a new federal Family Day holiday.
Hike the federal minimum wage to $15. Extend employment insurance sickness benefits to 26 weeks from 15 weeks. Create a "career insurance benefit" to kick in after EI benefits run out for long-time employees of a business that shuts down.
Create a "director of terrorism prosecutions" to ensure Canadians who travel abroad to join terrorist organizations or plot terrorist activities at home are brought to justice.
Double funding for the federal anti-racism strategy and require all judges to take mandatory training on unconscious bias and cultural sensitivity.
Regulate online hate speech, exploitation and harassment, starting with requiring social media giants to remove illegal content, including hate speech, from their platforms within 24 hours or face "significant financial penalties."
Introduce a $200 credit, called a "culture pass," for every Canadian child when they turn 12, to be used in theatres, museums and other cultural venues.
Sept. 27: Spend $3 billion to plant two billion trees over 10 years, support 3,500 seasonal, tree-planting jobs, help cities expand and diversity their urban forests, protect Canada's trees from infestations, and help rebuild forests after wildfires.
Sept. 26: Conserve and protect 25 per cent of Canada's land and 25 per cent of Canada's oceans by 2025, working towards 30 per cent of each by 2030. Expand the Learn to Camp program, and give 75,000 low-income children and their families up to four nights in national or provincial parks, including travel bursaries of up to $2,000.
Sept. 25: Provide homeowners and landlords with interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to pay for environmental retrofits, create a Net Zero Homes Grant of up to $5,000 for people who buy newly built homes certified as zero-emissions, spend $100 million on skills training for workers to conduct energy audits, retrofits and net-zero home construction. Create a low-cost national flood insurance program and a national plan to help relocate homeowners in high-risk flood zones, spend $150 million to complete flood mapping in every province and territory, and design a disaster assistance benefit through the employment insurance system.
Sept. 24: Cut tax rates for companies that produce zero-emissions technology like electric cars and their batteries, from nine per cent to 4.5 per cent for small businesses and from 15 per cent to 7.5 per cent for larger companies. Ensure all federal buildings run on clean electricity by 2022. Get Canada's net greenhouse-gas emissions to zero by 2050, including exceeding Canada's current target of reducing emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Pass legislation to help businesses and workers make the transition to clean energy.
Sept. 23: Ensure every Canadian can find a family doctor or primary-care team, set national standards for access to mental-health services, expand home care and palliative care services. Implement universal pharmacare, starting with a Canada Drug Agency to make medication purchasing more effective and efficient, bring down the cost of lifesaving high-cost drugs through a rare-disease drug strategy.
Sept. 22: Make the first $15,000 of income tax-free for Canadians earning $147,667 a year or less and lower cellphone bills by 25 per cent.
Sept. 20: Ban all military-style assault rifles and work with provinces and territories to empower municipalities to further restrict or ban handguns. Create a buy-back program for all legally purchased assault rifles and have a two-year amnesty while the program is being set up. Not re-establish the controversial long-gun registry.
Sept. 18: Increase old age security by an extra 10 per cent once a senior turns 75 with change to take effect July 2020; increase the Canada Pension Plan survivor benefit by 25 per cent.
Sept. 17: Increase the Canada child benefit by 15 per cent for children under one, remove federal taxes from employment-insurance payments for maternity and parental leave, introduce an extra 15 weeks of leave for adoptive parents (EI currently covers 35 weeks for adoptive parents), and work to establish "guaranteed paid family leave" for those who don't qualify for EI.
Sept. 16: Spend at least $535 million per year to help create up to 250,000 more spaces for children in before- and after-school child-care programs, reduce fees parents pay for elementary school programs by 10 per cent, and ensure 10 per cent of new spaces go to parents who work outside normal hours.
Sept. 13: Eliminate the "swipe fee" merchants pay to credit-card companies on every transaction, reduce the cost of federal incorporation, make federal business advisory services fee-free, create a voluntary payroll system to automate records for small businesses, launch a pilot project to give up to $50,000 to up to 2,000 entrepreneurs to help them start businesses, and give $250 for new businesses to develop a website or e-commerce platform.
