Ontario Voter's Guide: Wellbeing Budgets
Gen Squeeze's analysis of how fairly the parties are budgeting for all generations

Wellbeing budgets scorecard

We scored the parties' platforms to see how close they get us to achieving our goal of budgeting for the wellbeing of all generations. Download the scorecard and check out the full analysis below!

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Wellbeing budgets scorecard

Table of Contents

UPDATED May 24, 2022 @ 20:35

 

Introduction

This election, Generation Squeeze is undertaking a rigorous assessment of Ontario provincial party platforms and commitments on four key issues: housing affordability, family affordability, climate change, and overall plans to budget for wellbeing for all generations.

Our mission: to help voters better understand how far each party's platform goes towards actually solving big problems facing Ontarians, and how these problems help prop up a broken generational system.

Instead of simply listing party promises, our assessment attempts to make meaning of these promises. We do this by evaluating the degree to which each platform advances each of the evidence-based actions needed to address key issues sustaining generational unfairness. Please visit our methodology page for more information on our approach to assessing party platforms.

On this page, you will find:

  • Summary score table: The commitments made by each party in their platform are assigned a score.  This score is determined based on the extent to which the actions proposed by the party advance the actions identified in our solutions framework for wellbeing budgets that work for all generations.
  • Detailed commentary: In-depth discussion of the platform commitments made by each party that informed the scores, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each commitment.

Gen Squeeze does not tell you who to vote for, and we don’t aim to portray any party in a favourable or unfavorable light.  Our goal is to help voters be as informed as possible about the positions of all of the parties on big issues for generational fairness in Ontario.  Please visit our methodology page for more information on our approach to platform analysis and our commitments to be non-partisan and evidence based.

Punchlines

The Generation Squeeze Lab worked over the past several years to produce a comprehensive policy framework to support governments to invest urgently in wellbeing from the early years onwards.  The framework points to 8 different action items. 

Findings:

No party is proposing to do enough to promote generational fairness.

  • The Conservatives would move further away from the goal of generational fairness.
  • The Liberals would stall at the starting line.
  • The NDP would take a half step in pursuit of the 8 action items.
  • The Greens, doing better than the other parties, would travel 20% of the distance toward completing all 8 action items. 

The parties will grow spending on older Ontarians faster than younger residents.

The Conservative party plans to increase spending on residents age 65+ 78% faster than for residents under age 45. 

The NDP, Liberals, and Greens all plan to increase spending on older residents 50%-53% faster than for younger residents. 

The parties will increase government debts for younger residents even though the Ontario economy is not in a recession.

Over the next three years:

  • The Conservatives will add $39.8 billion in deficits, or $4,816 per person under age 45.
  • The Greens plan to add $40.6 billion in deficits, or $4,916 per person under age 45.
  • The Liberals plan to add $44.7 billion in deficits, or $5,413 per person under age 45.
  • The NDP plan to add the largest deficits at $52.9 billion, or $6,402 per person under age 45.

The large deficits promised by the Conservatives, NDP and Liberals are driven substantially by the parties’ unwillingness to ask Ontarians today to pay for the services they want more of now.  This problem is especially relevant for older Ontarians, because the parts of the Ontario budget that are accelerating most quickly are medical care for the aging population.

By contrast, the deficits proposed by the Green party will go toward fighting climate change – a fight that younger generations desperately need Ontario to win if we are to protect their health and economy. Deficits incurred to fight climate change are easier to justify from the perspective of intergenerational justice by comparison with deficits incurred to grow medical care spending for the aging population – who as a generation has incurred enough wealth from housing to pay fully for the care it now wants to receive without leaving large bills for their children and grandchildren.

In Sum

The phrase “generational fairness” does not appear a single time in any of the platforms.

