While the Bloc Québécois supports public healthcare and funding for fundamental research, they have stood in the way of progressive improvements to the system including voting against removing profit from long-term care, based on jurisdictional arguments.
The Conservative Party does not demonstrate adequate support for Canada’s public healthcare system, nor the workers who provide healthcare services. They do not support a national, single-payer pharmacare system, are opposed to national standards of long-term care and deny that privatization poses a risk to the system and to the health of the people who use it.
The Green Party of Canada has long supported protecting and improving Canada’s public healthcare system. They have supported positive measures on pharmacare and dental care. Many of their proposals, however, show some indication that they support means testing, non-profit private options, and personal responsibility for healthcare – none of which are truly progressive approaches.
The Liberals’ 2019 platform promised an additional $6 billion in healthcare spending over the next four years, tied to outcomes and negotiated with the provinces and territories. In 2019 they also promised a national pharmacare program although this was abandoned. Through the course of the pandemic, the Liberals have provided funding for emergency healthcare measures across the country. The Liberals voted against an NDP bill to enact national pharmacare and have refused PSAC’s call to make Revera Long Term Care publicly owned and operated. They did promise national long-term care standards but have since reversed that position in favour of weaker industry-led accreditation standards.
The New Democrats have championed universal, publicly funded, publicly operated healthcare. Whether working to ensure that the Canada Health Act is adhered to, or to ensure that people in Canada have access to all forms of healthcare by introducing legislation to include pharmacare, dental care, a dementia strategy or palliative care into our health system, the NDP has stood by workers and by all Canadians on this issue. While the NDP has repeatedly introduced legislation to implement pharmacare, the other parties have defeated it. The NDP immediately understood the problems inherent in Revera being owned and operated by the Public Service Pension Plan and sought to correct the situation using motions in the House and at committee. Throughout this last Parliament, the NDP stood with PSAC on this issue.
The Bloc Québécois 2019 platform included some measures to tax internet giants and crackdown on tax havens, however Bloc MPs voted against the NDP’s wealth tax motion introduced in 2021
The Bloc have been generally silent on issues related to protecting the federal public service and have supported efforts to use temporary contractors to solve labour shortages.
Pushed in this parliament for reforms to include arts and culture workers
Introduced C-314 in the previous parliament to increase the qualifying period for workers on parental and other leaves.
The Bloc has proposals to extend EI (Employment Insurance) sickness benefits to 50 weeks.
Conservative MPs voted against a wealth tax,
The Conservatives have never been supportive of robust public services. Many of the currently sitting MPs voted in favour of draconian cuts to the public service when Harper was Prime Minister. Conservatives regularly propose and promote contracting out and other forms of privatization.
Filibustered and delayed vote on Bill C-24 which brought in important COVID-19-related temporary changes to EI regime
Promised to make EI for parental leave tax-free in previous platform
Were responsible for cuts to EI in recent past governments
The Conservatives do not support paid sick leave provisions.
The Greens support taxing the rich and voted in favour of wealth tax measures in this last parliament. They support closing tax loopholes.
The Greens are vague on matters of strengthening public services, although they demonstrate support for collective bargaining and oppose back to work legislation in the public sector
While the 2019 Green platform made the commitment below, the document currently carries a disclaimer that this is “not applicable during the COVID-19 pandemic”. We are unclear about what this means.
Restore employment insurance to seasonal workers;
Restore adequate staffing to Service Canada to ensure access to the EI program for workers entitled to benefits;
Dedicate taxes collected on chemical contaminants and unhealthy food to reduce EI premiums to workers and employers.
The Greens have been vague on matters of paid sick leave.
It remains to be seen whether the Liberals will continue to use stimulus measures to ensure a just pandemic recovery or will resort to austerity measures.
While their 2019 platform promised to review tax breaks for the wealthy, Liberal MPs voted against the NDP’s wealth tax motion. The recent budget committed to a luxury tax on sales of luxury items, to eliminate some tax breaks, and to tackle tax evasion. The Liberal government continues to study other progressive tax measures.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the Liberals have continued to contract out public services.
They have provided significant funding and responsibility to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, an agency that exists to use public private partnerships, to provide many public services.
The Liberals promised, in 2015 and again in the Minister’s mandate letter this past year to “forward and implement a plan to modernize the employment insurance system for the 21st century. To date, this has been reflected by a late in the session launch of a lengthy consultation process.
