Jobs

Our Green vision is of a modern, sustainable, prosperous economy powered by vibrant local businesses and communities.

Our vision is about making choices that generate and sustain us in a way that benefits everyone. We can take advantage of the opportunities around us to transition our economy to one that is efficient and sustainable, based on principles of fairness and resilience, with respect for people, communities and the climate.

The economy is not a stand alone system. We depend on the world around us to create the wealth, goods and services that provide us with our standard of living. We must take into consideration not only what we create, but what we leave behind.

Our Green vision for Ontario points us in the direction of a sustainable, renewable and equitable Ontario economy.

STRATEGY A

Build and Support a Strong Green Workforce

Ontario desperately needs a bold plan to create jobs for the 21st century. We need to replace the 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade.

Ontario must embrace the clean tech and low carbon economy to create the next generation of green middle class jobs – just as so many industrialized countries, states and provinces are already doing. Already in Canada more people work in renewable energy than in the oilsands. In fact, 274,000 Canadians have cleantech jobs with an average salary of $92,000 per year.

Investing in the clean economy is essential to remain competitive and to create a vibrant green middle class.

We can kick start these industries by building on our robust system of skills development and apprenticeships, and by supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs and makers from all parts of society who will power the new green economy.

POLICIES A

The Green Vision for a strong workforce:

  • Support for a Green Building Program to create jobs while helping homeowners, renters and businesses save money by reducing their energy use. 
  • Implement the most efficient and effective carbon pricing mechanism to create market incentives for low carbon products, services and businesses. 
  • Provide incentives for businesses investing in energy efficient and low carbon equipment, buildings and vehicle fleets.
  • Implement incentives for businesses that participate in training and certification programs in job growth areas such as green building, biomedical technology, renewable energy and sustainable transportation.
  • Redirect existing business support programs to target the scale up of cleantech companies and innovation. Change criteria of business development programs to eliminate supports for proposals that contribute to an increase in Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution.
  • Invest in the most cost effective, flexible, modern renewable energy sources
  • Review government regulations to ensure the regulatory environment does not create barriers to the adoption of green technologies, practices and businesses.
  • Establish government procurement rules with criteria to purchase low carbon products and services.
  • Support public funding of research and development in order to incubate innovation, particularly in clean technology and knowledge services.
  • Establish provincial government procurement rules to support made in Ontario cleantech products to facilitate commercialization of Ontario innovation.
  • Provide incentives to commercialize new clean economy products.
  • Create investment tools, such as Community Bonds for local innovators that are RRSP and TFSA eligible.
  • Support businesses focusing on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profits) by amending the Ontario Business Corporations Act to add provisions authorizing incorporation of benefit corporations.
  • Modernize the Co-operative Corporations Act to reflect current business conditions and to help co-op businesses thrive.
  • Set up a social enterprise foundation to foster the development of triple bottom line businesses. The fund will provide grants and loans for young people in post-secondary education settings and in the workforce to develop their innovative ideas and bring socially impactful products and services to market.
  • Create a non-profit sector workforce development strategy and modernized, stable funding model for the non-profit sector to make operations more efficient.
  • Help new businesses scale up and sustain their growth by supporting the development of new programs that help foster ‘intra-preneurial’ skills encouraging and developing new ideas from within, in a low-risk/high-reward environment.
  • Support small business development opportunities for ‘senior-preneurs’ both online and through existing Regional Innovation Centres across the province.
  • Provide an option for employers to receive up-front subsidies when hiring co-op students as an alternative to the Co-operative Education Tax Credits.
  • Modernize the apprenticeship application process by leveraging the Ontario College Application Service to provide candidates with an electronic, single-entry access to the apprenticeship application and registration process.
  • Expand and invest in apprenticeship and training programs, including incentives for businesses to participate in apprenticeship, mentoring and co-op programs.
  • Reduce the ratio of journey people to apprentices to one to one in order to open more jobs and training opportunities for our youth and workers seeking new career options.
  • Establish a progressive fee schedule based on the earnings opportunities for each trade.
  • Work with manufacturers to support re-tooling the Ontario manufacturing cluster and adapt to powerful new advances, in robotics, 3D materials printing and laser cutting.
  • Use incentives to support the rapid prototyping of new products that will enhance the competitiveness of Ontario manufacturers and attract new business opportunities.
  • Support workers through the implementation of the Basic Income Guarantee (see below), to help people adjust to a fast-changing work environment by upgrading their knowledge.
  • Require Community Benefits Agreements for major infrastructure projects to ensure that public investment brings extensive social and economic benefits, including fair wage jobs, to local communities and businesses.
  • Conduct a census of vulnerable jobs and economic sectors in the transition to a low carbon, clean economy in order to develop strategies to help those workers and businesses successfully transition to the new economy.
  • Develop a strategy to ensure that the transition to a low carbon, clean economy benefits workers through retraining, living wages, benefits plans and career opportunities.
  • Implement border adjustments for carbon pricing to create an even playing field for energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries and their workers.
  • Establish an Ontario Youth Green Corps to provide summer job experience and foster a culture of stewardship and enterprise in the next generation of young Ontarians, helping young people learn job skills, introducing them to rewarding careers in trades, and fostering leadership.
  • Offer meaningful incentives for businesses involved with green retrofit, reforestation, and other forms of green economic activity to provide Ontario youth with valuable job experience.
  • Provide support for young entrepreneurs to start green businesses through online entrepreneurial courses, business modelling workshops and start up capital.
  • Implement a Well-being Measurements Act to identify indicators of the economic, social and environmental well-being of people, communities and ecosystems in Ontario.
  • Develop a provincial inventory of mining resources to measure the availability of our natural wealth and track the depletion of our natural assets.
  • Continuously update the provincial soil database to better track and protect the province’s prime farmland, a critical economic resource.

