The Green Plan

A Caring Society

Ontarians deserve to live where access to quality healthcare, education, and social services is equitable and fair. Ontario Greens are leading the way - we’ll put people and planet before profit.

A Caring Society

Our plan emphasises the connections we all share. It values the quality of life of all Ontarians.

Mike Schreiner, GPO Leader

The past two years have shown us just how much we rely on caring professions in healthcare, education, and social services to get us through.

But neglect and half-measures from years of successive governments have strained services we rely on every day. 

Getting help when you need it should not be this hard. Whether you’re a senior citizen waiting two years for a knee replacement or a person with a disability trying to survive off $1169 per month, the system is broken. 

The pandemic exposed the giant chasms in our healthcare system, leaving our ICUs overrun and our elders dying alone. Stopping the bleeding will take more than a band-aid.  

Our vision for Ontario is one that clearly states that mental health is health. Bringing mental health services under OHIP will mean that people can afford and can access the care they need.

Our vision puts the dignity of people ahead of private profits or government red tape. If we are going to call nurses, PSWs and educators heroes, then let’s pay them that way. If we want to keep our hospitals stable, then let’s treat illnesses before they become an emergency.

We offer solutions to make it easier for our elders to age in place, with dignity and real support. Solutions that will replace the profit motive in long-term care, with a real commitment to give each resident the care they need. 

And after two chaotic years inside and outside of the classroom, students and teachers need stability in the school system. We need to properly invest in our education systems – from child care through post secondary.

We have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to create a common future that is fair, just and caring. 

Ontario Greens offer a leadership approach that plans for the future by putting people and the planet above profit.

Ontarians care for one another. Our vision for Ontario is one where the government does too.

Mental health is health

Mental health is such a critical issue that all parties should be talking about. It was a crisis situation before COVID-19, and the pandemic has only made things worse.

Abhijeet Manay, GPO Deputy Leader

Almost half of Ontarians said their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began, and one in four Ontarians is currently seeking help. The greatest barriers people face in receiving treatment are access and affordability. 

But mental health is not a “nice to have,” it is a “need to have.” Decades of neglect from successive governments has led to long wait times and inadequate funding and support. Mental health touches all of our lives, and proper care should be available for everyone.

Ontario Greens introduced a comprehensive mental health plan, “Building a More Caring Ontario,” that lays out a strategy to make mental health care more affordable, accessible and comprehensive so anyone in this province can get the care they need when they need it. 

We intend to expand OHIP to include regulated mental health care providers who are presently out of reach for so many Ontarians. We will treat addiction as a mental health issue and expand treatment options for people with complex needs. We will create a mental healthcare system that is affordable, accessible, comprehensive, and easy to navigate.

Increase access to publicly funded mental health care

  • Make the investments needed to increase mental health spending to 10% of Ontario’s healthcare budget. 
  • Include mental health and addiction care under OHIP by offering services provided by psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers, and other regulated professionals.
  • Provide an immediate base budget increase of 8% to the community mental health sector to increase access to publicly funded care.
  • Expand access to publicly funded mental health and addiction treatment beds to reduce or eliminate the need for expensive private care. 
  • Fully integrate mental health and addictions services into expanded Family Health Teams and walk-in clinics to improve early intervention. Include mental health and substance use as part of regular check-ups.

Create an accessible system with around-the-clock access

  • Make investments to ensure core mental health and addiction services are available in all regions of Ontario so people can access care where they live.
  • Establish clear pathways to navigate our mental health care system and trained system navigators to connect people to appropriate treatment and services. 
  • Implement a wait time reduction strategy for mental health services that sets targets, tracks wait times, and makes the information available to the public.
  • Invest in a 3 digit, 24/7 province-wide mental health crisis response line so callers can be diverted from 911 and connected to a more appropriate service. 
  • Invest in the creation and expansion of 24/7 mental health focused mobile crisis response teams, crisis centres, rapid access addiction medicine clinics, and short-term residential beds across the province.