Sept. 12: Impose a national one-per-cent tax on properties owned by non-Canadians and non-residents; raise the value of homes allowed under the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive to $789,000 from $505,000.
Oct. 17: Use every available legislative tool to prevent obstruction and delay to pass legislation to repeal the carbon tax by Jan. 1, 2020.
Oct. 16: Establish a sliding scale of penalties for violations of the Conflict of Interest Act that do not currently carry penalties. Penalties will be proportional to the severity of the violation and the seniority of the offender and carry a maximum fine of $20,000.
Oct. 15: Host a meeting of premiers in Ottawa on Jan. 6 to discuss inter-provincial trade, appoint a minister in charge of inter-provincial trade.
Oct. 14: Table a fiscal update within 45 days of forming government that would include implementing tax credits for green home renovations, public transit and children's arts and fitness programs by Jan. 1, 2020.
Oct. 12: Create a "Commission on the Reduction of Government Subsidy Programs to Corporations," headed by former B.C. finance minister Kevin Falcon and former Via Rail chief executive Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, within first 100 days in office. Mandate the commission to reduce corporate subsidies by $1.5 billion annually, recommend performance metrics for subsidy programs, and review innovation programs so they support Canadian companies that provide benefits, profits and patents that stay in Canada.
Oct. 9: Renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States so asylum claimants formerly in the U.S. who seek protection on Canadian soil can be returned there. Hire 250 new border-security agents. Move immigration judges closer to common illegal crossing points for faster hearings.
Oct. 8: Fund the Ontario Line and Yonge Subway Extension in Toronto, the George Massey Tunnel replacement project in British Columbia, and a third link across the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.
Oct. 4: End the right to bail for gang members awaiting trial and revoke parole for any gang member who associates with their former gang following release. Label gangs as criminal entities in the Criminal Code, similar to terrorist organizations. Introduce five-year minimum sentences for violent gang crime and for possession of a smuggled firearm. Create a Canada Border Services Agency task force to prevent the flow of illegal firearms at the Canada-U.S. border. Strengthen background checks for gun licenses and make it a crime to provide a firearm to anyone who has been prohibited from owning them. Institute consecutive sentences for convictions on multiple counts of human trafficking.
Oct. 3: Reduce to 150 from 200 the number of service hours required for volunteer firefighters and search-and-rescue workers to qualify for a non-refundable tax credit to offset costs for supplies.
Oct. 2: Work with provinces and municipalities to stop raw sewage from being dumped in waterways.
Oct. 1: Cut 25 per cent from Canada's $6-billion foreign aid budget. The reduction would be made to Canadian funding for "middle- and upper-income" countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Italy, and "repressive regimes" like Iran and North Korea that are "hostile to Canada's interests and values." The Conservatives would redirect $700 million from the savings to strengthen foreign aid in other countries.
Sept. 30: Allow more Canadians to qualify for the disability tax credit by reducing the number of hours spent per week on life-sustaining therapy needed to qualify for the credit from 14 to 10 and expand the definition for that therapy.
Sept. 28: Create a national energy corridor to carry oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications from coast to coast.
Sept. 27: Prioritize infrastructure spending towards projects that shorten commute times and scrap the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Sept. 26: Launch a judicial inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair and introduce the "No More Cover Ups Act" to allow the RCMP to ask the Supreme Court of Canada for access to information protected by cabinet confidence.
Sept. 25: Provide eligible households a 20 per cent refundable tax credit for green improvements to their homes of between $1,000 and $20,000 as part of a two-year program.
Sept. 24: Repeal tax increases on small-business investments, exempt spouses from tax increases on small-business dividends, appoint an expert panel to review and help modernize the tax system, help businesses better navigate the tax system, reduce regulations by 25 per cent over four years and implement a two-for-one rule to eliminate existing regulations when new ones are applied, and assign a minister responsible for regulation cuts.
Sept. 23: Ease the mortgage stress-test for first-time homebuyers and remove the stress test from mortgage renewals. Allow amortization periods on insured mortgages of 30 years for first-time homebuyers (up from 25 years). Launch an inquiry into money-laundering in the real-estate sector. Make surplus federal land available for housing development.
