Campaign promises that affect your personal finances

Where the parties stand on taxes, student debt, pensions & more

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We’re in the final week of the federal election campaign and all three major political party leaders have finally unveiled their full campaign platforms. Here’s an overview of what NDP leader Tom Mulcair, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Stephen Harper have promised as it relates to your personal finances. For details on other important election issues and campaign promises that go beyond your pocketbook, visit Vote Canada 2015. Election day is Oct. 19.

Taxes

NDP: Cancel income splitting for families with kids under the age of 18 but keep it for seniors; eliminate the CEO stock option loophole that allows wealthy CEOs to avoid taxes on 50% of income received from cashing in company stock (with proceeds invested into eliminating child poverty); increase investment in the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) by 15% to further support working Canadians who live below the poverty line; introduce income averaging for artists.

Liberals: Cut the middle income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5% for Canadians earning between $44,700 and $89,401 a year, amounting to savings of $670 a year (or $1,340 for a two-income household); create a new tax bracket of 33% for those earning $200,000 a year or more; reduce Employment Insurance (EI) premiums to $1.65 per $100; have the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) contact people who have tax benefits but aren’t collecting them; cancel income splitting for families but keep it for seniors.

Conservatives: Introduce a “tax lock” plan to prohibit federal income tax and sales tax hikes along with increases to payroll taxes such as EI premiums for the next four years; cut EI premiums in 2017 from $1.88 to $1.49 per $100; phase in a new $2,000 Single Seniors Tax Credit, providing tax relief of up to $300 a year for seniors with pensions starting in January 2017; increase the Child Care Expense Deduction by $1,000 for children under age 7 to $8,000, to $5,000 for kids ages 7 to 16 and to $11,000 for children with disabilities.

Student Debt

NDP: Phase out interest on all federal student loans over the next seven years, saving students up to $4,000 in interest costs and boost funding for the Canada Student Grants program for low- and middle-income students and/or students with dependents by $250 million over four years.

Liberals: Increase the maximum Canada Student Grant to $3,000 per year for full-time students and to $1,800 per year for part-time students; increase the income thresholds for Canada Student Grant eligibility, giving more students access to the program; cancel existing textbook tax credits; eliminate the need for graduates to repay their student loans until they are earning at least $25,000 per year; invest $50 million in additional annual support to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for Indigenous students attending post-secondary school.

Conservatives: Eliminate the income threshold used to assess the Canada Student Loans Program, so that students who work and earn money while studying won’t be denied access to the program for that reason; reduce the expected parental contribution amount to increase loan accessibility to approximately 92,000 students across Canada; expand the number of low- and middle-income students who are eligible for the Canada Student Grant program by making these grants applicable to short-term, vocational programs; increase the maximum annual grant for low- and middle-income families from $3,500 to $4,000.

Homeownership

NDP: Introduce a green home energy program to help retrofit at least 50,000 homes and apartment buildings making them more efficient and lowering energy bills; create 365,000 affordable housing units across Canada; mandate the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to provide grants and loans to construct at least 10,000 affordable and market rental units, with any revenues to be reinvested back into rental housing supports.

Liberals: Start a new, 10-year investment in social housing infrastructure, prioritizing affordable housing and seniors’ facilities (including building more units and refurbishing existing units); encourage the construction of new rental housing by removing all GST on new capital investments in affordable rental housing; loosening the existing qualification rules for the Home Buyers’ Plan to allow more Canadians affected by sudden and significant life changes to access their RRSP savings for a down payment; review escalating home prices in high-priced markets, including Toronto and Vancouver, and review all policy tools that could keep homeownership within reach for more Canadians.

ConservativesEstablish a new, permanent Home Renovation Tax Credit which will allow homeowners a tax credit on up to $5,000 per year on home renovations. Increase the first-time Home Buyers’ Plan from $25,000 to $35,000 per person with a goal of more than 700,000 new homeowners by 2020.