Temporary changes to the EI regime, brought in during the pandemic, have remained temporary in the most recent budget, which Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) policy director Chris Roberts called “a 'damp squib' for EI changes.”
Budget 2021 offered some indication of some individual changes, but not the overarching revamping that is necessary.
Promised changes to support gig workers have now been the subject of 3 consultations, with little action.
The Liberal government implemented a modest increase to EI sickness benefits.
The NDP introduced wealth tax legislation in this last parliament.
The NDP supports closing tax loopholes that favour the very wealthy.
The NDP has championed a robust public service that has the tools and capacity necessary to deliver quality services for all residents of Canada.
They oppose the privatization of public services, public-private partnerships, and the use of precarious work to deliver services.
The NDP supports PSAC’s campaigns to stop contracting out at the Department of National Defence, Canadian Revenue Agency, Employment and Social Development Canada and other departments.
Support a full modernizing of the EI system
Critical of Liberal government’s ongoing studies and temporary, piece-meal measures
2019 platform had a broad, overarching approach including:
Reducing the qualifying time to 360 hours
Increasing the replacement rate to 60 per cent
Protecting the EI operating account in law “so that future governments can’t raid it for general revenue.”
Creating a low income supplement
Providing flexibility for parental leave, and including gig workers
The NDP has introduced Bill C-212 expanding EI sickness benefits to 50 weeks. It has not yet been brought to a vote
The NDP support paid sick leave.
The Bloc Québécois has introduced and supported progressive legislation in Parliament. They support keeping glyphosate rates low, fulfilling Canada’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments and Bloc MPs voted in favour of the NDP’s Climate Emergency Framework bill.
This past session of Parliament saw the introduction of several progressive bills and motions aimed at urgently fighting climate change and setting in place measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. While the other parties worked together to support this effort, ultimately passing legislation, the Conservatives voted against every single one. Conservative talking points are focused on new future technology solutions as opposed to embracing the hard political choices that are required.
The Greens have a broad and robust plan to address climate change and environmental issues, although some experts indicate that it is not substantially different from the NDP plan in terms of impact. In this Parliament, they introduced and supported progressive environmental legislation. A just transition, including protecting workers whose incomes and working lives will be impacted by the transition away from fossil fuels, also forms the basis of their job-creation proposals.
The Liberal climate change and environmental plan have been quite ambitious in proposals. During this last Parliament, the Liberal government earmarked funds for clean electricity across Canada, renewable energy certificates for all federal government buildings, planning of hydroelectric and grid interconnection projects in the North, capacity building for clean energy projects in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities, moving farms off diesel, renewable energy and grid modernization projects across the country, a permanent public transit fund and high-frequency rail in the Toronto-Quebec City corridor. The Liberals have launched an engagement process asking Canadians how the Government of Canada can ensure a just and equitable transition to a low-carbon future for workers and their communities. This seems to ignore work that has already been done with labour around just transition in Alberta, where the industry has received funding, but workers and communities have not.
The NDP has historically championed environmental issues and ways to combat climate change. In the last Parliaments, the NDP introduced legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, supported similar legislation introduced by other parties, and worked to ensure that stopping and mitigating climate change is accomplished in an urgent fashion while also creating jobs end ensuring a just transition to a low carbon economy.
In the 2019 election the Bloc Québécois supported federal government action on the recommendations of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) but have been relatively silent on the issue since then. The Bloc Québécois supports full implementation of all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.
While in office the Conservative Party did little other than issue an empty apology about residential schools without taking any concrete actions towards reconciliation. Party Leader Erin O’Toole attempted to brand his party as the protector of Canada Day following calls to scale back festivities this year. Although they criticize the Liberal government for the content of their action plan on MMIWG, the Conservatives refused to call an inquiry when they were in government. The Conservative Party is currently focusing some effort on encouraging the Liberal government to implement TRC calls to action 71 – 76 on residential schools and burial information.
The Greens support the implementation of the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Woman and Girls, has issued comprehensive demands on the federal government and the Catholic Church to begin the process to truth and reconciliation on residential schools, and to correct systems that force large numbers of Indigenous children into the child welfare system. The Greens support enacting all recommendations of the TRC.