Sept. 22: Clear the backlog of veterans' benefit applications in two years. Create a reliable pension system for veterans. Enshrine a guarantee in legislation that every veteran be treated with respect and be provided services in a timely manner. Strengthen transition services, help more veterans get service dogs, support the National Memorial for Canada's War in Afghanistan, and hold an inquiry about Canadian Armed Forces members who were administered mefloquine.
Sept. 20: Spend $1.5 billion in first term to purchase MRI and CT machines to replace aging equipment and add machines across the country to reduce wait times for potentially life-saving tests. Maintain and enrich the current funding formula for the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer to provinces.
Sept. 19: Increase the Age Tax Credit by $1,000, which the party says would save individual seniors up to $150 and couples as much as $300.
Sept. 18: Review all federal business subsidies and eliminate economic-development programs where funds benefit shareholders, corporate executives, foreign companies, lobbyists or consultants to find $1.5 billion in annual savings; make sure regional ministers oversee regional development agencies; support "strategic industries," such as aerospace, if the money stays in Canada and creates or protects jobs.
Sept. 17: Increase federal contribution to registered education savings plans (RESPs) from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for every dollar families add to the savings program, up to $2,500 per year. Provide low-income parents payments worth 50 per cent on the first $500 they invest annually.
Sept. 16: Provide up to $150 back on taxes per child up to age 16 enrolled in sports and fitness classes. Provide up to $75 back on taxes per child up to age 16 in an arts and learning program, such as dance classes, drawing or after-school tutoring.
Sept. 15: Cut the tax rate on the lowest federal income bracket (up to $47,630) from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent over four years, which the party says would save a two-income couple earning average salaries about $850 a year.
Sept. 13: Reintroduce a 15-per-cent Green Public Transit Tax Credit that would apply at tax time to any transit pass allowing for unlimited travel within Canada on local buses, streetcars, subways, commuter trains, and ferries, as well as electronic fare cards when used for an extended period.
Sept. 12: Remove federal income tax from maternity and parental benefits under employment insurance, by providing a tax credit of 15 per cent for any income earned under these two programs.
Oct. 8: Immediately remove all interest on current and future post-secondary federal student loans, and replace student loans with non-repayable grants.
Oct. 4: Immediately provide $19 million in funding for a mercury poisoning treatment centre in Grassy Narrows. Commit $1.8 billion to ensuring all Indigenous reserves have clean and safe drinking water by 2021.
Oct. 1: Allow new parents to condense their employment-insurance benefits to enable them to take shorter parental leaves while still receiving the full benefit. Increase the wage-replacement rate to 60 per cent from 55 per cent.
Sept. 30: Spend $10 billion over the next four years to create 500,000 new child-care spaces, and establish free or low-cost childcare for all Canadian families by 2030, with the daily fee topping out at about $10 per child.
Sept. 29: Create a $100-million fund dedicated to helping keep young people out of gangs.
Sept. 28: Increase annual federal funding for BC Ferries by $30 million.
Sept. 27: Create a $40-million coastal protection fund to defend wild salmon, remove derelict vessels, clean up coastlines and improve coast guard equipment and training.
Sept. 26: Create a rental benefit valued at up to $5,000 annually for as many as 500,000 households, with the federal government spending $1.35 billion per year and the provinces an additional $450 million.
Sept. 25: Spend $20 million for a dedicated RCMP unit to investigate money laundering, launch a national registry to show who profits from real estate, institute a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers to address housing speculation.
Sept. 24: Create a publicly funded $15-billion "climate bank" to support businesses fighting climate change, and provide money for a cross-Canada corridor for clean energy.
Sept. 22: Add $2.5 billion to the federal government's disaster mitigation fund.
Sept. 18: Extend full public dental coverage to households making less than $70,000, and partial coverage to households with incomes between $70,000 and $90,000, starting in 2020.
Sept. 17: Build 500,000 new affordable homes over 10 years, starting with an immediate investment of $5 billion.
Sept. 15: Give Quebec new funding to help integrate immigrants, increased powers in areas such as environmental assessment and trade agreements, expand the province's language law, Bill 101, to cover all federally regulated companies in Quebec, the right to withdraw from federal programs with financial compensation. Also, let Quebec sign the Constitution on its own terms.
