Working life keeps getting harder for Canadians. People, especially young people, are having a hard time finding secure, full-time jobs with benefits – instead they’re juggling part-time jobs and struggling to make ends meet.
The growth of low-paid, insecure work is the result of decades of decisions by Liberal and Conservative governments – from scrapping the federal minimum wage in the 1990s to telling Canadians to “get used to” short-term, precarious work.
New Democrats know that good jobs that treat people fairly make a real difference to Canadian families. We’re committed to making sure that hardworking people get the fair wages and good working conditions they deserve.
New Democrats believe that the federal government has an important role to play in making work better, fairer, and more secure for everyone. We believe that membership in a union is the best ticket into the middle class – and it leaves workers and our entire economy better off.
That’s why New Democrats believe that it should be easier – not harder - to join a union that will protect your rights and ensure fair working conditions. We will defend the Rand formula, so that unions can effectively advocate for workers, and we will continue to oppose heavy-handed legislation that suspends the rights to bargain and to strike.
New Democrats will make sure that workers and employers can take action together to improve health and safety, eliminating unsafe working conditions and ensuring that whistleblowers are protected. We believe that it’s time to update the Canada Labour Code to enhance safeguards for workers and ban the use of replacement workers in labour disputes – for good.
To make sure that Canadians can succeed in a low-carbon future, the federal government needs to step up to provide training and re-training for the next boom – making sure that public investments are directed to clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, and boosting energy efficiency in communities across the country. New Democrats will create 300,000 good jobs in a first mandate with Power to Change: A new deal for climate action and good jobs, addressing the climate crisis while making life better for all Canadians.
For too long, Liberal and Conservative governments refused to take action on low wages. It’s not okay that Canadians can get up every morning and work 40 hours a week, yet still live below the poverty line. New Democrats believe that everyone deserves a living wage – and in government, we’ll put in place a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour that will cover over 900,000 workers. Not only will this help hundreds of thousands of workers, it will also set a national standard for a fair, living wage.
Right now, without access to benefits like extended health coverage and dental care, temporary workers earn roughly 75 per cent of what permanent employees do – a divide that hits the most vulnerable and precarious workers hardest, and gives employers an incentive to limit the number of full-time positions they offer. We don’t think that’s right, and we will put in place rules to require that part-time and contract workers be compensated equally to full-time workers.
The rampant use of unpaid internships exposes young workers to abuse. The Liberals promised to end unfair, unpaid internships, but nothing has been done. A New Democrat government will immediately ban unpaid internships outside of education programs.
Finally, public servants make incredible contributions to our country – and they deserve a government, and an employer, that treats them with respect. New Democrats will replace the failed Phoenix pay system brought in by the Conservative and Liberal governments, and ensure that impacted workers get fair compensation. We will also work to reduce the inefficient and costly practice of contracting out government work, which has only grown under the Liberal government, and we will take action to put an end to harassment in the federal workplace.
Technology is rapidly changing the workplace. This is change can lead to economic growth and prosperity, but only if we make sure that workers share in the gains that will come from these changes. Instead of broadening opportunity for everyone, the Liberal government made the disappointing decision to exclude unemployed and precariously employed Canadians – people who need support the most – from the opportunity to get paid training.
New Democrats know that we can do better for all workers. We’re committed to working with the provinces to ensure that Canadians have access to education throughout their professional lives, including proactive training and retraining, as well as support when they are unemployed. Our vision is one where training opportunities are flexible enough to work with people’s busy lives and significant enough to really improve job prospects.
To get there, we’ll change EI rules to allow workers who quit their job to go to school to qualify for EI benefits, so that families can count on some income support during that period of transition back to school. We’ll also expand options for workers in designated sectors and regions to take EI funded training in advance of losing a job, while at the same time promoting investment to ensure that regional economies are creating good jobs that support families and communities. Finally, to make sure that businesses are investing in the training that Canadians need, a New Democrat government will require employers to spend at least 1 percent of payroll on training for their employees annually.
In order to deliver these changes, we’ll work closely with the provinces to establish national training priorities and create a new Workers Development and Opportunities Fund to expand training options beyond people who qualify for EI. This fund will be provincially directed with dedicated support for marginalized workers, those in transitioning sectors, and for efforts to improve literacy and essential skills.
Small businesses are the engine of job creation in Canada and an important part of every community across the country. Small businesses need a government that helps them access the services and infrastructure they need to thrive and expand, while investing in a healthy and talented workforce.