 

Approach to Platform Analysis

None

To support the analysis of party platforms, we've translated our wellbeing budget policy framework into 8 key criteria. Parties are assigned points based on their platform's response to each of these criteria. Score range from +1.0 to -1.0, assessed as follows:

Assessment

Points

  No discernible commitments

0

  Commitments are somewhat capable of achieving the goal

0.5

  Commitments are capable of achieving the goal

1.0

  Commitments somewhat undermine progress towards the goal

-0.5

  Commitments undermine progress towards the goal

-1.0

You can learn more about the rationale for our scoring approach and its limitations by reading our detailed methodology page.

Summary score table

The table below summarizes the scores of Conservative, NDP, Liberal and Green party on each of the 8 wellbeing budget criteria.

We welcome feedback from parties, including concerns that we may have misinterpreted elements of their platforms when assigning our scores. We commit to revising our scores in light of party evidence that their platforms or other election documents include commitments that align with the evaluation criteria.

Note for mobile/smartphone device users: The table below may not display properly on your smartphone screen. If the table appears to be cut-off, please return to this page on a desktop/laptop computer. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Wellbeing Budget Criteria

Party scores

PC

LP

NDP

GRN

 CLEAR GOAL AND PRINCIPLE

 

 

 

 

1

Do the platforms demonstrate an explicit commitment to generational fairness, investing in wellbeing from the early years onwards?

0

0

0

0

INVEST FAIRLY

 

 

 

 

2

Do the platforms invest fairly for young and old alike?

0

0

0

0

 INVEST MORE IN PREVENTING ILLNESS

 

 

 

 

3

Do the platforms increase social spending faster than medical spending? 

1

1

1

1

 RAISE REVENUE FAIRLY

 

 

 

 

4

Do platforms include action to rebalance taxes on income vs wealth, especially housing wealth?

0

0

0.5

0.5

5

Do platforms include action to ensure that improvements to pharmacare and long-term care are paid for in ways that are fair between generations?

-1

-1

-1

-1

 LEAVE FEWER DEBTS

 

 

 

 

6

Outside of recessions, do the platforms include action to stop growing per capita debt on young people (under age 45)?

-1

-1

-1

0

7

Do the platforms include action to ensure a high enough price on pollution?

0

1

1

1

 MONITOR AGE AND WELLBEING PATTERNS IN PUBLIC FINANCE

 

 

 

 

8

Do the platforms include action to monitor and report on key patterns in public finance?

0

0

0

0

 

TOTAL SCORE (out of a possible 8)

-1

0

0.5

1.5

 

Weighted to a total score out of 10 (to more easily compare to other issue areas)

-1.3

0

0.6

1.9

 

  

Detailed commentary

 

CLEAR GOAL AND PRINCIPLE

 

Criterion 1: Do the platforms demonstrate an explicit commitment to generational fairness, investing in wellbeing from the early years onwards?

This means explicitly embracing the principle of generational fairness in the party platform, investing urgently in wellbeing from the early years onwards, and by committing to leave at least as much as we inherit fiscally and environmentally.

No party receives a point for this criterion. The phrase “generational fairness” does not appear a single time in any of the platforms. Sure, several parties refer to the importance to protect the environment, which implies some concern for younger and future generations.  And several parties express concern that younger Ontarians are being locked out of affordable homes. But such observations dodge a #HardTruth. 

Polluting so much that we put at risk the sustainability of the climate on which younger and future generations depend is an intergenerational injustice.  Taking so much wealth out of the Ontario housing system for home owners so that there is little affordability left over for those who follow is an intergenerational injustice.  30% of Ontario children starting kindergarten vulnerable in ways that mean they are more likely to fail, go to jail or wind up sick as adults, is an intergenerational injustice.

Ontario is acknowledging more and more that there is systemic racism, systemic sexism, systemic heterosexism, systemic colonialism, and systemic classism.  There remains much pressing work to address these systemic inequalities. 

Unfortunately, none of the main parties running in the 2022 provincial election acknowledge that we have dysfunctional intergenerational system.  Since the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, this needs to change.

