Election 2019: What the parties have said (and done) on critical issues

Note: The information presented is based on the information available at the time of preparing this article. Members can get more current information by following party announcements that may be made up to the election date. 

Phoenix


Bloc québécois
Publicly supportive of federal workers affected by Phoenix. They have also called for compensation for those impacted. No election commitments.

Conservatives
Has never taken responsibility for recklessly introducing the Phoenix pay system in the first place, or for getting rid of hundreds of experienced compensation advisors. No election commitments.

Greens
Publicly supportive of federal workers affected by Phoenix. Elizabeth May has said in Parliament that the government should "sue IBM and get our own civil servants to fix this mess”. No election commitments.

Liberals
Public service workers told the Liberals that the Phoenix roll-out had to stop, but they didn't listen. Trudeau has yet to compensate our members properly for the suffering that they've endured. Have said they will eliminate the entire Phoenix backlog and move forward with a new pay system. 

New Democrats
Raised the issue of Phoenix more than any other party in Parliament and has called on the government to deliver fair compensation to federal public service employees. Have pledged to bring compensation advisors back into departments for in-person problem solving, to provide fair compensation for workers affected by Phoenix and to replace Phoenix with a new, functional pay system.

Bargaining


Bloc québécois
Supportive of union rights, including the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike, and also in favour of a federal anti-scab law. 

Conservatives
Has history of freezing salaries, rolling back negotiated increases, attacking benefits such as sick leave and pensions, and interfering in the bargaining process by supporting back-to-work legislation. They are committed to switching public sector pensions to a defined contribution model that forces workers alone to carry the burden of market losses, and that leaves workers with no idea of what their pension will be at retirement.  

Greens
Voted in favour of federal bills supporting collective bargaining rights. Have said they will respect unionized federal public service workers and the bargaining process by not using back-to-work legislation. However, in Ontario, the Greens voted against the right to strike, while in B.C., the Greens blocked labour reforms that would make it easier to form a union. 

Liberals
Although better than the Conservatives on collective bargaining, the Liberals have used back-to-work legislation against a number of unions; have refused to introduce anti-scab legislation; and continue to deny fair working conditions to over 140,000 PSAC members during our current round of negotiations. 

New Democrats
Very supportive of collective bargaining rights and has proposed to bring in a federal anti-scab law. It has also consistently opposed and done everything to stall heavy-handed legislation used by both Liberal and Conservative governments to take away the bargaining and strike rights of groups of workers. 

Precarious work & Labour standards (Labour Standards)

Bloc québécois
Supports strong labour standards and has shown concern for the increase in precarious work but has not been active in pushing for better federal labour standards.

Conservatives
Froze the hiring of indeterminate employees in the public service and capped departmental budgets, forcing a spike in more precarious work in the public service. It also spent over $1 billion a year on personnel outsourcing such as temporary help agencies.

Greens
Support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, establishing a minimum of three weeks paid vacation and a 35-hour work week in the Canada Labour Code, and support changes to the employments standards law to provide equal protection to contract and temporary workers. Would ban unpaid internships except for school credit. Propose to tax employers who replace workers with machines.

Liberals
Made some progress on improving labour standards in precarious and non-standard work. Made improvements to the Canada Labour Code that will make things fairer for temporary help agency workers in the private sector. Despite these changes, the government continues to use many temp workers in its own workplaces. Want to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour but did not act on this during last term. Want to ensure reliable benefits for seasonal workers and create federal rules for precarious workers in certain areas, e.g. ride-sharing.

New Democrats
Proposed to update the Canada Labour Code that would: enhance safeguards for workers; create a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour; increase access to Employment Insurance by requiring the same benefits to be provided to part-time and contract workers as compared to full-time workers; lower the qualifying threshold to 360 hours for regular EI coverage; increase wage replacement rate to 60% from 55%; and immediately ban unpaid internships outside of education programs.