New Democrats believe that small businesses should have access to all the support they need to grow, innovate, and stay competitive in Canada and around the world. That’s why we have stood up for lower small business taxes, opposed unfair merchant fees, and fought to make it easier to pass on small businesses to the next generation.
In government, New Democrats will keep working hard for small businesses to tackle issues that impact their bottom line, like high credit card merchant fees. Our plan for public, universal pharmacare will also save businesses approximately $600 per employee with extended health benefits every year – and it means that all small businesses can feel confident knowing that their employees are able to access the prescription drugs they need.
We’ll also make it easier for the family business to be passed on to future generations with new legislation to end the unfair tax treatment of family transfers of small businesses.
To help Canadian small business step out on the world stage, a New Democrat government will streamline access to government export services and make it simpler to break into foreign markets. We’ll also provide small- and medium-sized businesses with a single point of contact to help ease regulatory processes and support compliance - freeing up time for entrepreneurs to invest in growing their business.
Recognizing that a shortage of workers is a major barrier for many small businesses operating in rural areas, we’ll make important new investments in training Canadians and boost support to traditionally underemployed groups, ensuring that they can access good jobs that pay a fair wage.
Canadians know that trade is essential for our economic success. They expect that trade deals will be fair, respect human rights, protect the environment, and put the interests of Canadian workers and communities first. Unfortunately, under Liberal and Conservative governments, trade negotiations have too often hurt Canadian industries and cost us jobs.
New Democrats support fair trade that broadens opportunity in all areas of the country, while protecting our industries and upholding labour standards, environmental protections, and human rights. That’s why we’ll always defend Canadian workers in trade negotiations, protect supply management, and stand up against unfair tariffs.
We’re committed to improving the transparencyof trade negotiations, so that Canadians can clearly understand the costs and benefits of any proposed agreement and have their say before it’s signed. That’s why a New Democrat government will directly engage with Canadians on the expected costs and benefits of potential trade deals, as well as ensure that all trade agreements are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We will evaluate all potential trade deals for social, environmental, and gendered impacts on Canadians.
When it comes to what’s on the negotiating table, Canadians know that there are some things that we shouldn’t be willing to compromise on, like investor-state dispute settlement measures that hand too much power to corporations and undermine the rules that keep us safe and healthy. Trade agreements should have enforceable labour, human rights, and environmental protections – and New Democrats will always protect Canadians against measures that could increase the cost of pharmaceuticals, weaken our cultural protections, or undermine privacy rights.
A New Democrat government will also do more to defend Canadian workers and communities from unfair trading practices. We will modernize Canada’s trade remedy system and make sure that trade unions have full standing in trade cases and the ability to initiate trade disputes, as is the case in other countries.
From steel mills and auto plants to farms and high-tech companies, and everything in between, Canadian industries power our economy and sustain the jobs that families across the country rely on. But for too long, Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored the need to support Canadian industry, trading away advantages in trade deals and failing to invest in the targeted support that our industries need to thrive.
If we make the right choices now, we can make Canada an even better place to invest, and protect and create good jobs for the future. We can make Canadian industry a global leader as market needs evolve. We’ll make sure that Canadian workers are at the centre of a robust strategy to drive innovation and boost competitiveness, now and into the future. And as we grow our clean energy economy, we’ll protect and create good jobs for families today – and tomorrow.
As a start, New Democrats will strengthen and modernize the Investment Canada Act to protect Canadian jobs and undo the damage done by the Liberal government that allows more takeovers of Canadian companies by foreign investors without national security reviews. We’ll scrap the failed Invest in Canada agency and create iCanada, a one-stop shop inside the federal government to help attract investors to Canada and turn their plans into reality – and champion Canadian industry on the international stage.
For generations, millions of Canadian families have been supported by good jobs in the automotive and parts industries. Those good jobs have helped to build many of our communities. And today, we need to protect and keep those jobs, while attracting the next generation of automotive manufacturing to Canadian communities.
Workers should never, ever feel abandoned by their government. But that’s exactly what many autoworkers and their families feel today. And it’s the result of the choices made by Liberal and Conservative governments.
For years, New Democrats, labour unions, and automakers have pressured successive Liberal and Conservative governments for a National Auto Strategy to support Canada’s direct assembly and supply chain automotive economy. This is urgent now more than ever as we see the devastation caused by the closure of the General Motors Oshawa Car Assembly plant and layoffs at the Chrysler-Fiat plant in Windsor.
But instead of acting, this Liberal government has given up on the auto sector. They cancelled the Automotive Investment Fund and sat on recommendations to protect jobs from Canada’s “auto czar”, dragging their feet for the last four years while thousands of Canadians lost their jobs.
