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What exactly did the Liberals and NDP agree to?

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The federal Liberals have agreed to prioritize specific policy issues backed by the New Democrats in exchange for their support keeping the government in power until 2025.

Both sides have agreed to allow “healthy debate” in Parliament while constantly communicating, including in quarterly leaders’ meetings and monthly “take-stock” meetings, to ensure they stay on the same page. The parties are free to walk away from the agreement if commitments aren’t met.

Here’s a closer look at measures the two sides have promised to advance:

Health care

At the top of the list is a long-standing NDP election campaign promise: a new dental care program for low-income Canadians. The plan would be limited to under 12-year-olds in 2022, and expanded to under 18-year-olds, seniors and those living with a disability next year. By 2025, it would be available to all Canadian families with incomes of less than $90,000 annually, with no co-pays for anyone earning less than $70,000 in annual income.

Also under the bracket of health-care priorities is a national pharmacare program to be implemented by 2023. It would task the National Drug Agency with developing a national formulary of essential medicines and a bulk purchasing plan by the end of their confidence agreement.

The agreement outlines the need for more primary care doctors and nurses, mental health supports, and data-gathering capabilities, all of which the parties will work with the provinces and territories on. They will also table a Safe Long-Term Care Act to improve seniors’ care nationally.

Housing and affordability

On housing, the agreement would see the Rapid Housing Initiative extended for another year, as well as a revisiting of the definition of affordable housing, and enhanced efforts to launch the Housing Accelerator Fund.

The two sides have committed to move forward on a Liberal election campaign promise to implement a Homebuyer’s Bill of Rights by the end of 2023, aimed at making the process of buying a home more open and transparent. A $500 one-time top-up to the Canadian Housing Benefit would also be implemented in 2022, with the promise of being renewed in the future.

Climate change

The two parties are pledging to advance measures to reduce emissions by 2030 and have recommitted the government to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050. Meanwhile, steps will be taken in 2022 to move forward on the creation of the Clean Jobs Training Centre, another Liberal campaign promise, to help industrial and trade workers develop new skills in a zero-carbon industry.

Unsurprisingly, both sides have doubled down on their longstanding promises to phase out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including Crown corporations, starting in 2022. Likewise, they are committing to move forward on home energy efficiency programs, noting that a key component will be creating Canadian supply chains and making sure jobs stay in the country.

Sick leave

On sick leave, the parties have agree to ensure that 10 days paid sick leave for all federally-regulated workers starts as soon as possible. They’ll also introduce legislation, by the end of 2023, to ban the use of replacement workers when a union employer has locked out employees or is in the midst of a strike.

Reconciliation

The parties are pledging to boost spending on Indigenous housing in 2022, giving the power to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities to decide how investments are designed and delivered.

They’ve also committed to accelerate the implementation of the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People with Indigenous partners, which aims to end violence directed at these groups.

The agreement outlines an objective to provide the necessary support for communities who wish to continue the work of burial searches at sites of former residential schools.

Tax fairness

While light on details, the parties will move forward “in the near term” on tax changes targeting financial institutions that have profited during the pandemic. By the end of 2023, they’ll also implement a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry to boost Canada’s efforts to combat money laundering and other financial crimes.

Electoral participation

Calling it a shared commitment to maintain the health of Canada’s democracy, the parties will explore ways to expand voting participation including through extending “Election Day” to span three days, allowing people to vote at any polling place within their electoral district, and improving the process of mail-in ballots.

Under this chapter, they’ve agreed to ensure that Quebec’s number of seats in the House of Commons remains constant.

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