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STRATEGY B

Unleash the Power of Local Businesses and Communities

Local businesses are an essential part of building vibrant, livable communities: the stores, shops and services that bring main streets to life; the job creators that generate prosperity; the innovators who create new products, services and solutions.

The Green Party believes that to sustain vibrant communities we must open up more opportunities for small business to thrive.

We will do this by making it easier for small business to pay a living wage and create jobs by lowering the payroll taxes they pay — regardless of whether they make a profit or not.

We will do this by supporting local food and farmers and expanding local markets for products such as the craft beer industry, which right now faces restrictions on where they can bring their products – which are in high demand – to market.

We will do this by creating an environment for small businesses and local farmers that understands their needs are different from those of big business.

POLICIES B

The Green Vision to support local economies:

  • Increase the exemption level for the Employer Health Tax, providing small businesses and non-profits with immediate cash flow savings.
  • Implement smart regulations that create a level playing field for all businesses, ensuring safety while taking into account the size and scale of operations, allowing local businesses to compete fairly.
  • Scrap the tax credit landlords receive for letting empty storefronts linger, undermining the economic vitality of commercial and retail areas.
  • Allow realtors to incorporate like other independent contractors and businesses.
  • Increase access to high speed internet in all parts of the province.
  • Reform business development support programs to create more dedicated funding opportunities for small businesses and to streamline the application process for small businesses.
  • Offer discounted surplus electricity to local Ontario businesses first, before exporting to other jurisdictions at a loss.
  • Allow craft brewers and distillers to open Craft Beer Stores or Local Craft Liquor Stores much like the Wine Rack so that craft brewers and distillers don’t have to compete with larger national brands and foreign producers and pay listing fees in stores owned by their competitors.
  • Allow craft brewers to form distribution co-ops to make the wholesale distribution of local craft beer more efficient and affordable.
  • Regulate and license local businesses, local farmers, and Indigenous entrepreneurial groups in opening retail cannabis stores, creating local jobs and contributing tax dollars to local communities across the province.
  • Dedicate a portion of the provincial revenue from the cannabis excise tax to municipalities and to programs and services for mental health and addictions.
  • Invest in rural infrastructure, research and innovation, plant-based manufacturing products, distribution hubs, farmer co-ops, organic and specialty crops to support rural job creation and incomes.
  • Invest in better broadband infrastructure for rural and remote communities.
  • Reward farmers for stewardship practices that provide environmental and community benefits such as clean water, habitat preservation, soil health and carbon storage.
  • Eliminate tax penalties and reduce zoning restrictions to facilitate local, on-farm food enterprises and innovative sources of farm income.
  • Improve income stabilization programs so they are more accessible for family farms, cover a wider range of products and don’t penalize farmers who experience bad years.
  • Set measurable Ontario food purchasing targets for all public institutions.
  • Pass the Organic Products Act, which would establish a standard definition for Organic, so that any producer’s use of the term can be backed up by third-party certification that they use sound organic practices that protect our water and soil.
  • Implement a long-term Organic Growth Strategy that will support transition, small-scale certification, access to organic advisors and capital, and organic research and promotion expansion. Establish an organic check-off program to provide marketing support for organic farmers.
  • Establish an Ontario Food and Farming Policy Council to coordinate planning across ministries and consult diverse stakeholders.
  • Increase funding support for local food and beverage processors to create jobs and support Ontario farmers.
  • Support community based arts and culture programming, and education in our schools.
  • Renew Ontario’s culture strategy every 5 and make the strategy more inclusive of arts and cultural from marginalized groups.
  • Increase support for the Ontario Arts Council, the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund, and Ontario Arts Foundation.
  • Increase support for local food tourism, cultural tourism and cycling tourism.
STRATEGY C

Address Economic Inequality

Income inequality is growing — the richest Canadians keep getting richer, but the rest of us stay the same or see our incomes decline while the cost of living increases. It is getting harder to make ends meet.