Back to summary score table

INVEST FAIRLY

 

Criterion 2: Do the platforms invest fairly for young and old alike?

We operationalize this criterion by examining how spending on medical care, education and social services breaks down by age.  The 2022 Ontario Budget is the starting point for the analysis for all parties. We then account for the changes to the Budget proposed by the NDP, Liberal and Green parties in their costed platforms.  The 2022 Budget is also treated as the Conservative party platform.

We focus on the spending promised by parties in the year 2024/25, which gives them several years to phase in their plans.  We measure the change in spending between 2021/22 and 2024/25 for medical care, education and social spending.

We allocate medical, education and social spending by age group: age 65+ and under age 45. The age 45-64 cohort is the ‘residual’ and not the focus of our analysis.  Our allocation of government spending by these age groups is informed by the findings from:  Kershaw, P. and L. Anderson (2016). "Measuring the Age Distribution in Canadian Social Spending." Canadian Public Administration 59(4): 556-579.

We award no point to any party for this criterion.  The Conservative party plans to increase spending on residents age 65+ 78% faster than for residents under age 45.  The NDP, Liberals, and Greens all plan to increase spending on older residents 50%-53% faster than for younger residents.  We calculate these age patterns in proposed party spending as follows.

Table 3.8 of the 2022 Ontario Budget (p. 178) shows:

  • health spending will grow from $71 billion in 2021/22 to $78.3 billion in 2024/25
  • grade school spending (which includes the new federal funding for $10 a day child care) will grow from $29.5 billion to $35.1 billion
  • postsecondary spending will grow from $10 billion to $11.4 billion
  • social services will grow from $17.2 billion to $18.6 billion

Conservatives: Guided by Kershaw and Anderson (2016), we allocate the investments planned in Budget 2022 by age group, as follows:

Our analysis shows that the 2022 Conservative Budget will increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians age 65+ by $5.3 billion.  When this figure is divided by the 3 million people who fall in this age category, the spending increase equals $1,740 per person age 65+.

By contrast, Budget 2022 plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians under age 45 by $8.1 billion. When this figure is divided by the 8.3 million people in the age category, the spending increase equals $977 per person under age 45.

By this metric, the Conservative party plans to grow spending on retirees 78% faster than for younger residents.  As such, we award no point for this criterion.

 

NDP: The following Table presents the same information as for the 2022 Conservative Budget – adding in the orange column representing additional spending promises made by the NDP.  The NDP plans to spend:

  • an extra $4.6 billion on medical care on top of the extra $7.3 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $1.5 billion on grade school and early childhood education by comparison with the extra $5.6 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $1 billion on postsecondary by comparison with the $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $10.5 billion on social services by comparison with the extra $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest.

Allocating the investments proposed by the NDP party by age yields the following:

The analysis shows that the NDP plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians age 65+ by $9.6 billion.  When this figure is divided by the 3 million people who fall in this age category, the spending increase equals $3,182 per person age 65+.

By contrast, the NDP plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians under age 45 by $17.2 billion. When this figure is divided by the 8.3 million people in the age category, the spending increase equals $2,081 per person under age 45.

By this metric, the NDP plans to grow spending on retirees 53% faster than for younger residents.  We award no point.

 

Liberal party:  The following Table presents the same information as for the 2022 Conservative Budget – adding in the red column representing additional spending promises made by the Liberal party.  The Liberals plan to spend:

  • an extra $2.7 billion on medical care on top of the extra $7.3 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $2.2 billion on grade school, early childhood education and parental leave by comparison with the extra $5.6 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $1.1 billion on postsecondary by comparison with the $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to spend
  • an extra $2.9 billion on social services by comparison with the extra $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest.

Allocating the investments proposed by the Liberal by age yields the following:

The analysis shows that the Liberal party plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians age 65+ by $7.2 billion.  When this figure is divided by the 3 million people who fall in this age category, the spending increase equals $2,383 per person age 65+.