The auto sector, and the workers and communities that depend on it, matter – and New Democrats will always fight for them. A New Democrat government will urgently convene an auto summit with provincial, municipal, and industry and labour leaders to develop a consensus on a National Automotive Strategyto attract and retain jobs and investment. This strategy will make sure that Canadian product lines and manufacturing processes are adapted to meet changing consumer needs and evolving realities in the manufacturing industry – while protecting workers for the long term.
We will also restore the Automotive Innovation Fund and make contributions to automakers tax-free to help secure next generation production capacity. And we will commission an independent study into the causes and consequences of the trade deficit in automotive products with Mexico, along with potential strategies for reducing it.
Because of the lack of vision and action by Liberal and Conservative governments, Canada is lagging behind many countries when it comes to building the vehicles of the future, when we should be a leader in driverless technology, and hybrid and electric vehicles. It’s time to catch up and get ahead.
New Democrats will help Canadian industry lead in the development and manufacturing of the vehicles of tomorrow. We’ll work with labour and industry to make sure that Canadian workers have the skills they need to benefit from the adoption of these new technologies – and drive demand by ensuring that federal incentives for zero-emissions automobiles prioritize made-in-Canada vehicles. Buying Canadian-made zero-emissions cars for government fleets will help us lead by example on sustainability, while creating good jobs here at home.
Finally, in a manner consistent with its arms-length commercial status, a New Democrat government will give Export Development Canada a stronger mandate to recruit and retain investment in automotive plants and export-focused manufacturing here in Canada.
Manufacturing helped to build Canada. And manufacturing jobs should continue to build Canada’s future.
Unfortunately, successive Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored Canada’s manufacturing base, leading to the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs over the last two decades. Justin Trudeau has given up on manufacturing – he has even said that the Liberal government is “transitioning away from manufacturing based employment”.
New Democrats know that this sector and these jobs are vital for so many communities across the country. We are committed to fighting for a strong and robust future for Canadian manufacturing.
A New Democrat government will bring together all levels of government with business and labour leaders to develop a national industrial strategy to build an advanced low-carbon manufacturing economy in Canada that will provide good middle-class jobs to Canadian workers. We will also take measures to grow the domestic market for Canadian manufactured goods and provide strategic supports to our long-neglected steel and aluminum industries to attract and retain jobs and investments in communities across the country.
When the Liberal government signed a new trade deal with the United States that contained damaging steel and aluminum tariffs, New Democrats fought alongside labour and the industry to get the tariffs permanently removed – and won. But there is still much work to be done to protect Canadian jobs against the risk that the U.S. could impose new tariffs. For New Democrats, no tariffs against our steel or aluminum will ever be acceptable. That’s why we will adopt measures to stabilize the Canadian steel market and protect the sector from predatory practices of foreign producers who are shut out of other markets.
Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to use Canadian government infrastructure procurement to support Canada’s manufacturing economy, and have often negotiated trade deals that put domestic procurement policies at risk. New Democrats will require the use of Canadian-made steel and aluminum for infrastructure projects across the country.
Canada’s aerospace industry is on the cutting edge of global innovation and supports thousands of good jobs. But instead of providing long-term, dependable support to spur this success, Liberal and Conservative governments have taken a piecemeal, project-by-project approach to investment in aerospace.
New Democrats want to see our aerospace industry grow, and we have a plan that will help Canadian aerospace companies of all sizes commercialize new technologies, strengthen competitiveness, and train workers for good jobs in the sector.
The transition to a low-carbon economy is an important opportunity for Canada’s aerospace sector – and New Democrats will help position our aerospace sector to reap the benefits of clean technology development and become a world leader in clean aviation.
We’ll work with industry and workers to develop a National Aerospace Strategy, helping small- and medium-sized aerospace companies increase capacity in our world-class aerospace supply chain, adopt new technologies, and scale-up to compete globally – while keeping and creating good jobs here in Canada.
This Liberal government has moved more and more towards having a single pot of innovation money for all sectors. Businesses and innovators know that this doesn’t provide the targeted help that’s necessary to support our industries as they face unique challenges staying globally competitive.
New Democrats understand that we need a plan that will provide sustainable, long-term support for Canada’s innovators to optimize growth and play to the strengths that Canada has to offer. To that end, we’ll take a strategic, sector-specific approach that invests in innovation and R&D here at home – and we’ll put a particular focus on developing the technologies the world will need to thrive in a low-carbon future.