Indigenous Issues - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Bloc québécois
Supports federal action in response to the findings of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Conservatives
When the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released, Andrew Scheer said that Conservatives could make progress on some recommendations and promised to implement a national plan to advance reconciliation if elected. However, it was in power and had the opportunity to make progress, the party took no action and consistently refused to call an inquiry. No election commitments.

Greens
Supports the implementation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls recommendations and the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Liberals
While the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was carried out under Trudeau’s mandate, it took incredible effort on the part of the Indigenous community to make it happen. Despite knowing that the report's recommendations were about to be released, the Liberals allocated no funds to the recommendations in the most recent budget.

New Democrats
Proposes to work in partnership with Indigenous women, the families of the missing and murdered, and communities to implement the Inquiry’s recommendations. This includes establishing a plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and LGBTQI2S+ people, ensuring that all those fleeing violence have access to culturally appropriate programming and transitional housing.

Indigenous Issues - Water

Bloc québécois
The Bloc has expressed concern for clean water over the years but is not particularly active on this issue.

Conservatives
When in office, did little to fix the problem. The funding it provided for two years towards a First Nations Water and Wastewater Action Plan did not provide long-term solutions to ensure Indigenous peoples have equal access to safe water, many of whom are in communities that still have boil-water advisories. According to The Council of Canadians, there are more than 100 drinking water advisories in First Nations across Canada at any given time.

Greens
Platform states that it would correct the boil water advisories. However, Elizabeth May recently proposed that the scandal-plagued corporation SNC-Lavalin should be responsible for providing water for all First Nations reserves. This would turn the water and health of these communities over to a corporation whose first motive is profit and who has a long history of corruption and mismanagement.

Liberals
While the government has committed over $2 billion to correcting the problem of boil-water advisories in First Nations communities, progress has been slow. Some advisories have been lifted but dozens remain and more have been identified. A promised mercury poisoning treatment centre for the community of Grassy Narrows has been repeatedly delayed.

New Democrats
Proposes to make the investments required to ensure clean water and lift all drinking water advisories for good by 2021. They have also committed to supporting Indigenous-led water management training programs and water system operations as an immediate priority. They would also build a mercury treatment centre and compensate families affected by mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.

Child Care

Bloc québécois
Wants to make the Universal Child Care Benefit non-taxable. It does not advocate for federal leadership in building a licensed child care system. No election commitments.

Conservatives
While in office it scrapped the plan to create a national child care system and brought in the Universal Child Care Benefit, a minimal allowance far below the cost of child care. Further, providing such a direct payment to parents did not create a single new child care space, or do anything to improve quality or access to child care. No election commitments.

Greens
Proposes increasing federal funding to at least 1% of GDP per year, with an additional $1 billion a year, until the internationally recommended spending benchmark is reached.

Liberals
Made a long-term commitment to federal transfers to provinces/territories for child care but the overall funding is inadequate and there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that high-quality, inclusive child care is affordable and universally accessible across Canada.

New Democrats
Proposes to invest $1 billion in 2020 and $10 billion over the next four years to support quality child care that is affordable and create 500,000 new spaces. The NDP has also promised to introduce legislation that enshrines this commitment to high-quality, public child care in law.

Environment - Water

Bloc québécois
Expressed concern for clean water over the years but is not particularly active on this issue.

Conservatives
While in government, it cut the budgets of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Natural Resources Canada and Environment Canada. It also shut down the Experimental Lakes Area freshwater ecosystem research facility, undermined environmental regulations, laid off the people who enforce these regulations, and muzzled scientists. Will end the ban on large crude oil tankers from travelling through northern B.C. waters.

Greens
Proposes amending the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to enshrine the right of future Canadians to an ecological heritage that includes breathable air and drinkable water, introducing regulations that protect and enhance water quality, establishing a Canada Water Fund to protect watersheds, and prohibit bulk water exports.

