CBTU Takes a Look at Party Platforms

Oct 11, 2019

The federal election is set for October 21st, and is quickly approaching. Every election, political parties release policies in various categories that Canadians want to know about, in order to gain support of voters. According to an Ipsos poll released on October 3rd,health care remains Canadians’ top concern (37 per cent), with climate change coming hot in second (30 per cent).

 

Polls released have shown that this election, no party holds a clear lead and it will be too close to call. Voters – especially those from the organized construction industry – need to pay attention to what policies each party has laid out and how that aligns with their own priorities. Below is a snapshot of where the parties have made commitments that relates to the industry:

 

Liberals

 

  • Make all federal buildings run on clean electricity by 2022;
  • Move to net-zero emissions in buildings by 2050;
  • Interest-free loans for Canadians of up to $40,000 to retrofit their homes;
  • Create a net-zero homes grant of up to $5,000 for Canadians who buy new homes that are certified as zero-emissions; and
  • Invest $100 million in skills training to ensure there are enough qualified workers to handle the energy audits, retrofits and net-zero home construction.

 

  • Invest $100 million in skills training, to ensure there are enough qualified workers to keep up with energy audits, retrofits, and net-zero home construction (source)
  • Introduce a Career Insurance Benefit that would kick in after Employment Insurance ends, giving an additional 20 per cent of insured earnings in the first year following a layoff, and 10 per cent in the second year (source)
  • Extending EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks (source)
  • Create a new federal Family Day holiday (source)
  • Creating a Canadian Apprenticeship Service, providing up to $10,000 per apprentice, over four years, for every new position created
  • Implement a $40 million/year national workplace accessibility fund, with a focus on making small and medium-sized businesses more accessible
  • Implement a universal pharmacare program (source)
  • Establish the Canada Drug Agency for purchases (source)
  • Commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, with legally-binding five-year milestones (source)
  • Require federal buildings to be powered completely by clean electricity by 2022 (source)
  • Invest any profit from the sale of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project into clean energy projects and climate solutions
  • Install up to 5,000 charging stations for vehicles
  • Require federal investments in public transit support zero-emission buses and rail systems, starting in 2023
  • Create a National Infrastructure Fund and support projects like the Newfoundland-Labrador fixed transportation link

 

Conservatives

 

  • Create a 20 per cent refundable income tax credit for green improvements to homes, for a maximum benefit of $3,800 per household.

 

  • Repeal Bill C-69 (source)
  • Negotiate regulatory changes that would increase the energy efficiency of cross-border trucking while encouraging research and development in eco-friendly modes of transportation. (source)
  • Eliminate the Infrastructure Bank introduced by the Liberals
  • Prioritize infrastructure projects like the Ontario Line and Yonge subway extension in Ontario; the George Massey tunnel replacement project in British Columbia; and a third link across the Saint Lawrence River in Québec (source)

 

NDP

 

  • Investments for their climate plan would be over $15 billion in their first mandate, including $2.5 billion to support clean energy jobs and energy efficiency retrofits for buildings and homes;
  • Create 300,000 jobs in clean energy in the next four years;
  • All federal buildings on renewable energy and net carbon neutral by 2030;
  • Make every new building in Canada after 2030 “net-zero energy ready” through amendments to the National Building Code;
  • Commitments to training and re-training of skilled workers (but no spending specifics);
  • Investing to improve apprenticeship rates so women, racialized Canadians, indigenous peoples and other groups can more easily choose careers in the trades; and

 

  • Overhaul employment insurance (EI), setting the qualification threshold at 360 hours to cover more workers, while creating a new worker’s development and opportunities fund to expand training options beyond those who qualify for EI (source)
  • Ban unpaid internships outside of educational programs (source)
  • Create a national pharmacare program that provides universal, public, comprehensive coverage to everyone in Canada by 2020 (source)
  • Abandon the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project (source)
  • Reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 450 megatonnes by 2030, a 37 per cent reduction from 2017 levels (source)
  • Set a target to retrofit all housing stock in Canada by 2050, by providing low-interest loans repayable through energy savings to pay for home upgrades like insulation, windows, heat pumps, and other renewable technologies (source)
  • Modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada and ensure that federal transit funding flows with an emphasis on low-carbon transit projects (source)
  • Set a target to power Canada with net carbon-free electricity by 2030 and move to 100 per cent non-emitting electricity by 2050 (source)
  • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies immediately (source)
  • Create a permanent, direct, allocation-based funding mechanism to modernize and expand public transit in communities across Canada (source)
  • Provide low-cost financing to local governments in support of the electrification of transit and other municipal fleets by 2030 (source)
  • Establish a new Canadian Climate Bank, which will be capitalized with $3 billion by the federal government and mandated to spur investment in the low carbon economy, accelerate the adoption of clean technology, create good jobs, and support local economic development (source)
  • Move the vehicle fleets of the federal government to electric by 2025 (source)
  • Help homeowners cover the cost of installing a plug-in charger (source)
  • Expand charging networks for ZEVs across the country (source)
  • Make 100 per cent of all new automotive sales zero-emission vehicles by 2040 (source)
  • Infrastructure projects which could have an environmental impact in Quebec must be subject to Quebec’s environmental assessment procedures (source)
  • Fund public infrastructure through under “community benefit agreements” that guarantee jobs, training, apprenticeships and support for local business are part of every project (source)
  • Expand funding for communities to adapt infrastructure to withstand climate change impacts like floods and fires; amount not specified. (source)

 

 

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Arlene Dunn, Director

 

Canada’s Building Trades Unions