1. If your party forms government, what will it do to decrease food insecurity in Canada?
The NDP believes that all Canadians should have access to nutritious, culturally- appropriate food. An NDP government would make this a reality by creating a National Food Policy that is developed in true collaboration with farmers and food producers so that it makes our food systems stronger across the country.
To address Canada’s unacceptable ranking by UNICEF of 37 out of 41 for children’s access to nutritious food, the NDP will also partner with provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous communities to create a national school nutrition program to bring Canada in line with our peers around the world. This program will give every child in Canada access to healthy, culturally-appropriate food and food literacy skills for life.
An NDP government will also support local food systems by connecting Canadians to farmers with initiatives like local food hubs, community supported agriculture, and networks to increase the amount of food that is sold, processed, and consumed in local and regional markets.
2. If your party forms government, what will it do to move Canada towards its goal of decreasing poverty by 50% by 2030?
Reaching our goal of reducing poverty by 50 percent by 2030 – and ultimately eradicating poverty – means we have to take bold action to address the areas where Canadians are struggling most. The NDP has advocated strongly for better services that save Canadian households money – like a universal public pharmacare program, affordable housing, and universal public child care.
With many Canadians facing impossible choices between affording life-saving medication and making their sky-rocketing rent and child care payments, we need a comprehensive approach to these intersecting experiences of income insecurity.
While the NDP has supported the Liberal government’s Poverty Reduction Act, they have failed to be bold enough in their action on poverty – particularly by failing to invest in new funds and programs, and through their use of the Market Basket Measure as the official poverty line, which does not reflect the reality of poverty in the country.
An NDP government would fight poverty by allocating new funds, implementing new programs, improving existing programs, and revising the timetable to meet our 50 percent goal within 5 years. This would include using the Low Income Measure to allow for international comparisons on poverty rates; expanding access to public transit in communities across the country and working with municipalities towards fare-free transit; making sure that Canadians can find an affordable place to call home, no matter where they live; setting a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour to set a national standard for workers; tackling the racialized and gendered wage gap with immediate pro-active pay equity legislation and regulations; protecting defined benefit pensions and strengthening public pensions; and overhauling and improving access to Employment Insurance.
The NDP believes in prioritizing the most marginalized communities – women, persons living with disabilities, Indigenous peoples – in anti-poverty efforts, implementing income tax changes to allow for better and more equitable redistribution, and amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to include “social condition” to address and end socio-economic discrimination.
The NDP also believes it is time for a national basic income pilot project to continue the important work started by the Ontario pilot which was cut short by the Ford government. This pilot will give us the opportunity to gather data about successful approaches to tackling income precarity.
3. Is your party in favour of increasing existing refundable tax credits, such as the Canada Workers Benefit, and/or making some non-refundable tax credits, such as the Disability Tax Credit, refundable?
New Democrats believe that our tax system has benefited the richest people and corporations at the expense of everyday Canadians for too long. That’s why we will make sure that the wealthiest pay their fair share into the programs and services that all Canadians rely on. Universal pharmacare, childcare and the expansion of health services to cover all Canadians from head to toe will make life easier for Canadians struggling to get ahead.
An NDP government will also launch a full review of income security programs to ensure that they are adequately serving the communities most affected by poverty, including persons with disabilities, and expand and improve access to Employment Insurance for seasonal and precarious workers, and extend sickness benefits to 50 weeks of coverage.
Additionally, knowing that poverty and food insecurity disproportionately impact women – who are also more likely to be caregivers for loved ones, the NDP will make the Canada Caregiver Tax Credit refundable, providing thousands of dollars to the most low-income caregivers, many of whom have had to leave work to provide care to a family member.
4. How does your party propose to increase access to healthy food in Northern and Indigenous communities?
Indigenous food sovereignty is a key piece of the NDP’s vision. An NDP government would work in partnership with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities to expand access to healthy food, including traditional and country foods and work together with northern communities to reform the Nutrition North program so that it works for families in the north.
The New Democrats are committed to working to close the health gap for Indigenous communities – and these means ending the high rates of food insecurity in many Northern Indigenous communities through tools like a National Food Policy and national school nutrition program.
5. How does your party propose to increase healthy eating in Canada?
The NDP believes that supporting our local food systems is essential to ensuring that Canadians have access to healthy, affordable food. We’ll work to connect Canadians to farmers with initiatives like local food hubs, community supported agriculture, and networks to increase the amount of food that is sold, processed, and consumed in local and regional markets.
The NDP vision for a National Food Policy includes helping Canadians choose products that are healthier for them. We will also work with the provinces, territories and Indigenous governments to put in place a national school nutrition program, we will make sure that food literacy is taught early, and that every child has access to the food they need to grow and learn.