Sept. 14: Establish a National Automotive Strategy, including a $300 million Auto Innovation Fund. Purchase Canadian-made zero-emissions vehicles to update government fleets. Increase consumer incentives for zero-emissions vehicles to $15,000 from $5,000, but only for made-in-Canada vehicles.
Create a Canadian Food Strategy to help build local food hubs that link local producers to consumers, and community-supported agriculture.
Sept. 13: Put a price cap on cellphone and internet services, introduce a Telecom Consumers' Bill of Rights, require service providers to offer basic plans and affordable unlimited data plans for cellphones, end caps for internet plans.
Sept. 12: Work with province and municipality to get built a hospital in Brampton, Ont.
Oct. 20: Launch a citizens' assembly on electoral reform with a mandate to make recommendations to Parliament on a new electoral system based on proportional representation. Lower the voting age to 16 and have Elections Canada develop a framework to fight dishonest campaign advertising.
Oct. 18: Build 25,000 new affordable housing units and refurbish 15,000 more, annually for the next 10 years. Create a Canada Co-op Housing Strategy to update the mechanisms for financing co-op housing. Remove the "deemed" GST whenever a developer with empty condo units places them on the market as rentals.
Revamp national trade policy to align with national and international climate-change plans, including reducing the distances over which food is shipped by increasing domestic and local food production. Protect supply management and ensure substances banned in Canada are not imported in food from other countries, such as bovine growth hormone in milk products. Revamp the World Trade Organization to the World Trade and Climate Organization and assign tariffs based on the carbon intensity of imported products.
Oct. 17: Ensure that coastal communities are actively involved in fisheries management and that interior Indigenous communities are also involved in habitat monitoring and protection. Increase funding for research on fish stocks to improve management and protect endangered species in the face of rapidly changing ecosystems. Move all open-net pen finfish aquaculture facilities into closed containment systems on land by 2025.
Oct. 16: Support First Nations, Metis and Inuit in building or rebuilding traditional knowledge systems around healing and wellness, including the formal inclusion of traditional healing within mental wellness and home and community care programs. Create a bulk drug purchasing agency and reduce drug patent protection periods.
Oct. 15: Establish an arm's-length "Federal Tax Commission" to analyze the tax system for fairness and accessibility. Eliminate the rule that allows people and corporations to add only half of their capital gains to their taxable income, but exempt small businesses and family farms.
Oct. 14: Ramp up federal spending on child care by $1 billion each year until Canada achieves international benchmark of at least one per cent of GDP annually. Appoint a federal children's advocate.
Oct. 12: Launch a national re-examination of veterans issues, go back to the way disability pensions were paid more than a decade ago, and extend pension payments to spouses of military and RCMP veterans.
Oct. 11: Ban nuclear and autonomous weapons, or so-called killer robots. Also ban Canadian arms exports to Saudi Arabia and ban the importation of Saudi oil.
Oct. 8: Support Quebec's right to refuse any pipeline crossing its territory, as requested by the National Assembly, and stop construction of any fossil fuel pipeline anywhere in Quebec, including the new CP3 pipeline that would cross the St. Lawrence River and hundreds of waterways.
Oct. 5: Create a process for First Nations to opt out of the Indian Act and work toward dismantling that law.
Oct. 4: Plant 30,000 hectares of trees annually until 2050, amounting to approximately 10 billion trees chosen to be ecologically appropriate and selected for adaptation to new climate regimes.
Oct. 3: Increase, over time, the target income-replacement rate through the Canada Pension Plan from 25 per cent to 50 per cent of income received during working years. Amend the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act to establish the preeminence of pensioners and pension plans in the creditor hierarchy during company insolvency proceedings. Develop and fund a national dementia strategy. Amend the law on medical assistance in dying to allow for advance directives and the right to draw up a "living will" that gives individuals the power to limit or refuse medical intervention and treatment.
Sept. 29: Introduce a "robot tax" on a company when it replaces a worker with a machine. The company would pay a tax equivalent to the income tax paid by that laid-off employee.
Sept. 27: Set interim greenhouse-gas emission targets at five-year-intervals beginning in 2025 as part of a plan to have a 60-per-cent cut in Canada's emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching zero net emissions in 2050.