      Play: Romana King talks election promises with 680 News’ Mike Eppel

Child Care

NDP:  Create 1 million new child care spaces over the next eight years and cap their cost at $15 per day; add five weeks of parental leave for the second parent, extending the program to include same-sex couples and adoptive parents; doubling parental leave time for parents of multiples; provide regular EI access to parents who find themselves out of work after taking parental leave.

Liberals: Create a flexible parental benefits plan allowing parents to receive benefits in smaller blocks of time—for example, once every two weeks rather than once per month—and make it possible for parents to take a longer leave—up to 18 months when combined with maternity benefits, although at a lower benefit level; scrap the Universal Child Care Benefit for the wealthiest families, and instead introduce the Canada Child Benefit that will give the majority of families up to $2,500 more, tax-free, every year (typically for a family of four).

Conservatives: Increase parental leave to 18 months, allowing parents to take up to six months of additional unpaid leave; allow self-employed parents to earn money without impacting EI payments; offer choice between full parental leave EI payments for 35 weeks, or extend those payments, at a lesser rate, for up to a maximum of 61 weeks; women receiving EI maternity benefits will also be able to earn employment income under the Working While on Claim pilot project (this is currently permitted for those receiving EI parental benefits).

Saving/Investing

NDP: Reduce the annual Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) contribution limit from $10,000 to $5,500.

Liberals: Cut the TFSA contribution limit from $10,000 to $5,500 annually.

Conservatives: Double the Canada Savings Education Grant (CESG) contribution from 10 to 20 cents for middle-income families and from 20 to 40 cents for low-income families on the first $500 put into Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) each year, amounting to as much as $2,200 more per child in additional grant money.

Retirement/Pensions

NDP: Convene a first ministers’ meeting within six months of taking office to come up with a plan and a timetable for expanding the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans; scrap the Conservatives’ plan to gradually hike the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits to 67 from 65 over six years starting in 2023; boost funding for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by $400 million, a move aimed at lifting 200,000 of Canada’s poorest seniors out of poverty.

Liberals: Restore the eligibility age for OAS and GIS back to 65; introduce a new seniors price index to ensure benefits keep up with rising living costs; introduce a 10% boost to the GIS for single, low-income seniors; leave pension income splitting for seniors intact.

Conservatives: Support a voluntary expansion of CPP retirement benefits funded by workers, not employers.

Consumer Protection

NDP: Update the Consumer Protection Act to cap ATM fees at a maximum of 50 cents per withdrawal; ensure all Canadians have reasonable access to a no-frills credit card with an interest rate no more than 5% over prime; eliminate “pay-to-pay” by banks in which financial institutions charge their customers a fee for making payments on their mortgages, credit cards, or other loans; take action against abusive payday lenders; lower the fees that workers in Canada are forced to pay when sending money to their families abroad; direct the CRTC to crack down on excessive mobile roaming charges; create a Gasoline Ombudsperson to investigate complaints about practices in the gasoline market.

Liberals: The party has not included any specific measures related to consumer protection in its election platform.

Conservatives: Continue push for greater choice and lower fees in the wireless sector; grant the federal Competition Commissioner the authority to investigate the Canada-U.S. “price gap” on consumer goods; banning “pay-to-pay” practices.

What personal finance issue is most important to you this election?

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15 comments on “Campaign promises that affect your personal finances

  1. You missed reporting on the Green Party. They may be small, but they are still a federally elected party that is running in this campaign!

    Reply

    • Not to worry. We all know where Elizabeth stands on economic and fiscal policy. Spend every last cent of our tax dollars on green energy initiatives and then borrow more to do the same. This will lead us down the path we are already experiencing here in Ontario with the highest electricity rates in North America and increases for the foreseeable future.

      Wouldn’t it be grand to have this same ideology imposed federally along with a carbon tax. I am not sure I would be able to survive with increases to vehicle fuel and heating propane along with the skyrocketing cost of electricity.