Since 2015 the Liberal Party has repeatedly said that their most valued relationship is the one they have with Indigenous peoples. Government actions, however, don’t always support that statement. Budget 2021 invests significantly in measures to address the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The Liberals have repeatedly said that they plan to fully implement each and every one of the Calls to Action but six years on, only 14 have been completed. The Yellowhead Institute issued a report in which they said: “Perhaps the most significant barrier to success has been low priority placed on meaningful structural changes, compared with other competing priorities … it has become clear that the broader 'public interest' has been viewed in opposition to the interests of Indigenous peoples and, therefore, has operated as a barrier to any meaningful movement on reconciliation.”
New Democrats have been committed to Truth and Reconciliation and have worked with Indigenous leaders and communities to introduce appropriate legislation. NDP MPs have called upon the government to drop legal battles against First Nations children, to make quicker progress on clean drinking water and safe housing, and to commit to implementing the Calls for Justice in the MMIWG report.
The Bloc Québécois have not stated they support a national, universal child care plan, beyond expecting a no-strings-attached federal transfer of child care funding.
While the Conservatives have often talked the talk about supporting parents who need child care, their ongoing opposition to a national, universal child care program continues. Their approach – to provide direct payments to parents that are inadequate to pay for any current child care options – and their rhetoric about “choice in child care’ with no efforts to increase accessibility, will do little to improve outcomes for children and parents.
The Green Party’s approach to child care has been robust, universal, national child care with additional incentives for capital construction.
A highlight of the Liberal government’s work during this Parliament has been the fulfillment of their 2019 platform promise: the introduction of a national child care program. As of this writing, five provinces and one territory have signed on. The Liberals introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), providing significant support to families with young children, indexed to inflation. A supplemental amount was added to the CCB to support families with additional COVID-19 related expenses.
The NDP has long championed a national, universal child care program with appropriate wages and benefits for child care workers.
The Bloc Québécois has supported increasing long-term, sustainable core funding for post-secondary education and for research through an increase in federal transfer payments. They have shown public support for the Franco-Ontarian community by endorsing the idea of a French language university and by supporting the concerns in the community about the loss of programming at Laurentian University.
The Conservative party pays little attention to issues related to post-secondary education. Their 2019 platform included a Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) matching program which provided further supports to those who could already afford to save for tuition. In this last Parliament, when debating supports for students, Conservative MPs indicated that families need to be better at saving. When discussing the need for strong support for research, the Conservatives prefer to discuss the private sector and commercialization of research.
The Greens have consistently supported measures to make post-secondary education accessible for all, including efforts to make tuition free, forgive student debt, and address chronic underfunding and precarious work within post-secondary institutions.
The Liberal attention to post-secondary education has been moderate at best. The 2019 platform promised some measures to make post-secondary education somewhat more accessible but there has not been a robust commitment to sustainable, public, post-secondary education. Emergency student benefits during the pandemic were welcome but limited. When approached by the president of Laurentian University about their dire financial crisis, the Liberals did not engage and later pled ignorance to the situation.
The NDP actively pursued changes that would increase long-term, sustainable funding for post-secondary education and that would make post-secondary education more accessible for disabled students, Indigenous students and for students with limited financial means. Their 2019 platform promised to make post-secondary education part of the public education system. When the news broke about the deep cuts to staff and programs at Laurentian University, the NDP mobilized and called for immediate supports and an investigation.
The Bloc Québécois has not made specific promises about harassment in the federal public service. In this session of Parliament, they split their focus between placing the blame for harassment at the Department of National Defence (DND) on the Conservatives, connecting senior military appointments to the years the Conservatives were in power and calling for the resignation of the Minister of Defence.
The Bloc Québécois has been a solid supporter of labour rights over the years, including introducing and voting in favour of legislation that would ban replacement workers. The Bloc Québécois also voted against back to work legislation at the Port of Montreal.
The Conservatives have not been known to champion the rights of workers to a harassment-free workplace. However, In the recent Parliament, they called upon the Minister of Defence to take responsibility for the ongoing toxic workplace culture at DND, including moving a motion of censure against the Minister. The issue is not mentioned in their current materials in any meaningful way.
Although Erin O’Toole is attempting to appeal to workers, he and his caucus have consistently shown themselves to be no friend of labour. O’Toole and the Conservatives voted for back to work legislation, against legislation that proposed to ban replacement workers, and against positive changes to labour standards. Erin O’Toole was a member of the Harper cabinet when thousands of federal public service workers were forced into unemployment.