Sept. 26: Cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and redirect funds to expand and refurbish the national electricity grid.
Sept. 25: Raise new revenue by taxing financial transactions at 0.5 per cent, close a capital gains loophole and impose a one-per cent tax on wealth above $20 million. Allocate one per cent of the GST to housing and other municipal infrastructure. Balance the budget in fiscal year 2024-25, if economic circumstances allow. Implement a tax on "sugary drinks."
Sept. 24: Upgrade Canada Post's fleet to electric vehicles, give postal carriers a mandate to check in on people with mobility issues or who live alone (particularly during extreme heat and storms). Also have Canada Post provide banking services, public high-speed internet access in post offices, and electric-vehicle charging stations in its parking lots.
Sept. 23: Prioritize the expansion of mental-health and rehabilitation services through the Canada Health Accord, create a national dementia strategy to fund research and supports, reduce wait times for mental-health programs and gender-affirming surgeries or hormone-blockers, establish a new funding program to create new peer-led LGBTQI2+ mental-health programs and counselling, eliminate bureaucratic delays for Indigenous health care and create Indigenous-led healing programs, and fund supports for climate-change related mental illnesses (caused by natural disasters, extreme weather, displacement, etc.).
Sept. 21: Address opioid deaths by declaring a national health emergency, decriminalizing drug possession, increasing supports for mental health and addiction, and boosting funding to community-based organizations to test drugs and support drug users. Ensure that Naloxone kits are widely available to treat overdoses.
Sept. 20: Spend $600 million in 2020-21, rising to $720 million by 2023, to develop regional rail networks and strengthen rail connections between regions, and building high-speed rail in the Toronto-Ottawa-Quebec City triangle and the Calgary-Edmonton corridor. Rebrand the Gas Tax Fund as the Municipal Fund and ensure a doubling of current funding for transit and other urban infrastructure. Create a national cycling and walking infrastructure fund.
Sept. 19: Lower the federally set price for cannabis to make it competitive with illegal supplies; eliminate requirements for excess plastic packaging on legal cannabis; remove sales tax on medicinal marijuana products; allow outdoor production of cannabis; impose organic production standards for cannabis.
Sept. 18: Expand medicare system to include dental care for low-income Canadians.
Sept. 17: Require political parties to follow the Privacy Act; prohibit warrantless intrusions on Canadians' communications, ban cyber-surveillance programs that use bulk data collection; increase the powers of the federal privacy commissioner; and require companies to respect a "right to be forgotten" online.
Sept. 16: View all policy through the lens of the climate crisis: the economy, health, education, foreign affairs, immigration, public safety, defence, social welfare, transportation.
Re-introduce legislation to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canadian law and implement the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Create universal pharmacare and dental coverage for low-income Canadians.
Eliminate post-secondary tuition fees and forgive federal student debt.
Create a "guaranteed livable income" program.
Set the federal minimum wage at $15 per hour.
Require a 60-per-cent cut in Canada's greenhouse-gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030, reaching net zero in 2050; have 100 per cent of Canada's electricity come from renewable sources by 2030; ban the sale of cars with combustion engines by 2030.
End pipeline, coal, oil or gas drilling and mining approvals, cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline and fossil-fuel subsidies.
Ban the production, distribution and sale of unnecessary or non-essential petroleum-based single-use plastics by 2022.
Decriminalize drug possession and lower the federally set price for cannabis to make it competitive with illegal supplies.
Eliminate mandatory minimum criminal sentences.
Ensure that the 2019 election is the last "first past the post" election and lower the voting age to 16.
Apply a corporate tax on transnational e-commerce companies doing business in Canada such as Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Uber.
Increase the federal corporate tax rate from 15 to 21 per cent.
Limit credit-card interest rates to a maximum of 10 percentage points above the Bank of Canada prime rate, and limit ATM fees to $1 per transaction, as well as ban financial institutions from charging their own customers ATM fees.
Study the impacts of adopting a shorter work week.
Reform anti-trust laws to enable the break-up of media conglomerates, increase funding to CBC and Radio-Canada by $315 million per year until the per-capita level of funding is equal to that of the BBC.
Eliminate the first-time home-buyer grant.