elow are the responses we have received from provincial election candidates from the four major parties at Queen's Park running in Eglinton-Lawrence. We will update this page as more answers come in.
Leah Tysoe - Green Party Candidate
The Hoser: The federal government divested from a responsibility to build public housing in the early 1990s, downloading the responsibility to provinces and municipalities. If your party forms government, how many units of public housing can you commit to building in your first term?
Leah Tysoe: Ontario Greens understand the housing crisis that we are currently in - which is why we developed a comprehensive housing plan, “Building Livable & Affordable communities,” which lays out a strategy for making sure everyone has a safe, affordable and accessible place to call home.
We are committed to building 182,000 new permanently affordable community housing rental homes over the next 10 years, including 60,000 permanent supportive homes. We will also renew 260,000 community housing rental homes over the next 10 years, in partnership with the federal government, under the National Housing Strategy. We would mandate inclusionary zoning and require a minimum of 20% affordable units in all housing projects above a certain size, while also creating a seed fund for co-operative housing through direct funding and mortgage support.
The Hoser: Bill 124 has frozen public sector wage increases at 1 percent since 2019. Inflation has climbed upwards of six percent in 2022. Will your government keep Bill 124 as provincial law? If not, will you legislate any limitations to public sector workers’ collective bargaining rights?
Leah Tysoe: Ontario Greens will restore and improve workers’ rights to collective bargaining and immediately repeal Bill 124 and the problematic sections of Bill 106.
The Hoser: Communities and advocates concerned with police violence have for years been demanding a defunding of police services, rerouting that money to public social services. Is this a policy your government would pursue? If so, how much money would you reallocate from current provincial policing budgets?
Leah Tysoe: Ontario Greens believe that we need to address the underlying issues that result in people being involved in the justice system. This means addressing complex issues such as housing, poverty, mental health and addictions, systemic racism and oppression.
We have an ambitious plan to address these issues, including:
- Working with the federal government to fast-track the decriminalization of drugs, and expand safe consumption sites where needed
- Developing a 3 digit dedicated crisis response line and health-focused crisis response teams to respond to mental health and substance related calls, diverting these calls from 911 and police services
- Ensuring court mental health workers are available across Ontario to divert individuals living with mental health and/or substance use issues out of the justice system
- Banning the practice of carding and deleting existing data that has been collected from carding in the past.
- Reforming the Special Investigation Unit to ensure transparency and justice for racialised individuals who are victims of violence and discrimination at the hands of law enforcement.
- Restoring adequate funding to Legal Aid by boosting their base budget and develop a long-term, structurally stable funding plan.
- Immediately appointing more full-time, qualified, and competent adjudicators to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to ensure timely and effective case hearings.
The Hoser: Considering that COVID is airborne and cases are once again quite high, will your government make any investments in retrofits or building new hospitals, schools, public transit vehicles, or any other large-scale investments related to public health, indoor crowding and ventilation?
Leah Tysoe: We are committed to protecting public health in Ontario, and enhancing the ability of Public Health Ontario to carry out its mandate and protect the health of our citizens. We will conduct an independent public inquiry into the Government of Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that will offer recommendations to reduce harm in the current pandemic and how to be prepared for future health crises. We will also designate the Chief Medical Officer of Health as an independent office of the legislator in a watchdog role, with annual publicly available reporting.
Preparing long-term care homes for future infectious disease outbreaks is also critical, to protect the health of Ontario’s elder population and avoid a repeat of the circumstances that occurred during the COVID pandemic. To improve the safety of long-term care homes, we would:
- Prioritize license proposals for small, community-based long-term care homes
- Update design standards to improve out-break management of infectious diseases
- Phase out for-profit long-term care and stop licensing new for-profit homes.
- Repeal Bill 218, which shields long-term care owners and operators from liability for negligence.
- Reinstate annual comprehensive inspections of long-term care homes without advance notice, and ensure homes with infractions face the legislated consequences.
- Ensure essential caregivers can safely access their loved ones during prolonged infectious disease emergencies
- Define the respective roles of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care in addressing health emergencies
- Ensure the safety of residents is reflected in any provincial emergency plan
Other policies we would implement include:
- Providing adequate and predictable funding to ensure future pandemic preparedness
- Stockpiling three months of personal protective equipment for all healthcare facilities in the province
- Providing funding for schools to make energy efficiency and ventilation improvements and decrease class sizes in grades 4-8 and kindergarten
The Hoser: As of 2021, the living wage in Toronto was over $22 an hour. In all major cities and towns in the province, the $15/hr minimum wage is below a living wage. Inflation is now upwards of six percent, and scheduled wage increases and cost of living adjustments are not keeping up. Is your government committed to getting minimum wage levels to a living wage? If not, why?
Leah Tysoe: We recognize that the current minimum wage is insufficient to meet the needs of Ontarians, particularly those living in cities like Toronto where the cost of living is higher. To assist Ontarians in the face of rising inflation and cost of living, we would increase the floor of the minimum wage each year by $1, starting at $16 in 2022. We would also include a top-up in cities where the cost of living is higher.