In today’s rapidly changing social, work and economic environment we must work even harder to level the playing field. This includes both providing economic tools and opportunities that help people thrive in their communities.

A Basic Income Guarantee will do more than alleviate poverty. It will eliminate the red tape people in poverty experience navigating a complex set of services. And it will provide basic economic security to help low income entrepreneurs start new businesses.

As we take this journey together, we owe it to each other to improve the systems we have. We recognize that the system we now have keeps people poor and encourages a revolving door for available supports. The Green Party will repair the damaged system we inherit while we work together with Ontarians on a system that works, a system that treats people with dignity.

POLICIES C

The Green Party’s economic vision is to:

  • Provide a benefit rate at 100% of the Low Income Measure as a Basic Income Guarantee for all Ontarians, to provide every person security at times of transition such as going back to school, job loss, or starting a family.
  • Use best practices from the current basic income pilot to support a quick transition to a fully developed basic income program after the completion of the pilot.
  • Improve on the current pilot setting the benefit rate at the Low Income Cut off and by lowering the tax back rate to reduce penalties for increases in employment income.
  • Immediately increase Ontario Disability Support Payment and Ontario Works payments toward rates that match the low income measure to address the inadequacy of current social programs.
  • Extend health benefits (e.g. Assistive Devices Program, Medical Transportation) to cover low income Ontarians outside of the social assistance system. We also support moving towards universal dental care and pharmacare.
  • Increase asset limits for Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Payment recipients, with the amount to be indexed to inflation.
  • Modernize the eligibility requirements for Ontario Works to further empower recipients to find and maintain meaningful work. End the claw back of employment earnings that create a disincentive to work.
  • Ensure that social assistance programs are responsive to the needs of people with mental health and addictions-related disabilities through ensuring eligibility criteria recognizes their illness and that payments are not interrupted during times of transition (e.g. hospitalization, incarceration).
  • Increase the personal income tax exemption for low income individuals.
  • Increase the existing Ontario Child Benefit to help families who live in poverty.
  • Increase funding for licensed child care spaces.
  • Close the loopholes that can lead to precarious work, including stricter regulations relating to the temp agency industry.
  • Recognize the positive role unions have played in the economy, particularly in enhancing safety in the workplace, and encourage opportunities to increase union density.
  • Promote democracy in unions and workplaces, and support the democratic right of unions and workers to be engaged in determining their dues structure.
  • Make OHIP available to all Ontario residents, including migrant and temporary foreign workers, and end the 3 month waiting period so that OHIP is immediately available for these workers who pay taxes to support public health care.
  • Require all company pension plans to be fully funded to meet all their pension obligations in the event of bankruptcy, and to eliminate pension fund deficits within 5 years.
  • Overhaul the workplace insurance regime to ensure workers receive help when they need it the most.
  • Support and incentivize the organizing of freelance workers to join together in associations that allow them to access group benefits

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STRATEGY D

Foster Education for Life

Our vision for our education system is to make bold changes in delivery, to maximize outcomes in the classroom and deliver the best results for our kids.

Education is more than classrooms and report cards. Our education system can realize potential, promote equity, and create opportunities for students.

But the landscape is changing. Students today can expect to have four to six different careers and upwards of twenty different jobs. Working into our 70’s and beyond is becoming more and more common. Many of us will return for lifelong learning opportunities along the way.

We also must recognize that education doesn’t stop at 18 or 25. The changing nature of work will require many of us to upgrade skills or learn new ones throughout our lives. The province can help by supporting programs for continuing education.

POLICIES D

The Green vision for education:

  • Address the current $612 per pupil funding gap between elementary and secondary students.
  • Help deliver front-line children’s services by increasing funding for school counsellors, specialist teachers, psychologists, behavioural counsellors, social workers, librarians, speech language pathologists and educational assistants so that students have greater access to services and shorter wait times.
  • Establish a comprehensive evidence-based review of the education funding formula every five years to determine its effectiveness in supporting high quality public education.
  • Conduct an independent, external review of the statistical model used for funding special education, to evaluate its effectiveness in meeting actual student needs.
  • Increase support for special education funding to school boards to address the challenge of meeting the needs of children with learning exceptionalities and mental health issues.
  • Eliminate standardized testing (EQAO), which is expensive to implement and wastes valuable resources.
  • Ensure the average class size of grades 4 to 8 does not exceed 22 students, the current average class size for secondary students.
  • Continue to reduce Kindergarten class size beyond 2018-2019 through a systematic and sustained application of class size caps that bring Kindergarten class sizes in line with other primary grades.
  • Engage education, health and other experts to develop an effective plan for ensuring a sufficient amount of physical activity, based on evidence from research.
  • In consultation with all stakeholders, integrate the public and separate school boards. This will address fairness and human rights concerns, end duplication, and strengthen the classroom experience for students and teachers by streamlining the delivery of services and reinvesting that money where it counts – in the classroom.
  • Stop closing local schools until clear guidelines are developed on when a school should close its doors. A school should be exempt from closure if it can demonstrate that it meets a minimum viability threshold—we propose that a school with over 60% enrolment that is not in disrepair should be exempt from closure.
  • Ensure equitable educational access, experiences, and opportunities for all students, and equity in staff employment, transfer, and promotion.
  • Support and enable students, families, teachers and communities to play a role in building a culture of equity at school.
  • Provide professional learning on equity, anti-racism, and Indigenous issues, including the history of Residential Schools, Treaties, and Indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada.
  • Require school boards to collect race-based data, which will enhance the incorporation of race equity elements during the development of all education programs.
  • Keep more rural schools open by ensuring the funding formula reflects the important role of schools in rural communities.
  • Expand the Urban and Priority High Schools program (UPHS), which provides additional funding to high schools in urban low socioeconomic status communities.
  • Make sure systems are in place to address school incidents and complaints with a real and meaningful action plan, ensuring the safety of students, teachers and staff, and fostering an environment free from violence, harassment, bullying and discrimination.
  • Enshrine the right of students to create a well-being club or committee in their school.
  • Increase funding of guidance counsellors, and require equity training and suicide intervention skills training.
  • Fund nutrition programs to promote learning readiness, and improve student health and ensure that every school has a food program accessible to all students.
  • Support teachers’ right to free and fair bargaining, because the success of our children depends on the quality and well-being of our teachers.
  • Provide greater access to mental health services for students within the education system by increasing the availability of school counselors, psychologists, behavioral scientists and social workers.
  • Improve the level of integration of social services within education, including embedding mental health services into education and greater collaboration across ministries.
  • Fund community developed educational programs to address achievement gaps in school boards across Ontario. Included in these programs would be the requirement for programs with an intersectional lens addressing racism, sexism, homophobia, and other oppressions.
  • Require all new elementary schools to include childcare spaces, be that all day or before- and after-school care facilities.
  • Offer students more opportunities for experiential learning by continuing the previous funding announced to the Career Kick-Start Strategy and Career Ready Fund, and tracking progress.
  • Properly fund higher education with public subsidies, eventually guaranteeing fully public tuition for all Ontario residents attending public colleges, trade institutions, and universities (not including graduate and post-graduate studies), and index the base operating grant provided to post secondary institutions to the weighted national average, followed by inflationary increases year-to-year.
  • Continue to regulate tuition fees by indexing any increases to Ontario’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). In addition, freeze tuition within each cohort. This way the tuition rate of a student entering in his/her first year of a 3 or 4 year undergraduate program would remain frozen for the following 2 or 3 years.
  • Work towards a standard contract minimum of 3 courses per semester for adjunct/casual/contract professors to avoid precarity of employment in colleges and universities.
  • Provide supports for racialized groups, LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities in colleges and universities.
  • Increase access to gender and culturally-sensitive mental health services and supports that are timely, effective and flexible, and provided in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Increased funding and resources for food security programs available for postsecondary institutions to supplement mental health and poverty reduction efforts.
  • Provide interest-free student loans for students with financial needs.
  • Support people in transition through the implementation of the Basic Income Guarantee (see Jobs section), to help people adjust to a fast changing work environment by upgrading their knowledge, and supporting skills development and lifelong learning.
  • Support adult education provided by local and non-profit organizations that seek to address a skill gap present in the local community, to assist individuals in kick starting their own small enterprises, or to transition between jobs/careers.
  • Enhance funding for adult education and online digital learning tools by providing additional financial support so that ability to pay is not an impediment to people building their skills.
  • Explore avenues to allow seniors to participate in post secondary education at a reduced cost.

Explore the rest of our Green Vision for People Powered Change in Ontario.

Our goal is to build on the work people like you are already doing in your community, working to make positive change, overcoming social barriers and improving the health of each other and our planet.

Working together, we can build a future for our province that is good for us now and for generations to come.

Green Vision PDF