Ontario NDP leader outlines promises at CK stop

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath visits Charing Cross. (Photo by Paul Pedro) May 13, 2022.

The leader of the Ontario New Democrats is promising better home care and a property tax deferral for seniors to allow them to stay at home longer.

During a visit to a backyard in Charing Cross on Friday, Andrea Horwath said an NDP government would invest an extra $1 billion to expand home care services. Horwath said if she becomes Premier, she will add 10,000 Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and 30,000 nurses. She added the PSWs would get a $5 per hour pay raise.

She also said she will make sure the home care money will go toward a maximum level of care and not the bottom line of for-profit providers.

“The private companies get to determine what level of care the clients or the patients receive. So, if the company is deciding what level of care and then they’re also making money on the provision of the care, seems to be a bit of a conflict there,” said Horwath.

Under the tax deferral program, Horwath said seniors could choose to have the province pay their property taxes and reimburse the province when they sell their house. She said it’s not a reverse mortgage because the loan comes with low interest and reverse mortgages have heavy interest payments and can be financially burdensome.

“Not at all a reverse mortgage. It is to provide people with a little bit of extra breathing room when it comes to the cost of their property taxes and in some cases that’s the very barrier that people have to be able to financially manage to stay in their own home,” she said.

Horwath also said if a resident dies before repaying their deferred taxes, their estate would deal with the repayment.

Horwath was also asked about disappointment with her promise to hike the Ontario Disability Support Program by 20 per cent. Economist Mike Moffatt recently looked into the ODSP promises of the PCs, Liberals, and NDP and found that each would result in ODSP rates that are lower in adjusted dollars than what ODSP recipients got under the Mike Harris government. Horwath said people on disability will be very happy when her fully costed platform comes out.

Horwath also promised more provincial statutory holidays, starting with the Day of Truth and Reconciliation, and a pilot project looking into a four-day work week.