      You might have to come and put me out of my misery Alison, but then you would be happy to get rid of someone like me I expect.

      CD

      Reply

  2. Harper hasn’t done this in 10 years…would anything change now?
    He has had years to do “everything” he is now promising….maybe he will give senate oatronage positions to the Ford brotgers..God help us.

    Reply

    • Well, let’s see now. He was the one who increased TFSA limits to $10k and both the NDP and Libs want to reduce this back to $5,500 again. I guess you would refer to that as being progressive? Justin says we cannot afford it due to the reduced income tax taken in on non-registered investment income resulting from the increased TFSA limit. No wonder when he wants to start running massive deficits every year over the next four years.

      Every government does not get elected and then do every possible thing within a term. Harper has introduced many changes over the years. As well, the economic landscape changes constantly and so a government has to be agile enough to react to this and introduce changes proactively.

      CD

      Reply

  3. Based on this report, I sure Hope the Conservatives get reelected. Our country is in trouble if they don’t.

    Reply

    • Amen to that

      Reply

  4. Where are the green party promises?

    Reply

    • Not to worry. We all know where Elizabeth stands on economic and fiscal policy. Spend every last cent of our tax dollars on green energy initiatives and then borrow more to do the same. This will lead us down the path we are already experiencing here in Ontario with the highest electricity rates in North America and increases for the foreseeable future.

      Wouldn’t it be grand to have this same ideology imposed federally along with a carbon tax. I am not sure I would be able to survive with increases to vehicle fuel and heating propane along with the skyrocketing cost of electricity.

      You might have to come and put me out of my misery Phil, but then you would be happy to get rid of someone like me I expect.

      CD

      Reply

  5. Looks to me like the NDP policies are most beneficial as they reflect the needs of ALL Canadians – not just a few!

    Reply

    • I suppose so. That is until their carbon tax combined with increased corporate taxes slows our economy to a crawl resulting in high unemployment and a lack of tax revenue coming in. Regardless of what Mulcair said during the election, our economy is natural resource based whether we like it or not, and it is going to take more than one generation to reconstruct it into an economy of another type.

      As well, why do I have to pay for childcare for others when I have decided not to have any children? Do you call this fair? What tax breaks do I get as a working stiff single Canadian? I guess you are saying just pay your taxes and shut up you loser, while laughing at me do doubt.

      CD

      Reply

      • I agree with C . Dillabough, it is not my responsibility to take care of your children. You wanted and had them you take care of them. And what tax breaks are there for the single under $36.000 getting? you tell me what middle income people will receive, but what if were not middle income?

        Reply

  6. Thank you for providing the party platforms and not adding editorial content. Hopefully your readers can for the first time look at the real promises rather than the spin from the parties. Many are confused by the front page attack ads claiming that the Liberal party will increase your taxes $4000. Readers can now see this is a complete lie. The $4000 derives from the Liberal plan to remove the Universal child Benefit and assumes the removal of tax credits that Harper “thinks” the Liberals might remove (which are not part of the Liberal platform). They then conveniently ignore the Liberal plan to reduce the middle income income tax bracket and introduce the Canada Child Benefit. When these changes are taken into account the middle income Canadians will pay less tax not more. We cannot re-elect a Prime Minister who lies outright to fellow Canadians.
    ted in self-serving responses about how to get the most money for oneself, rather than thinking what is best for Canada and for our fellow Canadians?

    Reply

  7. Sounds wonderful – but let’s wait and see.

    Reply

  8. I’m at 58 yr old retired steelworker with a pension of $35000/yr with 15000rsp withdrawal.what is the new liberal gov’t going to do for me

    Reply

  9. PLEASE HELP US DISABLED THAT RECEIVE ODSP PENSIONS AND DISABILITY PENSIONS BECAUSE WE ARE STRUGGLING AND EVERYTHING IS EXPENSIVE IN GODS NAME

    Reply

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