By contrast, the Liberal party plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians under age 45 by $13.2 billion. When this figure is divided by the 8.3 million people in the age category, the spending increase equals $1,591 per person under age 45.

By this metric, the Liberal party plans to grow spending on retirees 50% faster than for younger residents.  We award no point.

 

Green party:  The following Table presents the same information as for the 2022 Conservative Budget – adding in the green column representing additional spending promises made by the Green party.  The Greens plan to spend:

  • an extra $6.1 billion on medical care on top of the extra $7.3 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $2 billion on grade school and early childhood education by comparison with the extra $5.6 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $2.1 billion on postsecondary by comparison with the $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest
  • an extra $9.6 billion on social services by comparison with the extra $1.4 billion that the Conservatives plan to invest.

Allocating the investments proposed by the Green party by age yields the following:

Our analysis shows that the Green party plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians age 65+ by $10.2 billion.  When this figure is divided by the 3 million people who fall in this age category, the spending increase equals $3,369 per person age 65+.

By contrast, the Green party plans to increase health, education and social service spending on Ontarians under age 45 by $18.3 billion. When this figure is divided by the 8.3 million people in the age category, the spending increase equals $2,218 per person under age 45.

By this metric, the Green party plans to grow spending on retirees 52% faster than for younger residents.  We award no point.

Back to summary score table

INVEST MORE IN PREVENTING ILLNESS

 

Criterion 3: Do the platforms increase social spending faster than medical spending? 

 

Ample evidence confirms that health doesn’t start with medical care. It starts where we are born, grow, live work and age – factors collectively referred to as social determinants of health. These social determinants are shaped by social spending. Research shows that government spending on social programs (e.g., poverty reduction, housing, child care, etc.) often has a stronger association with population health indicators than does public investment in medical care. In concrete terms, what this means is that a higher social:medical spending ratio (i.e. more spending on social issues relative to illness-treatment) associates with greater life expectancy, lower infant mortality and fewer potential years of lost life.

We operationalize this criterion by examining the ratio of aggregate spending on medical care relative to aggregate spending on childcare, parental leave, grade school, postsecondary education, housing, and other social services.

Our analysis of this criterion builds on the same budget information we presented above under criterion 2.

All four parties receive a full point for this criterion.  Medical care spending represents 46% of the increase in health, education and social service spending planned by the Conservatives.  However, it is worth noting that the Conservatives only meet the criterion of growing spending on social determinants of health faster than medical spending because of the $2.9 billion invested by the federal government in child care.  In the absence of the federal child care spending, the Conservatives’ investment in medical care would represent 57% of proposed new expenditures.

For the NDP, Liberals, and Greens, new spending on medical care represents 36% to 41% of planned investments.  The Greens and NDP in particular stand out for the resources allocated to growing investments in the wider determinants of health because they share a remarkable (by Canadian standards) plan to double disability and social assistance benefits.

We calculate each party’s plans to invest more urgently in social determinants of health by comparison with medical care as follows:

Conservative Party:

NDP:

Liberals: 

 

Green Party:

 

Back to summary score table

RAISE REVENUE FAIRLY

 

Criterion 4:  Do platforms include action to rebalance taxes on income vs wealth, especially housing wealth?

Whereas Gen Squeeze’s housing platform analysis awards points for parties that propose to amend tax policy to discourage foreign speculation and vacant homes, for this criterion we search for evidence of a broader shift towards taxing housing wealth more across the population  in order to create opportunities to tax income less, especially for lower and middle-earners. 

We propose this tax shift to acknowledge the massive increase in wealth accumulated by many home owners. Much of this wealth has been accumulated thanks to a ‘lottery of timing’.  This lottery refers to how our age influences the time at which we entered the housing market – and whether and how much prices have risen since that moment. Survey of Consumer Finance and Survey of Financial Security data show that Ontarians over age 55 have gained two-thirds of the $1 trillion increase in the value of principal residences since 1976, whereas those under 45 have gained only 11%. Some of this substantial increase in housing wealth enjoyed by older Ontarians could be used to help pay for increases in medical care spending for the aging population that are proposed by all political parties – by comparison with current plans to leave large deficits throughout the entire next mandate of whichever party wins the election.