Improve access to care for children, youth, and students

  • Reduce wait times to 30 days or less for children and youth by investing in frontline mental health care workers. 
  • Invest in expanding services for youth who face service gaps as they age out of the youth system of care. 
  • Make the appropriate investments so students can easily connect to community mental health professionals at or near primary and secondary schools. 
  • Ensure that mental health, wellness and resiliency training are included across the entire education system. Implement a comprehensive curriculum that covers issues such as mental wellness, coping skills, and stress management. 
  • Replicate networks such as the Guelph and Wellington County ACEs Coalition province-wide to increase programming available to prevent the effects of adverse childhood experiences.
  • Invest in Youth Wellness Hubs province-wide as a one-stop shop for employment, health, education, recreation and housing support. Our goal should be to have at least one in each community across Ontario.
  • Expand the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health and increase funding for peer-to-peer programming, frontline counselling, harm reduction tools, and training to support well-being and resilience.

Treat mental health and addiction as a public health issue

  • Work with the federal government to fast-track the decriminalisation of drugs and reallocate funding from the justice system to mental health care services.
  • Establish mental health-focused crisis response teams in communities across Ontario to be deployed when people are experiencing a mental health or substance related crisis. 
  • Coordinate with public health units to collect and release data on the overdose epidemic, including detailed data on non-fatal and fatal drug poisonings.

Expand support for addiction care

  • Take a Housing First approach and build 60,000 permanent supportive housing spaces with wrap-around services, and dedicate 10% of those homes to people with complex care needs. 
  • Increase the number of consumption and treatment sites throughout the province and expand the availability of harm reduction programs, including safe supply. 
  • Integrate paid peer support workers with lived experience into the planning and organisation of all substance use programming, and create a significant role for people with lived experience as part of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence.
  • Declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency to free up funds and provide focused, coordinated government leadership to combat the crisis.
  • Expand the distribution of naloxone kits. 
  • Reboot the Ontario Emergency Opioid Task Force to address the urgency and complexity of the drug poisoning crisis.

Expand care options for people with complex needs

  • Define standards of care for common and complex mental health and addiction services to be used across the province.
  • Conduct a needs assessment for acute and community-based mental health and addiction services by region, and make investments in acute care beds as needed.
  • Expand specialist community mental health services and acute care capacity for people with eating disorders.
  • Recognize suicide as a public health priority and invest in evidence-based prevention strategies that support the individual needs of people, including Indigenous and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. 
  • Support programs and services that take an intersectional approach to meet the needs of all people, including those with disabilities, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, women, Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, and those with housing insecurity.

Health through a preventative lens

A focus on preventing illness will provide healthy outcomes and quality care at the lowest cost to the public purse.

Marlene Spruyt, GPO candidate and retired Medical Officer of Health

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

While other parties wait for every crisis to reach a boiling point, our vision is to try to solve problems at their source. 

When it comes to healthcare, this means helping people to access healthy food and a place to call home. It’s also about early detection and treatment of illnesses in community clinics rather than the hallway of a hospital. Most importantly, it’s a plan to respect nurses, PSWs and other healthcare workers to retain these professionals rather than burning them out. 

We are now facing a backlog for care, with thousands of people still waiting for health care, support and services. It’s even more challenging for rural, remote and Northern communities, where there were staffing shortages even before the pandemic. 

With surgery backlogs and an understaffed sector, now is the time to expand a publicly funded, publicly delivered healthcare system that is equitable, accessible, and comprehensive – for all Ontarians.

Prioritise prevention in our healthcare system

  • Partner with the federal government to implement a universal dental care program.
  • Partner with the federal government to implement a universal pharmacare program. As an interim measure, publicly fund take-home cancer and rare disease medications.  
  • Increase upstream investments in the social determinants of health, such as social isolation, housing insecurity, and poverty to prevent substantial, long-term healthcare costs and severe disease. 
  • Support and promote healthy behaviours to prevent disease and reduce risk factors such as poor nutrition and smoking. These early investments will lead to better long-term health outcomes and reduce stress on the system.
  • Improve environmental determinants of health by prioritising clean air, clean water, and access to healthy local food in all communities.