The Greens addressed workplace harassment in the “civil service” in their 2019 platform as an issue that they would work to solve. They have been outspoken in their support for harassment-free workplaces for public sector workers.
Both in their 2019 platform and in their actions in the House of Commons, the Greens have shown support for labour and for public service workers. They voted against back to work legislation, support collective bargaining and are interested in exploring progressive labour reforms, such as shorter work weeks, in order to proactively mitigate concerns about job losses during the transition to a low carbon economy.
Late in 2020, this government released its Directive on the Prevention and Resolution of Workplace Harassment and Violence, meant to align the public service with new changes to the Canada Labour Code and ensure that federal government organizations are better able to prevent and respond to harassment and provide support to impacted workers. The most recent budget provided some funding to the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to expand their work to eliminate sexual misconduct and gender-based violence. The Liberal government appointed retired Supreme Court Justice Mme Louise Arbour to lead an investigation into the toxic culture at DND.
The Liberals introduced back to work legislation against workers at the Port of Montreal. While their 2019 platform contained many promises to reduce precarious work and to increase labour protections for precarious workers this work continues with ongoing consultations. The Liberals increased the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. The recent budget provides funds for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including healthcare workers, front-line workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, and racialized and Black Canadians. The budget also includes funds for enhanced EI sickness benefits to 26 weeks and for more reliable EI support for seasonal workers.
The NDP has committed to ending harassment in all federal workplaces, including those in the military. NDP MPs are currently examining the incident and response rate to workplace harassment issues across all government departments and agencies. The NDP have long been champions of harassment-free, safe workplaces.
Since its inception 60 years ago, the NDP has supported labour and the issues that matter to working people. In this session of Parliament, the NDP introduced anti-scab legislation, voted against back to work legislation for the Port of Montreal, challenged the government in the House and in committees on its ongoing efforts to privatize public services, and participated in efforts to ensure safe workplaces and consistent incomes for workers in the face of the pandemic.
The Bloc Québécois did not speak out against Quebec’s discriminatory Bill 21 which bans public school teachers, judges, police officers and other public service workers from wearing religious symbols – like the hijab, kippah and turban – while at work. In this most recent parliament, they introduced legislation that attempted to exempt Quebec from the Multiculturalism Act. This legislation failed in Parliament.
The Bloc Quebecois has shown its support for the one-time additional payment to Canada Pension Plan disability benefit (CPP-D) recipients proposed by the Liberal government. It is also in favour of increasing income support measures during the pandemic.
Although the Bloc Quebecois does not have a specific platform on LGBTQ2+ issues, they have been consistent on voting in favour of legislation like same-sex marriage and ending conversion therapy, calling the practice “barbaric”. They are also in favour of ending the blood ban.
In their pandemic relief plan, the Bloc Quebecois proposed to simplify the tax measures imposed on part-time entrepreneurs to help women in business balance work and family. Their 2019 platform included several measures for women, including championing access to abortion, fiscal measures for women entrepreneurs and maternity leave. They also pledge to approach parity in number of women candidates.
In 2019 the BQ asked for unanimous consent for a motion recognizing women's right to choose. Only the CPC voted against it.
The Conservative Party made no mention of racism in their 2019 platform. To date, Erin O’Toole has not stated that he believes systemic racism exists, and Conservative MPs have argued that it is wrong to describe the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) as racist. Conservative MPs also challenge the idea that wearing blackface is an overt act of white supremacy. They use systemic racism as a shaming tool against the Prime Minister but have done nothing significant to make the situation better.
Some Conservatives were critical of the Accessible Canada Act, saying it created more bureaucracy and red tape and opposed the creation of new federal officials like the Accessibility Commissioner and the Canada Accessibility Standards Organization, to implement the bill.
While some Conservative MPs have been vocal supporters of LGBTQ2+ issues, others from the social conservative wing of the party spoke out against Bill C-6, legislation which would ban conversion therapy, and voted against it in the House of Commons. The CPC is only as progressive on LGBTQ2+ issues as its most socially conservative members. The party lags on queer inclusivity because a number of Conservative MPs still hold anti-queer and anti-trans beliefs.
