As Canadians head to the polls on Sept. 20, one issue continues to be top of mind: COVID-19. The pandemic has shaped the lives of every person in the country since March 2020 and federal parties are hoping that their stance on the virus, vaccines and economic recovery will earn them Canadians’ trust – and their vote. Here are the main parties’ stances on the issue.
Conservative Party of Canada
As part of the Tories’ plans to help the country recover from the pandemic, the party is promising to balance the budget within the next decade. As part of their economic recovery, the Conservatives say the will pay up to 50 per cent of the salaries of workers at the end of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy program and provide a 5 per cent investment tax credit for any capital investment made in 2022 and 2023 (first $25,000 refundable for small businesses).
For Canadians personally investing in a small businesses during the next two years, they will get a 25 per cent tax credit on the first $100,000. Loans of up to $200,000 will be provided to small and medium sized businesses in hospitality, retail and tourism, with up to 25 per cent forgiven.
The Conservatives say they will prioritize getting domestic vaccine production for Canada, as well as procure contracts for boosters shots now. They say they will have everyone entering Canada, essential or not, vaccinated or not, get a rapid or PCR COVID test, as well as making at-home testing easily available to Canadians. Interprovincial passengers will also be required to take a rapid test.
Green Party of Canada
The Greens say they will extend wage and rent subsidies until all COVID restrictions are lifted and hold the small business tax rate at no more than nine per cent. They also say they will legislate green jobs training programs, including the creation of a youth climate corps and invest in scientific research. This will include increasing research and development spending to 2.5 per cent of the country’s GDP, in line with the OECD average.
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberals say they will mandate vaccination on interprovincial trains, flights, cruise ship and ensure immunization for all federal employees. The party says that it will recover all jobs lost to the pandemic and create more, stating that Canada is already up to 92 per cent of pre-pandemic employment.
The Liberals will launch a $1-billion COVID-19 proof of vaccination fund to support provinces in their own programs and ensure that businesses that require immunization from employees and customers will not be hit with lawsuits.
The party will also spend $100 million to study the long-term impacts of COVID-19.
New Democratic Party of Canada
The NDP say they will add an additional 15 per cent tax on large corporate profits during the pandemic and increase the capital gains inclusion rate to 75 per cent.
To bring jobs as Canada recovers from the pandemic, the party says it will develop a National Automotive Strategy and prioritize made-in-Canada electric vehicles for federal incentives.
For small and medium sized businesses, the NDP say they will put in place a long-term hiring bonus to pay the employer version of EI and CPP for new and rehired staff, as well as capping credit card merchant fees at one per cent.
The party will also mandate vaccination for all federal workers.
People’s Party of Canada
The People’s Party says they will fire Canada’s top COVID doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, and install someone who will not follow World Health Organization recommendations. They will also repeal vaccine passports for travellers and oppose them within the country.
The party says it will support medical research and development to treat COVID but will not bail out provinces that impose lockdowns.
The PPC says it will decrease the capital gains inclusion rate from 50 per cent to zero per cent and lower the corporate income tax rate from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.