Create a robust system of primary care

  • Support a publicly funded, publicly delivered healthcare system and oppose further privatisation of care. 
  • Expand access to family health teams in communities across the province and increase opportunities for physicians to join team-based models of care. Include a diverse array of healthcare providers in the teams to ensure a holistic, connected, comprehensive approach to health. 
  • Increase options for primary care, such as community health centres and nurse-practitioner-led clinics, to ensure access to non-urgent 24/7 care. 
  • Improve integration and connectivity across healthcare service providers through the use of digital data sharing and patient health coordinators. 
  • Improve diagnosis and OHIP-covered care for rare diseases, including but not limited to lyme disease, long-COVID, and chronic pain disorders. 
  • Increase funding for and access to midwives and other community perinatal care services across Ontario.

Invest in healthcare workers

  • Establish a nurse-led task force to make recommendations on matters related to the recruitment, retention and safety of nurses.
  • Immediately repeal Bill 124 and the problematic sections of Bill 106 and allow all healthcare workers to bargain collectively for fair wages. Until then, provide a minimum hourly wage of $35 to registered practical nurses and $25 to personal support workers.
  • Increase nursing program enrollments by 10% every year for 7 years and the number of trained nurse practitioners by 50% by 2030 to enable us to meet our target of at least 30,000 additional nurses. 
  • Support certification upgrades for healthcare workers through expanded bridging programs at publicly funded post-secondary institutions.
  • Fast-track credential approvals for 15,000 international healthcare workers, including nurses and personal support workers. 
  • Guarantee access to the most appropriate safety equipment in all healthcare facilities, and use the precautionary principle when protecting workers.
  • Provide support for Black and Indigenous healthcare workers through greater mentorship opportunities, partnerships with allies, and equitable human resources processes.

Support strong hospitals

  • Increase year-over-year hospital base operating funding to a minimum of 5%. 
  • Work with the federal government to provide surge funding to reduce the backlog in surgeries, imaging, and other services.
  • Invest in new and expanded hospitals as needed to meet demand in high growth areas.
  • Expand funding to build additional hospice residences and fund all critical costs related to palliative care, including support for grief and bereavement services.
  • Increase annual in-home palliative care funding.

Protect Public Health

  • Conduct an independent public inquiry into the Government of Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that will offer recommendations on preventative measures to reduce harm in the case of future health crises. 
  • Designate the Chief Medical Officer of Health as an independent officer of the legislature in a watchdog role comparable to that of provincial auditors, with annual publicly available reporting. 
  • Enhance the ability of Public Health Ontario to carry out its mandate by ensuring robust public health science and laboratory support. 
  • Provide adequate and predictable funding to ensure future pandemic preparedness.
  • Stockpile three months’ supply of personal protective equipment for all healthcare facilities in the province.

Fulfil remote and rural healthcare needs

  • Rebalance the healthcare funding formula to ensure better access in rural and remote areas.
  • Make permanent the 50 community wellness nursing positions supporting First Nations communities. 
  • Invest in increasing the number of Indigenous-led health clinics.
  • Expand the roles and scope of nurse practitioners as primary health care providers, especially in areas that lack primary care options.
  • Use incentives to bring physicians and allied health professionals to Northern and rural communities.
  • Create opportunities for specialist and subspecialist trainees to undertake electives and core rotations in the North.

Build a more equitable healthcare system

  • Immediately strike a task force to develop policies and initiatives that address the adverse effects of racism, homophobia, and transphobia on peoples’ mental health and the barriers they face to accessing healthcare.
  • Provide cultural responsiveness training for all healthcare professionals across our system that is trauma-informed and rooted in equity and anti-racism.
  • Increase core funding for community-based, grassroots mental and physical health supports in racialized, newcomer, and other communities that have traditionally been underserved.
  • Improve the availability of supports and services in other languages, including French and Indigenous languages, and encourage service providers and programs to reflect the experiences and perspectives of the populations they serve.
  • Mandate and fund the collection and meaningful use of socio-demographic and race-based data to identify and correct inequities in provided care and health outcomes. 
  • Expand the number of and fully fund women’s health clinics and abortion clinics in Ontario.

Care for elders

The government failed to keep long-term care residents safe during the pandemic. A bad situation was made worse by a government that failed to act.