The Conservatives voted against a BQ motion asking for unanimous consent recognizing women’s right to choose. Erin O’Toole allowed a free vote on a Conservative MP’s private member’s Bill C-233, which would have limited abortion rights. 82 Conservative MPs supported the bill that was defeated by all other members in the House.
The Greens’ 2019 platform makes no mention of systemic racism and has only one reference to inclusion. They have supported some measures introduced by other parties that relate to environmental racism and diabetes in racialized communities.
The Greens called for permanent increases to existing income support measures (Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), CPP-D) but did not propose new measures.
The Greens support banning conversion therapy and ending the blood ban. They voted in favour of Bill C-6.
The Greens have been supportive of some progressive women's issues and issues of gender equity. Green MPs supported a Bloc motion recognizing women’s right to choose. The Greens’ 2019 platform committed to develop a Canada-wide plan of action to eliminate violence against women, girls and gender-diverse people, and to provide more than 2,100 new and renovated spaces in first-stage shelters and hundreds of spaces in transition houses.
The most recent Liberal budget has addressed three promises from their 2019 platform – to:
strengthen the Anti-Racism Strategy and double its funding;
boost funding for community-led initiatives to promote inclusion and combat racism; and
improve the quality and amount of data collection Statistics Canada does regarding hate crimes in Canada, to help create effective and evidence-based policies to counteract these crimes.
The Liberals also attempted to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug and some gun-related offences, to address environmental racism and to update Canada’s broadcasting policies to serve the needs of Canadians from racialized communities and from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds, including providing opportunities and programming that reflects Indigenous cultures.
The Liberal government introduced legislation to create a standalone Canada Disability Benefit modelled after the GIS. They have increased funding for accessible housing initiatives (Reaching Home Fund) over the course of their government and have tripled support for enabling accessibility measures. Pandemic measures included a one-time $600 added payment to CPP-D recipients.
The Liberal government had the opportunity to ban conversion therapy three times: in 2018 when the NDP tabled a petition showing huge public support; again in 2020 when a government bill banning the practice was introduced but allowed to languish on the order paper; and again in 2021 when another government bill was introduced far too late in the legislative calendar to pass the Senate and become law. Although they campaigned on ending the blood ban, the Liberals have delayed fulfilling this promise, and in fact, Health Canada is currently fighting a discrimination case brought against it by a would-be blood donor who is currently banned from donating. Budget 2021 had some positive measures to support LGBTQ2+ people seeking mental healthcare, employment services and for the creation of a LGBTQ2 Secretariat but no mention of specific supports for the trans community in the areas of healthcare in general and gender affirming healthcare.
Budget 2021 introduced several measures funding research on women’s health, sexual and reproductive health. Further funding for programs to combat gender-based violence and domestic violence are welcomed. While the Liberals have made some attempts to address harassment in the workplace, particularly in public sector workplaces, the situation became more dire on their watch. Much more needs to be done. Federal pay equity measures are being implemented starting August 31, after being included in the 2018 budget, prompted by an NDP motion in an earlier parliament.
The NDP has long been calling for the government to address systemic racism in the justice system and have voted in support to repeal mandatory minimum penalties for drug and some gun-related offences. In this last Parliament, the NDP made efforts to study and change racism in policing, symbols of hate, Islamophobia, and systemic racism in the RCMP.
The NDP has indicated support for the Canada Disability Benefit Act, introduced but not voted on, late in the session. They proposed a federal disability incomes fund measure to bring supports for disabled people in line with supports for others experiencing income hardship because of the pandemic. They introduced affordable housing legislation that did not pass in this session.
The NDP has consistently proposed and supported measures that are supported by the LGBTQ2+ community. From the same-sex marriage votes to anti-conversion therapy legislation, to opposition to the blood ban, the NDP has been unwavering in doing whatever possible to fight for the rights of the queer community.
The NDP has always championed women and gender equity issues. Throughout the pandemic, they have drawn attention to the disproportional burden placed on women, whether through increased child care, elder care and homeschooling, or job losses, or as healthcare providers. The New Democrats made the connection between the loss of programs at Laurentian University and the impact on women in Northern Ontario – those who would be unable to attend schools further from home, and those who were pursuing midwifery studies that were suddenly facing cuts. The New Democrats have always supported pay equity measures. An NDP motion passed by the House of Commons led to the creation of a special committee on pay equity which recommended a new, proactive law in 2016, which was enacted in 2018.