Liberals
Made commitments to protect the Great Lakes and Lake Winnipeg Basin water quality and reduce invasive species. However, it no longer has measurable goals or timelines in its plans. The Liberals’ commitment to ensuring safe, clean, accessible drinking water is suspect given that it promotes the privatization of municipal water systems through the Canada Infrastructure Bank. By 2023-24, propose to give protected status to one-quarter of land and ocean waters.

New Democrats
Proposed a federal Environmental Bill of Rights that would ensure all communities have a guarantee of clean water, and protect 30% of freshwater and oceans by 2030. It states it would work to reduce emissions from shipping and fishing, prevent ocean acidification, preserve ocean biodiversity, and implement a national freshwater strategy. Plan to improve Coast Guard equipment and training as part of a $40 million Coastal Protection Fund to protect wild salmon and clean up the coast including removing derelict vessels.

Environment and Climate Change

Bloc québécois
Says it wants strict controls on emissions to limit global temperature increases to less than 2 degrees C. It also opposes the Energy East pipeline and is pushing for a zero-emission goal that would legally ensure that an increasing percentage of new car sales every year are electric.

Conservatives
The latest Conservative plan has a kilometer of promises and a millimeter of details. Too bad for the environment, there are no specified amounts of emission reductions nor details on how to go they’ll go about it. We know from their time in office, tackling the climate crisis is not a priority. They will eliminate the carbon tax and create a national energy corridor that would transport oil and gas from coast to coast. Will also repeal the review process for resource projects.

Greens
Plans include doubling Canada’s emissions reduction target to 60 per cent by 2030, halting all new fossil fuel development projects, implementing a nationwide shift toward non-nuclear renewable energy while retrofitting all buildings in Canada, exploring the creation of a “survival cabinet” composed of members from all parties to tackle climate change and declare a climate emergency.

Liberals
Talked a good talk about climate change and the environment. Taken some significant steps, like putting a price on carbon and starting the greening of government, but failed where it counts: greenhouse gas emission targets. In office they also adopted Harper’s dangerously low climate targets, and were not even on track to meet those low benchmarks. Have now committed to setting a 2050 target for net zero emissions, banning single-use plastics by 2021 and planting two billion trees over 10 years. Will continue the Trans Mountain expansion project expecting corporate tax revenue to fund clean energy projects.

New Democrats
Proposed implementing a green new deal that will urgently address climate change, by adopting stronger greenhouse gas reduction targets to help stabilize the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius; creating federal incentives for zero-emissions automobiles; banning single-use plastics and increasing access to public transit; The NDP would continue carbon pricing, including rebates to households.

Health Care and Pharmacare

Bloc québécois
Wants to reduce the cost of brand name drugs in Canada. It is not active in pushing for a national pharmacare and dental care plan. No election commitments.

Conservatives
Believes there should be flexibility for the provinces and territories that should include a balance of public and private health care, similar to the US model. It does not support universal pharmacare but would only address what it calls “gaps” in the system, leaving the current inefficient and costly patchwork system in place. No election commitments.

Greens
Propose to bring in universal pharmacare plan by 2020 and dental care for low-income Canadians.

Liberals
Committed to work with the provinces to establish a single-payer, public pharmacare system. However, it hasn’t taken any concrete steps so far and has continued to allow for loopholes that let provincial governments bring in two-tier health care. As services are delisted from provincial health care plans, they are only available to those who can afford to pay. Will invest $6 billion over four years to start negotiations with the provinces to improve health care including discussions about pharmacare.

New Democrats
Supports a national, universal, public pharmacare program. Will spend $10 billion a year to create a national, comprehensive pharmacare plan for all. New Democrats have promised to uphold the Canada Health Act and fight against any form of privatization and user fees.Plans include providing public dental care for households making less than $70K a year starting in 2020,, mental health care, eye and hearing care and national standards for home care and long-term care.

 

September 6, 2019