We’ll review the federal procurementsystem to ensure that, wherever possible, federal government processes are designed to encourage Canadian bidders - including projects supporting the expansion of digital government.
A New Democrat government will step up as a partner to foster entrepreneurship and support a Canadian start-up culture with a focus on helping Canadian companies in all regions of the country commercialize new technologies and scale-up, train, and retain the highly-skilled Canadian workforce needed to support industry growth and bolster Canadian competitiveness on the world stage.
Agriculture is the backbone of our economy, an incredible source of pride for our communities, and a high-tech industry that depends on a talented and skilled workforce. It supports thousands of families. It keeps our rural communities strong. And it produces the fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, eggs, and meat that Canadian families count on.
Food is at the heart of our homes, our communities, and our economy. But farmers and agricultural workers feel enormous pressure today. Not only do they have to contend with unpredictable weather, but they have to put up with the consequences of devastating decisions by Liberal and Conservative governments.
Despite the importance of our food system, Liberal and Conservative governments alike have left farmers to cope with a rapidly changing climate and mounting financial stress on their own, while negotiating away critical protections in trade deals.
It’s time to make different choices. It’s time for a government that’s actually working on the side of Canadian farmers, producers, and farm families.
New Democrats have a plan for a Canadian Food Strategy that will take a whole-of-government approach to address regional needs and priorities by investing in our agricultural communities, supporting young and new farmers, and taking steps to ensure that rural livelihoods are good and sustainable.
Supply management protects our family farms, rural communities, and hundreds of thousands of jobs. New Democrats are committed to fully protecting supply management and ensuring reciprocity in all trade negotiations, and supporting these sectors as they innovate and grow. We’ll make sure that farmers are fully compensated for the losses they have incurred in Liberal and Conservative trade negotiations, and we’ll defend Canadian agricultural products like canola from unfair retaliation in overseas markets.
It’s a challenge to grow a business without modern communications infrastructure. That’s why New Democrats will make sure that high-speed broadband and cell phone infrastructure is available to connect our farmers and rural communities to the services and tools they need, no matter where in the country they are. Rural Canadians should be as connected to markets, opportunities, and each other as anyone who lives in urban Canada.
To make it simpler for young people and women to get into agriculture and build a life on the farm, we’ll work with the provinces to improve training opportunities across the country and provide low-cost start-up loans for new farmers. And we’ll provide support for succession planning and end the unfair tax treatment of family farm transfers – making it easier for family farms to stay in the family.
Mental health matters, and too many Canadian farmers are living with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. We can do more to provide targeted help. A New Democrat government will bring together farmers and the provinces to develop a national strategy to address mental health challenges facing farmers and to ensure that farmers can get the help they need, when they need it.
Canola is an example of a home-grown success story with roots in public research. To keep Canadian agriculture on the cutting edge of knowledge and innovation, and provide direct economic benefit to our farmers, New Democrats will invest in public agricultural research and data collection. We’ll also ensure that rail transportation treats farmers fairly and helps them get their products to market efficiently and affordably.
Our fresh fruit and vegetable producers grow healthy, nutritious food for Canadian families and support local economies across the country. Many of them also depend on the ability to export their products to buyers in the United States, but without a reciprocal payment protection program in place, the financial risks of exporting can be too high. That’s why New Democrats will introduce a payment protection program for produce growers and take immediate steps to restore protection for growers selling to the United States under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.
Finally, to build on the pride and quality of Canadian agricultural products, we’ll work with producers along the supply chain to increase the amount of Canadian food that is sold, processed, and consumed in local and regional markets.
Canada is home to a vast expanse of the world’s Boreal Forest. Our forests are vital to global climate health – and to the health of our sustainable economy. Canada’s forestry industry supports rural communities from coast to coast, and families deserve to know that sustainable forestry practices will continue to provide good jobs, now and for the next generation. But under Liberal and Conservative governments, forestry communities are facing an uncertain future.
As our environment changes, so too must the forestry industry. And the federal government needs to be working alongside as a partner to ensure that Canadian forestry continues to succeed, while meeting the highest environmental and sustainability standards.
A New Democrat government will invest in forestry innovation and support value-added Canadian wood products – and the good jobs that go with them. Our plan will support forestry research and development, help companies commercialize new technologies, and expand market access for wood products to keep Canada competitive.
We’ll also boost reforestation efforts to strengthen our climate resilience and ensure the sustainability of the forestry sector. New Democrats will help protect communities through forest management to mitigate forest fire risk, including combatting the spread of the mountain pine beetle and improving coordination of fire prevention efforts across all levels of government.