Carla Johnson, GPO candidate

The recent census showed that, in the next few years, one in five people in this country will be over the age of sixty-five. Many of us will live into our eighties. We need to bring support and care into our communities where the majority of people prefer to age in place – enjoying daily life within our homes. 

In Canada, long-term care residents made up 81% of all reported COVID-19 deaths compared to an average of 38% in other countries. The Toronto Star reported in December 2021 that for-profit long-term care operators paid nearly $171 million in dividends to shareholders in the first three quarters of 2020 while receiving $138.5 million in pandemic funding. 

Those who built this province deserve to age with dignity. Let’s replace the profit motive with a real commitment to give each resident the care they need.

We have a plan to improve care in long term care and ensure that our elders are not treated as just another revenue stream by private investors. We must do better.

Build more non-profit long- term care beds

  • Build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041 to meet growing demand. 
  • Create more Indigenous-led long-term care homes and allocate a portion of the new beds to these homes.

Create an accountable, nonprofit long-term care system

  • Increase base funding for long-term care by 10%
  • 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.
  • Transfer regulatory oversight of retirement homes to the Ministry of Long-Term Care. 
  • Create a system of formal oversight for long-term care Medical Directors working with the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Ontario Medical Association.

Improve resident care

  • Legislate staffing in long-term care facilities to include a minimum of one nurse practitioner for every 120 residents and a staff composition that includes 20% registered nurses, 25% registered practical nurses, and 55% personal support workers.
  • Mandate a minimum of four hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day, including a minimum of 48 minutes of care provided by a registered nurse and 60 minutes provided by a registered practical nurse. 
  • Increase long-term care resident access to allied health professionals, such as dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and social workers, to a minimum of one hour per day.
  • Mandate continued professional development for staff on geriatric care, practices for caring for residents with dementia, and palliative and end-of-life care.
  • Fast-track updated staffing plans and ensure consistency of care by requiring full-time personal support workers and nursing positions.

Prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks

  • Prioritise licence proposals for small, community-based long-term care homes. 
  • Update design standards to improve outbreak management of infectious diseases.
  • Stop contracting out food, housekeeping and laundry services.
  • Recognise that essential caregivers play a critical role in residents’ health and wellbeing, and ensure they 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, and ensure the safety of long-term care residents is reflected in any provincial emergency plan.

Expand options for holistic care

  • Better integrate long-term care, homecare, and caregiver services within the healthcare system to properly provide for the complex needs of residents. 
  • Implement an expanded choice, patient-centred long-term care framework that focuses on a continuum of care for seniors.
  • Strengthen obligations for long-term care licensees to respect and recognise residents’ gender identity, as well as their social, cultural, spiritual, and language care needs. 
  • Amend the Residents’ Bill of Rights to align with the prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Ontario Human Rights Code.
  • Amend the Residents’ Bill of Rights by adding the right of residents to have accommodations made for themselves and their spouse or life partner so they can continue to live together in long-term care. 
  • Prioritise healthy, quality local food as an important component of resident wellbeing.

Improve home care

  • Increase funding to home care services by 20% so that people can safely stay in their homes longer
  • Create a standard basket of core homecare services that providers must make consistently available across the province. 
  • Shift to entirely nonprofit homecare providers within the public system.
  • Provide team coordinators as a single access point within family health teams to ensure care is consistent with patient needs. 
  • Mandate that personal support workers are paid a minimum of $25 an hour and for their travel time between visits.
  • Increase high-quality homecare options for those experiencing frailty, dementia, and disability. 
  • Collect meaningful quality indicators to hold homecare organisations accountable and to promote quality improvements. 
  • Pilot a support program as part of a basic income phase-in for those doing unpaid caregiving in families and communities.

Expand options to age in place

  • Make it easier for seniors to live together by streamlining and simplifying the approvals process for cohousing and coliving developments. Repeal laws that would prohibit or create barriers to cohousing and coliving.
  • Increase support for community centres and neighbourhood coalitions, which play an important role in encouraging community connections and reducing isolation for elders. 
  • Create incentives for retrofitting homes to make them safer and easier to age in place.