The NDP platform stands out on this criterion for an important step forward – and a partial step back.  On page 13 of its housing policy, the NDP promises to “work with municipalities to enable progressive residential property taxes, letting them shift more of the tax burden onto properties worth more than $2 million.”  This proposal is a step toward the Gen Squeeze recommendation of adding a modest price on housing inequity by introducing a progressive (deferrable) annual surtax on home value above $1 million.  Although we recommend that this surtax be implemented at the provincial or federal level to avoid inefficient variation between regions or communities within provinces, we award a full point to the NDP for this bold policy proposal.

We also subtract half a point from the NDP for this criterion because the party proposes (p. 2 of its costed platform) to “tax the richest 1% by raising capital gains that are included in taxable income from 50% to 100% on corporations (excluding small businesses), and individuals with net worth over $3 million. This new capital gains adjustment includes a primary residence exemption” (emphasis added). The proposal to tax more capital gains is an important example of growing taxes on wealth.  However, exempting wealth held in principal residences further incentivizes Ontarians to treat their principal residence as an investment – resulting in collateral damage to affordability.  There is no reason why wealth in a principal residence shouldn’t be counted in overall wealth – especially for those with housing wealth above $3 million.  Housing is the most common kind of wealth that Ontarians hold. The net value held in principal residence in Ontario increased by over $1 trillion dollars (after inflation) since 1977 – 68% of which went to home owners over age 55, while only 11% went to those under age 45.  Ignoring the generational wealth inequalities caused by the rapid escalation in home prices exacerbates intergenerational tensions and inequities. 

In total, the NDP earns half a point for this criterion: a full point for promoting additional progressive taxation on home value above $2 million, minus half a point for reinforcing and expanding the home ownership tax shelter. 

 

The Green Party (p. 32) proposes to “implement a multiple property speculation tax on people and corporations who own more than two houses or condominium units in Ontario. The tax will begin at 20% on the third home and increase with each additional property owned.” The Greens costed platform (p. 6) suggests the rate will rise as high as 30%. We require further information to understand this commitment, but acknowledge that this proposal signals that the Greens aim to tax housing wealth more for those owning multiple homes.

In addition, the costed platform promises to “work with the Federal government to implement a wealth Tax, 1% over $10M, 2% over $50M, 3% over $100M over 3 years” (p. 6).  We struggled to find more information about this proposal in Green platform materials (and welcome the party drawing our attention to where we can find it).  In particular, we’re unclear about whether the proposal would include principal residences in the calculation of wealth.  If so, this promise would also represent an incremental step toward the tax shift recommended by Gen Squeeze.  For these reasons, we award the Greens half a point for this criterion.

 

The Liberal party receives no point for this criterion.  The party does propose to tax more very high earners, with incomes above $500,000.  But this proposal continues to focus on taxing income, not wealth – even though research shows that it is returns to capital/wealth that are driving inequality in Canada, and across the globe.  Housing is the most common kind of capital that Ontarians own, but the Liberal platform does not propose adding progressivity to the taxation of home value above $1 million, or other policy strategies that could reduce the home ownership tax shelter.

 

The Conservative party also receives no point for this criterion. Its 2022 budget does not once mention the word ‘wealth’.

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 5: Do platforms include action to ensure that improvements to pharmacare and long-term care are paid for in ways that are fair between generations?

This criterion requires that revenue plans should not unfairly burden young Canadians. New investments in programs like pharmacare and long-term care will be important – but the timing of these investments creates a lot of intergenerational risks.  The primary beneficiaries of these changes in the coming years – older Canadians – have not had a chance to pre-pay for the increased benefits they now wish to use.  These risks are magnified in the context of Canada’s aging population.

