elow are the responses we have received from provincial election candidates from the four major parties at Queen's Park running in Scarborough-Guildwood. We will update this page as more answers come in.
Veronica Javier - NDP 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?
Veronica Javier: The NDP and I are committed to building 100,000 units of social housing over the next decade and we will begin this process immediately in our first term.
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?
Veronica Javier: We will eliminate Bill 124 and increase health care workers’ wages: We’ll scrap Doug Ford’s unfair wage cap bill, which prevents nurses and other health care workers from negotiating a fair wage. We will commit to good faith bargaining with the public sector.
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?
Veronica Javier: The NDP is committed to police accountability and the prevention of police violence. We will restore community trust by ensuring that police oversight bodies are effective, responsive, and truly independent and transparent, including the SIU, so that the system is accountable to communities.
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?
Veronica Javier: The Ontario NDP and I will ensure funds are allocated towards investments in health care, public transit, and education. We will ensure needed hospital projects and expansions in Brampton, Niagara Falls, Windsor-Essex and Kitchener get shovels in the ground without sacrificing needed health services in surrounding communities. We will immediately begin work on new hospital projects in Brampton, Scarborough and Sioux Lookout.
We are committing to raise hospital funding to exceed health sector inflation, population growth, expanded operating plans, and unique local needs such as aging populations. We plan to clear the school repair backlog - we’ll immediately address the backlog, with a plan to clear it within 10 years. The NDP and I will also hire more custodians and maintenance staff and establish a province-wide standard for cleaning and school repairs. As part of our Green Democratic New Deal, we’ll upgrade public school buildings to make them carbon neutral and climate resilient, ensuring they meet the current and future needs of their communities. We’ll bring those same principles to new school buildings, to ensure they meet international energy efficiency standards.
The NDP is committed to restoring provincial funding for municipal public transit and paratransit systems to 50 per cent of their net operating costs – a funding boost that will immediately improve service in communities across the province. We’ll work with municipalities to improve service, reduce wait times and make municipal transit systems more affordable. We will also fully restore the Ontario Northlander.
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?
Veronica Javier: We plan to raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2026, increasing it by a $1 each year to allow businesses to keep up accordingly. To help small businesses achieve this, New Democrats will bring in targeted supports for those that need help increasing wages as our economy is rebuilt.