Lifelong learning

After two chaotic years inside and outside of the classroom, students and teachers need the government to bring stability to the school system and get back to high-quality, in-person education.

Matt Richter, GPO candidate

Learning is one of the great joys of living. We should all have access to education and training that suits our abilities and interests. Our lifelong learning curve should not be cut short by unnecessary obstacles. A 21st century educational system needs to keep pace with the changes and requirements of a society in transition.

We need new funding models and clear, affordable pathways to higher education.

For the Green Party, building a modern, more equitable education system is a must. Properly funding our educational support workers and retaining strong and committed teachers is paramount.

Investments in education are important for the health, wellbeing, and success of kids and young people now and for the future.

Improve funding models for education

  • Establish an independent review of Ontario’s education funding formula so it adequately reflects student needs, and review the formula every five years.
    • Ensure the updated formula includes adequate funding for ESL grants, special education assistants, counsellors, and other specific supports to provide equitable access to learning and school activities for all students.
    • Ensure the updated funding formula takes into account the unique needs of remote and rural schools. 
  • Address the repair backlog for Ontario public schools.
  • Allocate funds to ensure schools are able to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).
  • Provide funding for schools to make energy efficiency and ventilation improvements.
  • Make funding available so that schools can buy zero emission electric school buses to replace retired diesel buses.

Strengthen in-school learning

  • Support in-person learning and oppose any move toward mandatory e-learning or hybrid learning models. 
  • Cap grades 4 to 8 class sizes at 24 students and kindergarten at 26 students.
  • Eliminate the EQAO standardised testing and update the elementary curriculum to reduce prescribed student outcomes.
  • Increase funding for enhanced outdoor education, greenspace in school yards, and enhanced curriculum content on critical environmental topics such as food literacy and climate change. 
  • Implement a province-wide nutritious school lunch program.

Make equity a pillar of public education

  • Address racism in schools with mandatory collection and reporting of race-based data for student, teacher and staff populations, as well as implementing standard procedures around the reporting of incidents of racism.
  • Work with school boards to ensure recruitment and retention practices for staff are transparent and reflect the diversity of Ontario’s population and ensure culturally relevant and responsive programming is included in mandatory staff training. 
  • End streaming in our education system to ensure equity for all students. 
  • Immediately remove all Resource Officers from Ontario schools.
  • Establish clearly visible all-gender washrooms and update school communications to become more gender inclusive, recognising that gender exists on a spectrum.
  • Update the curriculum to include informed discussions of anti-Black racism, 2SLGBTQIA+ prejudice, and all forms of discrimination across subject areas.
  • Restore funding for the Indigenous curriculum program and work with Indigenous educators and community leaders to develop a mandatory curriculum on colonialism and residential schools, treaties, and Indigenous histories and experiences.

Support children with disabilities

  • Address the growing waitlist for Ontario Autism Program (OAP) core services by building the capacity of autism providers, and funding the OAP to bring families into the program as rapidly as possible.
  • Fund OAP increases every year as inflation and the number of children registered in the program increases. 
  • Establish an ultimate wait time benchmark for diagnosis and access to core services once registered in the program.
  • Work with the federal Government and other provinces in the development of a National Autism Strategy to develop standards and a funding model to provide supports and services for autistic people of all ages.
  • Provide educators multi-discipline training to help them address student sensory and behavioural issues and adopt teaching strategies that support students with a wide spectrum of accommodation needs.
  • Build on the work done with the OAP toward a new Ontario Disability Support Program that would provide funding for therapeutic and respite services and supports for people with all disabilities, beginning with children and youth.

Improve access to and equity in post-secondary education

  • Immediately reverse the Ford government’s cuts to OSAP by converting loans to grants for low and middle income students and eliminating interest charges on student debt.
  • Index the base operating grant for Ontario’s post-secondary institutions to the weighted national average, followed by inflationary increases year ­to­ year. 
  • Replace the faulty performance-based university funding model and restore the more stable and equitable enrolment-based funding model.
  • Ensure consistent and fair labour standards and working conditions for all faculty, including contract faculty. Remove wage constraints and pay equal wages for equal work.
  • Develop province-wide, culturally relevant, trauma-informed and survivor-centric standards for sexual and gender-based violence on post-secondary campuses in consultation with experts, frontline workers, students and survivors.