How do we invite Older Canadians to pay a fair share of these new costs, versus just leaving the bills entirely to their kids and grandchildren – who are already squeezed by earrings that are lower, and housing costs that are higher, than those faced by today’s aging population when they were young? The current tax system is not set up to do this fairly. A key problem is that tax revenue is primarily based on income, rather than wealth. Worse still, housing wealth is sheltered from taxation by comparison with other assets, even though it is the most common wealth held by Canadians, and older Canadians have the greatest amount of housing wealth. It’s time to discuss how the housing wealth held by older Canadians could contribute to paying for the improvements to health care they understandably want and deserve.

Canadians under age 45 are already shouldering an increasing tax burden from escalating medical costs associated with the aging population. When Baby Boomers, were young adults, they had seven workers to contribute to the medical care required by every senior. Today, there are fewer than 4 workers for every senior requiring medical care.  This means that a larger portion of young people’s tax dollars now goes towards paying for the medical care of retirees, by comparison with when those retirees were young.

This development is occurring amid a broader trend toward lower tax rates, which erode government revenue left over to pay for key priorities for younger Canadians – like child care, postsecondary, housing and fighting climate change. Research shows that over the last several decades, Canadian governments have been using the proceeds of economic growth to increase spending on Canadians age 65+ at a pace equal to economic growth. By contrast, spending on Canadians under age 45 has increased far less than economic growth. Had spending on younger residents kept pace with economic growth, governments would be spending over $19 billion more per year – enough to pay for $10 a day child care twice over; or a 50% increase to postsecondary spending; or more in a single year than the National Housing Strategy is investing over many years.

The Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens all propose new investments in long-term care and/or pharmacare to grow these parts of our medical system.  Since none of these parties make any mention of the need to pay for these improvements in ways that are fair between generations, we deduct a full point from each party.

It is necessary for all major parties in Ontario to consider the intergenerational budget implications of initiating large expansions of publicly-funded medical care at a moment when Canada’s population is aging, and there are fewer workers for every senior by comparison with when our country started medical care many decades ago.  Especially in the absence of any parallel discussion about the revenue required to cover new investment.

Back to summary score table

 

LEAVE FEWER DEBTS

 

Criterion 6: Outside of recessions, do the platforms include action to stop growing per capita debt on young people (under age 45)?

This criterion is concerned with whether today’s aging population is leaving unpaid bills for younger and future generations.  Even before the pandemic, the amount of government debt left for each Canadian under 45 was three times higher than it was when today’s Baby Boomers started out as young adults.

We have comparable costing data from all four parties for the next 3 years.  No party promises to balance its budget over the next mandate – even though their fiscal projections do not anticipate that the Ontario economy will be in a recession at that time.

We added up the total deficit that each party proposes to add to Ontario’s credit card between now and 2025, and then divided that amount by the total number of people under age 45 – in recognition of the fact that it is younger residents who are asked to assume disproportionate responsibility of paying for interest charges incurred on public debt and/or paying off that debt in the future.  See the Tables below for more details, but the punchlines are:

  • The Conservatives will add $39.8 billion in deficits, or $4,816 per person under age 45.
  • The Greens plan to add $40.6 billion in deficits, or $4,916 per person under age 45.
  • The Liberals plan to add $44.7 billion in deficits, or $5,413 per person under age 45.
  • The NDP plan to add the largest deficits at $52.9 billion, or $6,402 per person under age 45.

We deduct a full point from each of the Liberals, NDP, and Conservatives for this criterion, because very little of the operating deficit they propose is incurred to invest in fighting climate change. The climate crisis will disproportionately be shouldered by younger and future residents if too little is done now to retain what hope remains to hold global temperature rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The 2022 Conservative budget only mentions “climate” five times in 268 pages, and the phrase “climate change” just once.  This lack of attention underscores that the Conservatives are doing less than other parties to fight climate change, even as the party racks up very large deficits outside of a recession. 

