7 Reasons Why Andrea Horwath Wants You To Vote NDP In Ontario's Election

The party wants to introduce a four-day workweek pilot and help first-time homebuyers with their down payments.

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.


This article is a part of a Narcity series breaking down the highlights of what you need to know about where Ontario's Political Party Leaders stand on issues important to millennials. Each leader was contacted by Narcity for comment. You can read more of our coverage of Ontario's 2022 Election here.

The provincial elections are coming up in Ontario, and Andrea Horwath is hoping that you will cast your vote for Ontario's New Democratic Party on June 2.

Narcity spoke with Horwath to hear about what the Ontario NDP plans to do for residents. She shared the key points of the party's platform, from how they'll tackle the housing affordability crisis to what health care benefits they plan to provide.

1. Housing

Horwath shared what the NDP has planned for homeowners and renters in the province, which includes some major plans for first-time homebuyers.

"It includes helping first-time homeowners to get into this out-of-control market by both helping on the financial side with assistance in downpayment, so 10% of the value of the first home will be covered through a Shared Equity Loan that bears no interest and no repayment requirements until you sell or move out of the house, and includes changes to planning and zoning that allow for more missing middle housing to be developed," Horwath told Narcity, and explained this means they would bring on more starter homes into the market at greater volumes.

Another part of their plan will help renters find an apartment or condo in the province.

"So many tenants are being suddenly hit with these massive increases in rent. We're going to bring rent control back to Ontario," Horwath said.

Part of that includes making sure that you'll pay the same rent as the last tenants who rented out your unit. Per the party's platform, the NDP plans to create a portable housing benefit to help over 300,000 households pay their rent and cover costs for other necessities that they can't afford.

2. Minimum wage

When it comes to minimum wage, Horwath said that they will bump the rates up to $20 an hour by the end of their four-year term in 2026. But, the raise will start immediately in the fall when it will go up to $16 per hour, Horwath said.

On top of this, the Ontario NDP plans to introduce a four-day workweek pilot project to Ontario that will be implemented for one year for some of Ontario's workers. They also plan to legislate 10 permanent personal emergency leave days for everyone and extend the Staycation tax credit for another two years.

"We're definitely going to be taking some stress off of people's pocketbooks on a number of fronts," Horwath said and brought up the issue that some Ontarians can't pay for their car insurance anymore.

"They can't pay their insurance bills. That and of course, depending on where they live, it's even worse."

Horwath explained that they plan to end postal code discrimination so nobody is paying more for their bills because of where they live in the province.

"Once our plan is in place, and our plan is to reduce auto insurance rates by 40%, that will save $660 on average a year for a person that drives a car and is insured," Horwath said and added those in Brampton could see savings upwards of $2,000.

3. COVID-19 policies

The Ontario NDPs have a few plans for how they will deal with COVID-19 and any other future pandemics that the province could face.

Horwath said that the NDP will launch a full public inquiry to see what went right, what went wrong, and what they could do better next time Ontario sees itself in this position so they can make sure they are prepared.

But on top of that, Horwath wants to tackle the province's "massively underfunded health care system."

"Hospital budgets were squeezed, beds were closed, and that's got to be reversed. So our plan not only includes doing that homework around the public inquiry, but getting rid of Bill 124 which is the low wage policy, funding our hospitals properly, [and] making sure we're recruiting, retaining, and returning some of the health care workers that have fled their profession because they were burnt out," Horwath said.

4. Climate change

On the topic of climate change, Horwath explained that they will implement a retrofit plan that will make sure anything that's built meets energy efficiency standards. The Green New Democratic deal will also create thousands upon thousands of jobs, Horwath said, so when the province transitions to a net-zero economy, Ontarians can have well-paying jobs that can pay the bills.

"It's a plan that we call Our Plan for Climate, Jobs and Justice because [...] we need to tackle the climate crisis in partnership with Indigenous peoples and acknowledging that some people, members of Black communities, racialized communities, Indigenous communities, low-income communities often pay the highest price when it comes to these kinds of initiatives, so we have a cap and trade program that we will reintroduce," Horwath said.

Per the party's platform, this cap-and-trade program guarantees that big corporate polluters pay for their emissions and makes sure that at least 25% of the revenue goes to support these groups who are disproportionately impacted by the carbon pricing.

The NDP also plans to resolve drinking water advisories so everyone has access to safe drinking water, and promises to ban all non-medical single-use plastics by the end of their term.

5. Health care

On the topic of health care, Horwath shared the many plans that they have to bring a variety of benefits to Ontarians.

"So, we're going to bring a funded dental plan into Ontario so that everybody, immediately with a household income under $90,000 annually, is going to be able to access free dental care," Horwath explained.

"Then, within two years we'll be able to cover everybody under $200,000 annual income and that'll make a big difference for people."

On top of that, the NDP promises to provide universal prescription drug coverage for Ontarians, which even includes completely covering the costs of birth control provided under OHIP.

Horwath added that the NDP's plan will also help all Ontarians access mental health care services.

"Our plan enables you to get your mental health supports, your counselling, your therapy with your OHIP card instead of a credit card," Horwath said.

"It also boosts up the number of people available to provide that counselling, because we're going to be training people, at the government costs, training social workers and nurses and family docs and people like that, who could provide those services if they had the extra credentials, and so we want to boost up capacity as well. And I'm excited about that."

6. Transit

Horwath touched on what the NDP plans to do to help curb the costs of rising gas prices in the province, as well as what they have in mind for Ontario's transit systems.

"Everybody knows what it's like when that long weekend is coming — and there's one coming in May — and the gas prices start to creep up," Horwath said. "Or you're driving somewhere in rural Ontario or northern Ontario, and you think, 'Okay, well I'm gonna gas up now because you know gas prices will probably be the same and you get two towns over and the gas prices are like five cents cheaper."

To combat that, they are going to regulate gas prices because Horwath said it's a "permanent solution."

"[Oil and gas companies] can't gouge us on long weekends, or when there's a sunny forecast coming. It's highway robbery and we're going to stop it," Horwath said.

Part of the NDP's Green New Democratic deal focuses on mass transit systems that will build inter-regional transit systems throughout the province.

"One of the pieces that we have is uploading 50% of the operating costs in transit to give that ability for the municipalities to really beef up their transit systems in a way that's affordable to their communities," Horwath said.

"It's not a gimmick. It's a sustainable long-term plan to really support local transit systems, and everybody knows the minute you start increasing fares, ridership goes down, and we shouldn't be doing that."

Per the party's platform, the NDP will make sure transfers between GO services and local transit services like TTC are available at no extra cost.

7. Other priorities

Horwath used the last few minutes of the interview to really stress the importance of the upcoming elections.

"Ultimately, I think that the election that we have is an election where there's a lot at stake. COVID has shown us that there's a lot broken in Ontario," Horwath said.

On top of this, Horwath reiterated that the NDP will be working for the interests of the people, like addressing the issues of affordability and our health care system.

"Health care and education are absolute priorities, making life more affordable, making sure people have jobs to pay the bills, and taking the pinch out of your pocket with things like mental health care, dental care, prescription drugs, and increasing minimum wage," Horwath said.

To learn more about the NDP of Ontario's election promises, check out their campaign platform.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Alex Arsenych
Toronto Associate Editor