Information on Immigration & Integration Policies and Programs in Political Parties’ PlatformsSeptember 17, 2021
As Canadians prepare to go to the voting stations this Monday September 20th, this informational document summarizes what each of the three political parties, who are leading in the polls, are proposing in their platforms regarding six areas that are relevant to immigrant settlement and integration: housing, healthcare, supports for workers, immigration, anti-racism, and the promotion of official languages.
- Build one million homes over the next three years. Reviewing of the federal government’s real estate portfolio estimated at 37,000 buildings to release 15% to be retrofitted into housing.
- Repurpose Community Land Trusts for affordable housing by creating an incentive for corporations and private landowners to donate property to Land Trusts for the development of affordable housing.
- Implement a ban on foreign investors not living in or moving to Canada from buying homes here for a two-year period after.
- Rent-to-own program that enables current renters and landlords to create a pathway to ownership through a rent-to-own agreement.
- Commits $1 billion in loans and grants to develop and scale up rent-to-own projects with private, not-for profit, and co-op partners.
- New tax-free First Home Savings Account that will allow Canadians under 40 to save up to $40,000 towards their first home, and to withdraw it tax-free to put towards their first home purchase, with no requirement to repay it.
- Double the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, from $5,000 to $10,000.
- Reduce monthly mortgage costs: a) Reduce the price charged by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation on mortgage insurance by 25%.
- Increase the insured mortgage cut-off from $1 million to $1.25 million.
- 4 million new homes: a) Invest $4 billion in a new Housing Accelerator Fund to grow the annual housing supply in the country’s largest cities every year (targeting 100,000 new middle-class homes by 2024-25); b) permanently increase $2.7 billion over 4 years to the National Housing Co-investment fund.
- Home buyers’ bill of rights: which would contain the following provisions: Ban blind bidding, establish a legal right to a home inspection, ensure total transparency on the history of recent house sale prices on title searches, require real-estate agents to disclose when they are involved in both sides of a potential sale to all participants in a transaction.
- More affordable housing: At least 500,000 units of “quality, affordable” housing over 10 years. Fast-start funds to streamline the application process and help communities get the expertise and assistance needed. Waiving the federal portion of the GST/HST on the construction of new affordable rental units.
- Reintroducing 30-year mortgages insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to reduce monthly payments.
- Stabilizing housing markets by establishing a 20 percent foreign buyers’ tax on home sales.
- National Mental Health Strategy that would include a) a 3-digit suicide prevention hotline; b) $150 million in grants to non-profits for the delivery of mental health and wellness plans and incentivizing employers to add mental health coverage to their employee benefit plans by offering a tax credit for 25% of the cost of additional coverage for the first three years.
- Increasing the annual Canada Health Transfer to the provinces to 6% from 3%, to address gaps highlighted by the pandemic, injecting an additional $60 billion into the health care system over a 10-year.
- The creation of a National Isotope Strategy to work with nuclear and medical providers on ensuring Canada’s continued provision and supply of medical isotopes.
- Fight against the opioid crisis: Invest $325 million over the next three years to create 1,000 residential drug treatment beds and build 50 recovery community centers across the country.
- National Mental Health Strategy to be coordinated with the provinces with an allocation of $6.5 billion.
- Strengthening primary healthcare: $3.2 billion will be provided to the provinces and territories for the hiring of 7,500 new family doctors, nurses, and nurse practitioners.
- Improve virtual healthcare: $400 million over 4 years to build on the growing demand for virtual care that arose during the pandemic.
- Raising wages to PSWL on long-term care, including a) guaranteed minimum wage of at least $25 per hour and b) a pledge to train up to 50,000 new personal support workers.
- 10 days of paid sick leave for federally regulated workers.
- Fight against the opioid crisis: invest $500 million to support the provinces and territories in providing access to a full-range of “evidence-based treatment” as well as $25 million for public education efforts and the creation of substance treatment standards.
- National Pharmacare and Extending Medicare coverage: with an annual federal investment of $10 billion in 2022 for drug coverage. Medicare coverage would be expanded to include national Dental Care, mental healthcare, eye care, hearing care and infertility.
- Improve access to primary care: by reducing wait lists, improve virtual healthcare and identify human resources gaps.
- Improving homecare and long-term care by creating national care standards for home care and long-term care and a pledge to end private for-profit long term care facilities.
- Expansion of sickness benefits to 50 weeks.