Canada is blessed with the world’s longest coastline and fisheries that sustain communities all along our coasts. Fishing is a deeply-rooted part of our culture and economy, and people who depend on the fishing industry need a government that works with them to build a strong and sustainable future.
Unfortunately, decades of Liberal and Conservative mismanagement have left our fisheries in a desperate situation: fish populations are declining and the health of our marine ecosystems are at risk, along with the coastal communities that depend on them. The choices that governments have made have left fishing communities and workers struggling to eke out a living and navigate global markets alone.
New Democrats are committed to a vision of strong coastal communities, sustainable fisheries, and thriving marine and freshwater ecosystems. With the right choices today, we can protect our fisheries and the jobs they provide for generations to come – and make Canada a global leader in ocean and freshwater sustainability.
To keep the benefits of the fishery local, New Democrats will work towards a community-based terminal fishery system on the west coast. On the east coast, we'll work to protect, enshrine, and enforce the government's owner-operator and fleet separation policies, while ensuring that our small craft harbours get the upgrades they need for safety and resilience to climate change.
In order to protect wild salmon on the Pacific coast, we will fully implement the recommendations of the Cohen Commission and work with the province of British Columbia and First Nations to support the transition to land-based, closed-containment systems. On the Atlantic coast, we'll ensure that resource allocations in fisheries are guided by the principles of adjacency, historic dependence, and sustainability, while also respecting Indigenous rights.
To help consumers make healthy choices and to combat seafood fraud, a New Democrat government will put in place stronger labelling rules and a Boat to Plate traceability standard for Canadian seafood products – and we will support the marketing of quality Canadian seafood at home and around the world.
When it comes to sustainability, New Democrats recognize that the wellbeing of our communities is reliant upon the health of our marine and freshwater ecosystems. That’s why we will invest in habitat restoration and the rebuilding of fish stocks, as well as in strengthening our response to oil spills and derelict vessels to better protect our coasts. At the same time, we will harness the potential of our coastline and spur jobs in Canada’s blue economy through investments in research, ocean science, and technology.
So often, local communities and particularly First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, are the first to respond in the event of an emergency along our coastlines. In areas where this is the case, a New Democrat government will work in partnership with Indigenous communities to make sure that they have the right equipment, training, and support to help save lives and protect the marine environment in their territory. We’ll also take steps to modernize Canada’s aging Coast Guard fleet, improve training and facilities, and enhance the Coast Guard auxiliary.
Canadians know that good services we can all count on need to be funded sustainably. But for too long, Liberal and Conservative governments have told Canadians to expect less – cutting back on services, handing out special deals for big corporations and big polluters, and giving tax breaks to their wealthiest friends. Instead of lowering costs for Canadian families, they have delivered outrageous giveaways to the richest few, while letting costs grow for everyone else.
The consequences of these choices are real: under the Liberal’s tax plan, 2 out of 3 Canadians get no relief, while people earning the most get hundreds of dollars in tax cuts. Companies caught dodging taxes get special access to sweetheart deals, and CEOs get to keep hundreds of millions in special tax benefits. All the while, half of all Canadians live within $200 of insolvency every month.
That is scandalous and it’s time for it to stop.
A New Democrat government will make fundamentally different choices. Our fiscal policies will put everyday Canadians and their families first. We will protect family budgets, and force big corporations and big polluters to start paying what they owe. And we will raise revenues through new, fair, and progressive taxation sources to make the investments Canadians need to thrive.
To boost the integrity of our tax system and combat tax evasion, we will take measures to close loopholes that include eliminating bearer shares, compelling companies to prove the economic reason for their offshore transactions, and improving transparency on the taxes paid by large corporations.
A New Democrat government will ensure that large, profitable corporations are contributing to the important services and infrastructure that make Canada such a good place to do business. We will roll back the Conservatives’ corporate income tax cuts by three percentage points to 2010 levels.
To make our tax system fairer and ensure that the wealthiest individuals are paying their fair share, we will increase the capital gains inclusion rate to 75 percent. A New Democrat government will also boost the top marginal tax rate and ask the very richest multi-millionaires to pay a bit more towards our shared services with a new 1 percent wealth tax on wealth over $20 million.
New Democrats will make the investments needed to help Canadian families who are struggling and improve the services we all count on. In all cases, we will manage debt and deficits responsibly, borrowing when required to defend the services that Canadians and their families rely on, and moving to balance when prudent.
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