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Bonnie Crombie promises to bring back basic Income pilot program

The policy planks come two weeks before Liberal members vote for the new leader
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie stands on stage with supporters at a rally in Mississauga, Ont. on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, in which she announced her Ontario Liberal Leadership candidacy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally appeared on The Trillium, a new Village Media website devoted exclusively to covering provincial politics at Queen’s Park.

Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Bonnie Crombie's economic plan includes reviving the previous Liberal government's basic income pilot program and gender pay gap law.

The Trillium obtained an advanced copy of her plan.

“I often ask people as I’m travelling around the province if they feel better off after five years living under Doug Ford and the Conservatives. From Kenora to Kanata, Timmins to Toronto, the resounding answer is ‘no’,” says Crombie in a press release that accompanies it. “Rather than a comprehensive, evidence-based, long-term plan to bolster our industries and support small business, Doug Ford and the Conservatives rely on piecemeal strategies and federal subsidies.”

“The Conservatives are driving talent, investments and affordability away from this province. Only Doug Ford’s friends are getting richer. It’s time for us to drive this Conservative government away from Queen’s Park."

Crombie's economic plan has five areas:

  1. Support small businesses and drive regional economic growth
  2. Growing the workforce of tomorrow and supporting our workers today
  3. Leverage clean technology and ensure access to reliable, clean, and affordable energy
  4. Championing Ontario’s brand, jobs, and investments 
  5. Strengthen the social safety net, empower workers, and enhance affordability

Some of the promises overlap with those of the current government and of the previous Liberal one, such as promoting investments in private- and publicly-funded broadband, modernizing regulations, and two-way, all-day frequent and electrified GO Train service, for example.

GO Train service would be expanded to London, Peterborough, Orangeville, and Caledon, specifically, Crombie pledges.

Crombie would also cut the corporate tax rate on manufacturers of zero-emissions technologies "to make Ontario the lowest effective corporate tax rate in North America for cleantech manufacturing," accelerate the rollout of electric-vehicle-charging infrastructure and "reinstate incentives on the purchase or lease of non-luxury electric vehicles."

Like the other candidates, Crombie pledges to repeal Bill 124, the Ford government's wage-restraint bill that limited public sector compensation and has been found unconstitutional by the court, a decision the government is appealing. 

Crombie would also revive the Kaltheen Wynne-era Pay Transparency Act, scrapped by the Ford government, that would have required large employers to track and report compensation gaps based on gender and other characteristics and share it with the province. That bill also would have required companies to include salary ranges in job postings — something the Ford government is now moving forward on. 

Crombie says she'd also adopt a private member's bill tabled by Liberal MPP Stephanie Bowman that would require publicly traded companies to adopt and make public a written policy concerning the director nomination process "that provides for the identification of candidates who belong to one or more of the following groups: women, persons who are Black, Indigenous or racialized, persons with disabilities and persons who are LGBTQ+."

Other promises in the platform are more aspirational than detailed, such as:

  • "Expedite recruitment and retention for early childhood educators to ensure parents can access $10 per day childcare faster;"
  • "Double waste diversion rates, combat plastic pollution and support our circular economy;"
  • "Accelerate Indigenous reconciliation by increasing participation, procurement and economic opportunity for Indigenous people in planning, construction and maintenance of new and existing energy, infrastructure, mining and other relevant projects;"
  • and "Support trade-exposed industries such as auto manufacturing, steel and mining to drive innovation, job creation and community revitalization."

Crombie would also boost the Low-Income Workers and Families Tax Credit and double the current rate of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), increase the Student Nutrition Program funding by 30 per cent, index Ontario Works to inflation, restore Seniors' Home Safety Tax Credit, boost the Guaranteed Annual Income System (GAINS) payment and eligibility, and index the Ontario Electricity Support Program credit amounts, and the income brackets that determine eligibility, to inflation.

The entire plan is expected to be posted on Crombie's website

One of her rivals, Ted Hsu, has also released an economic growth plan, which is available here.