The writ has dropped, and we are officially in election season! As the advocacy body for Ontario’s engineers and engineering graduates, OSPE takes on the responsibility of analyzing party platforms for our members so they can cast an informed ballot.
The New Democratic Party of Ontario (NDP) has released their official election platform, titled: They broke it, we’ll fix it. It covers thirteen umbrella chapters, from affordability to diversity and equity, from job creation to sustainability and recovering from COVID-19. Here is what you should know:
Ontario is sitting on massive opportunities to be a national leader renewable energy, a priority OSPE has been advocating for many years. The NDP platform promises that, if elected, they will begin fixing the energy sector into a competitive and sustainable sector. Some proposed commitments are:
- Expanding clean renewable energy and increase affordable options
- Introducing an energy efficient building retrofit program to help with the cost of retrofitting
- Introducing a conservation-first model to energy planning in Ontario
OSPE’s membership is made up of highly experienced engineers, some of whom specialize in energy related fields. Our Energy Task Force has been examining the intersectionality of energy policy and components regarding sustainability and affordability. OSPE has been advocating for electricity price reform for the last decade. Effective policies are those that expand our clean energy supply, while maintaining affordable options for consumers.
In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Ontarians experienced job losses, many of whom required government support. The NDP platform has listed their commitments to bring high-paying, quality jobs to Ontarians with a lens of sustainability. Promises include:
- The above-mentioned retrofitting program will introduce 100,000 jobs over the course of the program
- Create jobs with green certification to train Ontarians to thrive in a low-carbon future. This will happen in partnership with postsecondary schools, unions and employers and will include a promise of tuition grants
Creating jobs with a lens of sustainability builds a solid foundation for a low-carbon future. OSPE knows engineering can pave the way for a low-carbon economy and will open the door for quality jobs for local professionals.
Manufacturing & Innovation
In order to remain a competitive province and retain innovative talent, Ontario has to invest in infrastructure that supports innovation. If elected, the NDP commits to:
- In partnership with the Ontario Clean Tech Industry Association, introducing Ontario’s first cleantech bank funded by the proceeds of a cap-and-trade system
- Creating a manufacturing strategy and labour force strategy
- Building innovation hubs in areas with untapped potential by bringing together SMEs, postsecondary institutions, and investors to collaborate in a local environment designed with public leadership and private capital
- Create a Zero-Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) strategy to help the auto sector shift into the zero-emission sector, ramping sales to 100% by 2035 with a supply chain approach that will make manufacturing local
Innovation is an essential pillar for engineers to thrive. Engineering intersects every essential sector of a thriving economy, making engineers some of the most innovative and creative professionals. OSPE will continue advocating for innovation within the province.
No mention of intellectual property in the NDP’s platform.
Within their platform, the NDP promises to:
- Allocate investments from the Green New Democratic Deal to mining-related green innovation initiatives to deliver stable energy prices
- Consult the mining sector to improve the regulatory regime and discover more opportunities to improve environmental management
Critical minerals fuel our modern world. Ontario has the resources to monopolize leadership and ensure the use will be used sustainably. OSPE has long advocated for Ontario to focus on critical minerals and strategize an ethical framework on extraction with engineer voices at the decision making table.
No mention of nuclear energy in the NDP’s platform.
Addressing the Climate Crisis
The world is on the brink of a climate emergency and our provincial leaders must act now. If elected, the NDP commits to:
- Creating a cap-and-trade system to hold big corporations financially accountable to their pollution output
- Investing a share of the cap-and-trade revenue in technology to help trade-exposed industries compete and adapt
- Creating a climate stress test on all provincial infrastructure and applying it to existing and future provincial infrastructure
Climate crisis policies are extremely important to all people of Ontario, especially OSPE and engineers. Our engineers are fully equipped with data-supported innovative solutions to combat this emergency.
The NDP platform commits to:
- Introducing municipal funding for fare integration between municipalities
- Make Metrolinx transparent and accountable, while making their lands available for social and affordable housing
Making public transit a reliable, affordable option for Ontarians will lead to a smaller carbon footprint. Members have voiced their concerns on the lack of transit infrastructure available to Ontarians and look forward to policies that rectify this. Smart public transit investments will help us fight the climate crisis.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The New Democratic Party promises to make diversity and equity a cornerstone to all policy decisions to equitably serve all Ontarians. This includes bringing the $10-a-day childcare deal quicker than planned, prioritizing accessibility to quality daycare and spotlighting the need for adequate maternal healthcare.
The NDP also acknowledges equity deserving community needs by dedicating a chapter on combating Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, anti-Asian racism, homophobia and dignifying people with disabilities. Building an equitable Ontario is a priority for OSPE and an essential factor in building a fair, successful and equitable profession.