Election Countdown: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau on Housing, Families and Seniors

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Images: Facebook / Vancity Buzz Composite

During this election campaign, Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair, and Justin Trudeau have repeatedly stated that they want to help grow Canada’s middle class and provide adequate support for the nation’s aging population.

In this instalment of our Election Countdown series, we break down the leaders’ platforms on housing, families, and seniors.

Image: Stephen Harper/ Facebook

Image: Stephen Harper/ Facebook

Stephen Harper and the Conservatives promise to:

Housing

  • Add 700,000 new homeowners by 2020
  • Raise the Home Buyers’ Plan limit from $25,000 to $35,000
  • Compile data on home ownership by foreign, and non-resident buyers and work with provincial governments to take action
  • Establish a new permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit available each year for home renovation expenses up to $2,500 starting in January 2017 – increase this to $5,000 starting in January 2019

Families

  • Double the enhanced matching grants to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) for middle income families from 10 cents to 20 cents per dollar on the first $500 contributed each year
  • Double the enhanced matching grants to RESPs for lower income families from 20 cents to 40 cents per dollar on the first $500 contributed each year
  • Expand Employment Insurance (EI) for new mothers and parents
  • Ensure new parents in federally regulated sectors will receive job protection for a baby up to 18 months old
  • Allow parents to receive EI benefits at the full rate up to 35 weeks or extend this offer for lower rate for a maximum of 61 weeks
  • Create a new pilot project that will allow new parents to earn self-employment income, with no impact on EI maternity or parental benefits
  • Increase the Child Care Expense Deduction by $1,000 starting this year
  • Continue to maintain the Universal Child Care Benefit that provides monthly payments to all parents (up to $2,000 per year for kids under six and over $700 annually for children ages six to 17)

Seniors

  • Reduce the minimum withdrawal requirements for Registered Retirement Income Funds
  • Consult with Canadians on ways to voluntarily contribute to the Canada Pension Plan
Read the full Conservative party platform here.

Image: Tom Mulcair/ Facebook

Image: Tom Mulcair/ Facebook

Tom Mulcair and the NDP promise to:

Housing:

  • Create a National Housing Strategy that will restore federal government investments dedicated to social housing, co-ops, repairs and construction of new units, and boost funding for homelessness initiatives. This strategy will also mandate the redevelopment of federal lands for affordable housing and co-ops
  • Mandate the Canada Housing Corporation to provide grants and loans to construct at least 10,000 affordable and market rental units

Families:

  • Create and maintain one million child care spaces at no more than $15 per day (Mulcair also promises that this will create 110,000 more child care spaces in British Columbia)
  • Add five weeks of leave for the second parent, including leave for same-sex couples and adoptive parents
  • Make sure parents laid off after returning to work from maternity or parental leave will receive full access to their Employment Insurance benefits
  • Help working moms and dads with expanded parental benefits

Seniors:

  • Reverse the age of retirement from 67 to 65 years old
  • Increase the Canada/ Quebec Pension Plan benefits
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement to help seniors out of poverty
  • Expand home care to 41,000 more seniors and increase funding for 5,000 more nursing home beds
  • Establish a National Strategy on Aging that addresses the needs of Canada’s aging population
Read the full NDP party platform here.

Image: Liberal Party of Canada

Image: Liberal Party of Canada

Justin Trudeau and the Liberals promise to:

Housing:

  • Promote the construction of new rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in rental housing
  • Call on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide financing for the construction of new, rental housing for middle and low-income Canadians
  • Review escalating home prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver and consider ways that could keep home ownership more accessible for Canadians

Families:

  • Cancel the Universal Child Care Benefit and introduce the new Canada Child Benefit which will annually give a typical family of four up to $2,500 in tax-free assistance
  • Work with provinces and territories to improve promotion of RESPs and Learning Bonds and make registration for these initiatives easier for families
  • Allow parents to receive benefits in smaller portions over an 18 month period
  • Allow parents to take long leaves (up to 18 months) when combined with maternity benefits, at a lower benefit level
  • Consult with provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to establish an Early Learning and Child Care Framework in order to provide Canadian families with inclusive and flexible child care

Seniors:

  • Continue pension splitting for seniors
  • Restore the eligibility for Old Age Security from 67 to 65
  • Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for low-income seniors by 10%, which will provide the most vulnerable seniors with up to $1,000 per year
  • Introduce a Seniors Price Index to ensure Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income benefits keep up with seniors’ rising costs
  • Invest $3 billion over the next four years for home-care services for Canadians
Images: Facebook / Vancity Buzz Composite

SEE ALSO: Election Countdown: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau on the Economy

Images: Facebook / Vancity Buzz Composite

SEE ALSO: Election Countdown: Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau on the Environment

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Simran Singh is a Contributor at Vancity Buzz. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. She is a big fan of coffee, writing and exploring Vancouver. Send a story idea her way at simran@vancitybuzz.com
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