- Fight against the opioid crisis: Declaration of a Public Health Emergency.
SUPPORTS FOR WORKERS
- Childcare: Pledge to scrap the $30 billion Child-Care program currently underway by the Liberal government and convert the Child Care Expense deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of the cost of childcare for lower income families. To be implemented immediately.
- Canada Workers Benefit: double the up to a maximum of $2,800 for individuals and $5,000 for families. The money would be distributed in quarterly direct deposits, instead of a year-end tax refund.
- Training: double the current Apprentice Job Creation Tax Credit for three years and invest $250 million over two years to create the Canada Job Training Fund. The Fund will provide grants to organizations including employers, apprenticeship training delivery agents, unions, post-secondary institutions, and community organizations for projects that help address the skilled labour shortage and provide opportunities to laid off workers seeking immediate access to training.
- Childcare: a) Reduce fees for child care by 50% in the next year; b) Deliver $10 a day child care within five years or less; c) Build 250,000 new high-quality child care spaces; d) Hire 40,000 more early childhood educators; e) Finalize agreements with all remaining provinces and territories; f) Work with the province of Quebec to build on its world-class, affordable child care system, improve working conditions for educators, and create more spaces for families; g) Work with Indigenous partners to ensure Indigenous children have access to culturally appropriate, affordable, high-quality early learning and child care; h) Enact federal child care legislation to strengthen and protect a Canada-wide child.
- Re-establishing the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program: which would see an investment of $960 million over three years to help retrain and reskill people in various sectors rapidly growing sectors, including construction, clean energy, and healthcare fill positions in high-demand.
- Making it easier for women and vulnerable groups to access training by requiring businesses supported through the Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program to include wrap-around supports. This could include transportation to and from the training program, computers, food, referral to counselling, housing, and legal support, support in finding child care, and mentoring or coaching.
- Introduce a Career Extension Tax Credit: to help seniors who want to stay in the workforce. The tax credit will let people 65 and over, who earn a working income, reduce their taxes. Seniors who earn a minimum of $5,000 at their jobs will be able to eliminate tax payable on a portion of their income and receive a tax credit of up to $1,650.
- Childcare: work with the provinces to build a universal, national $10 a day childcare system with enough spaces so families don’t spend months on wait lists, and ensures that child care workers are paid a fair living wage.
- Minimum wage increase: setting the Federal Minimum Wage to $15 and eventually raising it to $20, indexed to the cost of living.
- Banning unpaid internships outside of education programs.
- Improving EI by a) creating a low-income supplement to guarantee at least $2000; b) cover circumstances where people leave a job voluntarily but still need support, like going back to school or to protect their health or the health of immunocompromised family members; c) bring back the former Extra Five Weeks pilot project to support Canadians in seasonal industries.
- Flexible Parental leave: so families can choose shorter leaves at higher pay rate.
- Training: a) require large employers to spend at least 1 percent of payroll on training for their employees annually; b) create a new Workers Development and Opportunities Fund to expand training options beyond people who qualify for EI.
- Addressing Administrative Backlogs by: a) creating expedited processing for a fee; b) Identifying underutilized resources to improve processing capacity; c) Simplifying and streamlining application processes.
- Improve innovation, efficiency and cultural sensitivity in the immigration process by: a) improving technological infrastructure; b) increasing cultural awareness training and using remote meeting technology to match applicants with immigration officers who best understand the cultural context of the applicant; c) allow corrections of simple honest mistakes during the application process.
- Strengthening Credential Recognition by a) Launching a Credential Recognition Task Force; b) Credential pre-qualification – allowing people in other countries to acquire Canadian-standard proficiency through accredited institutions overseas or distance learning with Canadian institutions.
- Family reunification: elimination of family reunification lotteries for parents and grandparents, using a first come-first served principle applied with prioritization of cases based on criteria of provision of child-care, family support and language proficiency.
- Increase pathways to permanent residency for applicants already living and working in Canada.
- Reforming the Refugee system by a) having more private and joint sponsorship places; b) allowing private sponsorship of the most vulnerable victims of persecution directly from their country of origin; c) providing financial allocations for joint sponsorship prioritizing: the most vulnerable; sponsorship agreement holders with a demonstrable track record of successfully integrating refugees; a specialized, “human rights defender” stream; making the Rainbow Refugee Assistance programs a permanent government program to facilitate greater participation by LGBTQ+ organizations in refugee sponsorship.