The NDP costed platform (p. 9) indicates that spending on its “Green New Democratic Deal” adds up to $12.1 billion over the next three years – not even a quarter of the total deficit proposed by this party.

The Liberals costed platform (p. 6) proposes to spend $6.4 billion over the next three years to “grow sustainably” – not even 15% of the deficits this party proposes.

By contrast, the Green costed platform (p. 5) plans to add $41.8 billion in new operating spending to flight climate change.  This means that all of its deficit financing is going toward fighting the existential risk that climate change poses as an intergenerational injustice.  For this reason, we do not deduct any points from the Greens.

It’s also important to note that our analysis reveals that the large deficits promised in the Ontario election are driven substantially by the parties’ unwillingness to ask Ontarians to pay for the services they want more of now.  This problem is especially relevant for older Ontarians. On one hand, the parts of the Ontario budget that are accelerating most quickly are medical care for the aging population. On the other had many older homeowners have reaped housing wealth windfalls from rising prices, a portion of which could help pay for the new medical care services.

When did Ontario culture shift so much that electoral success now depends on our parties being able to promise us more publicly provided benefits and services without asking citizens to pay for them now so that we don’t leave unpaid bills to younger and future generations?

Conservative party: 

Greens

Liberals:

NDP:

 

Back to summary score table

 

Criterion 7: Do the platforms include action to ensure a high enough price on pollution?

This criterion refers specifically to carbon pollution, because the escalating climate crisis arguably represents the largest debt passed from one generation to the next in the entire history of humankind. The most recent science shows we have less than a decade to avoid irreversibly locking in this debt, assuming the associated tipping points haven’t already been passed. By ‘high enough’ we mean a carbon price that surpasses $50/tonne to eventually reach at least $170/tonne range, and a price that is justified in light of a detailed carbon budget.

The 2022 Conservative Budget once again celebrates its earlier cancellation of the Ontario cap-and-trade system.  As well, the Conservative government unsuccessfully challenged in the Supreme Court the federal government’s backstop price on pollution for provinces that don’t adequately price carbon via provincial policy.  For these reasons, we deduct a full point.

The NDP platform (p. 55) promises to “reduce Ontario’s GHG emissions by at least 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, targets consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the most ambitious aspects of the Paris Agreement. We’ll enshrine our GHG reduction targets into law and use a carbon budgeting process to ensure we reach them, consulting with climate scientists, workers, industry and other experts.” The party also proposes to restore a new cap-and-trade system that aims to oblige larger corporate polluters to pay for emissions.  We award a full point.

The Liberal platform (p. 59) also proposes to “cut carbon and methane pollution by more than 50% by 2030.” The party adds that “Ontario business have gone through three different carbon pricing programs in just four years. We’ll replace chaos with collaboration to strengthen our existing industrial carbon pricing system and ensure business do their part to meet our pollution targets. We’ll also create a robust carbon offset system to support businesses that reduce their pollution while fostering innovative carbon-cutting solutions.” We award a full point.

The Green party platform (p. 22) promises to “establish a transparent annual carbon budget to reach net zero by 2045,” cutting carbon pollution by half by 2030 (p. 47).  The party adds (p. 47) that it will “take over administration of the federal carbon fee system and increase the price by $25 until it reaches $300/tonne in 2032. All carbon fee revenues collected from individuals will be returned to individuals as dividends.”  We award a full point. 

Back to summary score table

MONITOR AGE AND WELLBEING PATTERNS IN PUBLIC FINANCE

 

Criterion 8: Do the platforms include action to monitor and report on key patterns in public finance?

This criterion refers to (i) reporting annually and accurately on age trends in public finance; (ii) reporting annually on the social/medical spending ratio; and (iii) appointing a Minister or Parliamentary Secretary responsible for intergenerational fairness in public finance.

None of the four parties include any of these commitments in their platforms.  We award no points.

Back to summary score table

 

 

 

 

 

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