Truth and Reconciliation

As Leader of the Ontario Greens, I commit to upholding Indigenous rights to self-determination, and to act with real respect for treaty obligations.

Mike Schreiner, Leader, Green Party of Ontario

We need meaningful action toward reconciliation.

The government has a legal and moral obligation to work with Indigenous communities – with full partnership, participation, and respect. 

Reconciliation with Indigenous communities is essential and includes acknowledging the role of traditional knowledge and systems. A key step in this direction will be to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Our plan seeks to acknowledge the reality of Indigenous people in Ontario, including the understanding that centuries of colonialism and broken promises have made building trust difficult.

We want to see the province come to the table with funding for Indigenous-led initiatives in climate leadership, healthcare and housing.

Work in partnership with Indigenous communities

  • Implement UNDRIP to ensure equity for Indigenous peoples.
  • Establish true nation-to-nation relationships with Indigenous peoples. 
  • Recognise First Nations’ right to self-determination and establish a co-management stewardship model for the development of provincial resources with fair revenue sharing.
  • Recognise and integrate Indigenous laws and legal traditions in the negotiation and implementation processes involving treaties, land claims, and other constructive agreements.
  • Support Indigenous land defenders in asserting their treaty rights and actions taken to confront threats to their traditional lands.

Address the legacy of colonialism and residential schools

  • Work with the federal government to implement the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a statutory holiday.
  • Restore funding for the Indigenous curriculum program and work with Indigenous educators and community leaders to develop a mandatory curriculum on colonialism and residential schools, treaties, and Indigenous histories and experiences. 
  • Work with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation to identify, collect, and provide copies of all rec­ords relevant to the history and legacy of the residential school system in Ontario.
  • Reform child welfare and protection services to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in provincial care by ensuring Indigenous communities are served by Indigenous-led providers. Produce annual reports on the number and proportion of Indigenous children who are in care.

Fix the healthcare gap

  • Work with the federal government and Indigenous communities to identify and close the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
  • Increase the number of Indigenous professionals working in healthcare through training and mentorship opportunities and ensure their retention in Indigenous communities, particularly in northern and remote communities. 
  • Increase the number of Indigenous-led health centres, youth programming, crisis support teams, and support suicide-prevention training.
  • Provide properly funded Indigenous-led supports for survivors of residential school trauma.
  • Publish annual progress reports and assess long-term trends and indicators in areas such as suicide, mental health, chronic diseases, and availability of appropriate health services to ensure equity in access to care.

Fund an Indigenous-led housing strategy

  • Fund 22,000 Indigenous-owned and operated permanent homes under an Urban and Rural Indigenous Housing Strategy. The strategy and implementation would be led by Indigenous communities to create homes for Indigenous peoples living in Ontario.

Support community rights to a healthy environment

  • Work with the federal government to immediately end all boil water advisories. 
  • Work to repair the damage at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong;
    • Pursue government commitments to clean up mercury contamination and ensure free, informed and prior consent for Grassy Narrows, Wabaseemoong communities, and all other Indigenous communities for future industrial decisions; 
    • Provide evidence-based assessments in line with the recommendations from the Mercury Disability Board Expert Panel to ensure fair compensation is received by those who qualify.
  • Restore provincial funding for source water protection and expand drinking water source protection to Northern, remote and Indigenous communities.
  • Provide adequate funding and training opportunities for a First Nations Water Authority to own and operate their own water and wastewater utilities to work toward finally ending boil water advisories.
  • Provide $1B in funding for Indigenous climate leadership including Indigenous protected and conserved areas, in which Indigenous governments play the primary role in protecting and conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems.

An equitable Ontario

We have a lot of work to do to build the Ontario we want, where your gender or the colour of your skin does not create barriers to the quality of life you want to live.