- Revision of immigration priorities and policies including: a) Prioritizing and streamlining immigration processes to attract healthcare workers; b) Reworking the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to better align it with domestic needs and to protect workers; c) Creating an employer system so that companies do not have to re-apply to the program; d) Allowing employers to sponsor applications for permanent residency for low-skilled workers needed as per concrete labour market data; e) Monitoring the Temporary Foreign Workers Program to ensure that it supports Canadian businesses with labour needs.
- Expand pathways to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers and former international students through the Express Entry points system.
- Build on the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot and work with employers to welcome 2,000 skilled refugees to fill labour shortages in in-demand sectors such as health care.
- Implement a Trusted Employer system to streamline application process for Canadian companies hiring temporary foreign workers to fill labour shortages that cannot be filled by Canadian workers.
- Improve the Global Talent Stream program by simplifying permit renewals, upholding the 2-week processing time, and establishing an employer hotline, to allow Canadian companies to attract and hire highly skilled workers.
- Improve foreign credential recognition through coordinated work with provinces.
- Introduce a new Labour Mobility Tax Credit to allow workers in the building and construction trades to deduct up to $4,000 in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses.
- Welcoming new Canadians: implement immigration policies and levels meet Canada’s labour force needs and recognize people’s experiences, contributions, and ties to Canada.
- Improving family reunification by ending cap on applications to sponsor parents and grandparents, and take on the backlogs that are keeping families apart.
- Pathways to permanent residency for temporary workers.
- Regulating immigration consultants
- Reduce backlogs on refugees applications and support their resettling in Canada.
- Fighting Online Incitement and Hatred: by a) clearly criminalizing statements that encourage violence against other people or identifiable groups; b) act against hate crimes by doubling the funding for the security infrastructure program, simplify the application process to be eligible for the program and allow broader expenses.
- A National Action Plan on Combatting Hate by 2022 as part of a renewed Anti-Racism Strategy. It will include recommendations from the Antisemitism and Islamophobia summits and specific action on combatting hate crimes in Canada.
- Continuing the Fight Against Systemic Racism and Discrimination by strengthening and boosting funding to both the Anti Racism Strategy and the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat.
- Combat serious forms of harmful online content by strengthening the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
- Establish a National Support Fund for Survivors of Hate-Motivated Crimes to help survivors with any uninsured costs that they have had to bear such as, mental health care, physiotherapy, medical equipment, and paramedical services.
- Confronting systemic racism to address inequities that disproportionally exposed racialized communities by establishing: a) a National action plan to dismantle far-right extremist organizations b) a National Working group to counter online hate, c) prioritize the collection of race-based data on health, employment, policing and more with the goal of improving outcomes for racialized communities d) Ban on carding (street checks) by RCMP, e) a comprehensive review of racialized wage gap.
PROMOTING OFFICIAL LANGUAGES
- Table legislation to modernize the Official Languages Act, within 100 days of government to: a) increase the powers of the Official Languages Commissioner; b) give Treasury Board the authority and responsibility for ensuring the application of the Act across federal departments; c) create an Official Languages administrative tribunal to deal with citizen complaints d) include stronger positive obligations in Part VII of the Act; e) Create more robust mechanisms for the consultation of Official Language minorities.
- New $30 million per year budgetary envelope to provide federal funding to minority francophone post-secondary institutions.
- Official Languages in Education Program to Increase support for francophone primary and elementary education to reflect demographic growth in the minority francophone student population.
- Increase francophone immigration outside Québec to ensure that the demographic weight of francophone minorities will be maintained.
- Adopt an official French version of the 1867 British North America Act, for which only the English version currently has official status.
- Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English Introduce the act within the first 100 days, and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act.
- Implement a national strategy to support Francophone immigration outside of Quebec.
- Permanently increase funding for post-secondary institutions in official language minority communities to $80 million per year.
- Ensuring Children Can Learn in Both Official Languages: Invest $120 million to ensure that federal funding is sustainable and directed towards improving access to French immersion and French second-language programs across the country.
- Enhance the Action Plan for Official Languages to improve access to services in the language of choice, including working with the provinces and territories to improve minority language education, and attract more French-speaking immigrants to communities all across the country.
- Modernize the Official Languages Act to strengthen oversight and accountability, expand the scope of language rights and ensure that minority language communities are consulted on decisions that impact them.
- Adopt the principal of asymmetry which recognizes that as a minority official language, French requires protection and promotion.