Nira Dookeran, GPO candidate

We’ve made tremendous strides, but there is still work to be done to make Ontario a place where everyone belongs. Still today, racialized communities, women, 2SLGBTQIA+  individuals, and people with disabilities face disproportionately more barriers in accessing quality health care, economic opportunities, and within the justice system.

Inequity has many faces. It comes in the form of unconscious bias and overt racism, gender based gaps in pay and opportunity, and neglect of those that must deal with physical and neurodiverse challenges.

Ontario Greens are committed to building a more accessible and equitable Ontario. We have a lot of work ahead of us if we want to create a common future that is fair, just and caring.

Improve quality of life for people living with a disability

  • Double Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) rates as a first step to implementing a Basic Income, and tie future increases to inflation. 
  • Evaluate and improve the Assistive Devices Program to better meet the needs of those requiring assistive tools, including more up-to-date devices, training, and fewer barriers to access. 
  • Ensure that new affordable housing stock is accessible, and require affordable housing retrofits to meet the same standards. 
  • Review all Ontario laws for accessibility barriers and ensure that all future funding and policy choices are made through an accessibility lens. 
  • Update, improve and implement the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act as quickly as possible.

Prioritise gender equity

  • Work with the federal government to ensure continued funding for universal access to high-quality, $10-a-day childcare in all communities so women have more opportunity to re-enter the workforce.
  • Provide Early Childcare Educators, more than 95% of whom are women, with a fair wage of at least $25 per hour. 
  • Immediately revoke Bill 124 to allow healthcare workers, including nurses (91% of whom are women), to negotiate fairly for the wage increases they deserve. 
  • Implement the Pay Transparency Act.
  • Require that public corporations’ boards and executive level positions have an adequate proportion of women represented, with a goal to achieve gender parity. 
  • Apply a gender-based analysis to all government legislation and programming to advise on how gender equity can be better achieved.
  • Support survivors of gender-based violence by increasing funding for Sexual Assault Centres, emergency shelters, transitional housing, and legal supports.

Fight to eradicate systemic racism

  • Fully fund the Anti­-Racism Directorate, reversing the recent cuts. 
  • Require anti-racism and anti-oppression training for all public sector employees and legislators.
  • Require the Ontario Public Service to commit to eliminate racism and discrimination, conduct random external audits, data collection and reporting, and establish a safe harassment and discrimination reporting system for staff.
  • Pass the Our London Family Act to change the way we address Islamophobia in Ontario.
  • Ensure Indigenous communities are served by Indigenous-led child welfare providers to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in provincial care.
  • Address the overrepresentation of Black children in provincial care by the development of frameworks to provide culturally appropriate services to Black children, youth and families. Identify and address existing standards and structures that continue to harm Black families.
  • Provide annual reports on the number and proportion of Black and Indigenous children who are in care, and establish an independent office to investigate claims of unfair treatment by case workers called in to assess a child’s circumstances.

Support and improve rights for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities

  • Create a comprehensive strategy to ensure equitable, inclusive and affirming access to care and treatment for 2SLGBTQIA+ communities within our healthcare system and long-term care.
  • Expand and improve access to provincially funded healthcare services for 2SLGBTQIA+ Ontarians, including gender affirming procedures and transition medications.
  • Dedicate resources and funding to directly support 2SLGBTQIA+ youth groups.
    Mandate standards to have safe, accessible, all-gender washrooms in all public spaces in Ontario.

Address discrimination in our justice system

  • Ban the practice of carding and delete existing data that has been collected from carding in the past. 
  • Reform 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.
  • Acknowledge and commit to addressing the disproportionately violent and discriminatory law enforcement experienced by Indigenous, Black and racialised people. 
  • Decriminalise drug use, expand safe consumption sites, and shift funding from the justice system to healthcare.
  • Develop a 3 digit dedicated crisis response line and health-focused crisis response teams to respond to mental health and substance related calls.
  • Ensure that court mental health workers are available in all regions of Ontario to divert more individuals living with a mental health issue and/or substance use concern out of the justice system and into mental health and addictions services and supports.
  • Restore adequate funding to Legal Aid by boosting their base budget and develop a long-term, structurally stable funding plan.
  • Immediately appoint more full-time, qualified, and competent adjudicators to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to ensure timely and effective case hearings.

Equity through language access

  • Restore the independent office of the French Language Services Commissioner.
  • Support the University of Sudbury in becoming a northern university by and for Francophones.
  • Ensure that interpreters, translators, or multilingual written materials are available in publicly funded services. Improve awareness of their availability.
  • Ensure all government announcements are signed in both ASL and LSQ.
  • Provide tools for nonprofits to have french language resources.
  • Create incentives to increase the number of french-speaking individuals in teachers college programs.

Respect workers and increase economic security

We can’t afford to wait to treat workers with the respect they deserve, including paid sick days and fair wages.

Syam Chandra, GPO candidate

The pandemic has reminded us who keeps our cities running during dark times. Decent wages, paid sick days and safe workplaces must be the standard, especially as life is getting less and less affordable for people in Ontario. 

We can’t afford to wait to treat workers with the respect they deserve, including paid sick days and fair wages.

We’re also on the cusp of a major transformation in the world of work. The rising number of people in the gig economy deserve the same rights and protections as other workers.

Ontario Greens believe in treating people with dignity and fairness. This is one reason we support immediate increases in social assistance as the first step towards a Basic Income Guarantee that will provide economic security and resilience.

Improve workers’ rights and wages

  • Increase the floor of the minimum wage each year by $1, starting at $16 in 2022, with a top-up in cities where the cost of living is higher.
  • Increase the number of provincially-legislated paid sick days from three to ten, and provide small businesses financial support to fund the program.
  • Ban employers from requiring a sick note from a medical practitioner when an employee is ill.
  • Restore and improve workers’ rights to collective bargaining and immediately repeal Bill 124 and  the problematic sections of Bill 106.
  • Provide all workers with full and equal access to employment rights and benefits programs like EI, CPP, and WSIB, as well as equal pay for equal work, regardless of whether the employee is permanent, part-time, temporary, or casual.
  • Immediately end the practice of deeming whereby the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) unfairly cuts benefits for workers.
  • Review the Pension Benefits Act to ensure 100% coverage of defined benefit pensions by the Pension Benefit Guarantee Fund in an involuntary pension plan wind up.

Strengthen rights and protections for gig and temp workers

  • Implement a “Gig Workers’ Bill of Rights,” including, but not limited to, the following: 
    • To protect gig workers and end the misclassification of employees, enact a presumption of employee status and the ABC test under the Employment Standards Act.
    • Ensure payment for all hours of work, from app sign-in until sign-out, with a clear and concise breakdown of how pay is calculated.
    • Ensure gig workers real wages are not reduced below the minimum wage by compensating for necessary work related expenses. 
    • Make gig work count towards Permanent Residency applications.
  • Close the loopholes that can lead to precarious work, including stricter regulations relating to the temp agency industry.
    • Mandate that temp agency workers earn the same as directly hired workers when they do the same work, and that temp workers must become full hired employees after three months.
  • Develop a program of portable extended health benefits for workers in the gig economy, retail and hospitality sectors that is tied to the employee even if they were to change employment.

Measure economic progress and wellbeing with evidence-based data

  • Replace the GDP as the key metric of government success with an Index of Wellbeing to better measure societal progress, economic and environmental wellbeing, and people’s quality of life. This system will help to inform government spending and programming.

Implement a Basic Income and end poverty

  • Phase in a Basic Income, with the first step being to double ODSP and OW rates and reduce aggressive clawbacks.
    • Eliminate any unnecessary red tape, reporting requirements, and other barriers typically faced by those needing financial support. 
    • Maintain all existing supplementary supports that are available with current income assistance programs.
  • Include meaningful consultation with people who have lived experience with poverty and existing social assistance programs in the design of all programs and services aimed at client-centred approaches for reducing poverty.
  • Annually report disaggregated data on the proportion of the population that experiences chronic homelessness, unmet health needs, food insecurity, lack of literacy, and low-paid work.
  • Prohibit “payday” lending that takes advantage of those facing financial hardship as a violation of anti-racketeering laws, and work with credit unions to develop a low-cost, small loan alternative to help people get out of debt.