The Communist Party’s strategy for unity is to build a People’s Coalition of class and social forces willing to unite in a militant struggle for a common program to curb corporate power. Organized around a radical program, such an alliance could introduce far-reaching economic, social and political reforms that would strengthen the working class and its allies in the immediate struggle and, in the process, open the door for socialism and working class power.
The People’s Coalition is the political vehicle that can draw in the broadest sections of the labour and people’s movements, indigenous peoples, the youth and student movement, the unemployed and unorganized, precarious workers, the women’s movement, LGBTiQ and other equality seeking movements, immigrants, the environmental movements and other progressive forces. Such a fightback could help forge a democratic, anti-monopoly, anti-imperialist people’s alliance, led by the working class, in which the Communist Party aspires to play a key role, and which could challenge the ruling class for political power in this country.
The following People’s Alternative Program for Ontario, adopted at the 29th Provincial Convention in March 2017, represents the policies and positions around which a People’s Coalition can be built and mobilized in Ontario.
- Develop a full employment strategy for Ontario by restoring and expanding value-added manufacturing and secondary industry, public ownership and democratic operation of key resources and industries, increased publicly-owned and developed renewable energy, expanded social programs and public infrastructure.
- Legislate a 32-hour work week with no loss in take-home pay, benefits or pensions; ban compulsory overtime, and legislate minimum four weeks of annual paid vacation.
- Restart Ontario’s domestic steel industry by placing it under public ownership and democratic control and operation.
- Develop a publicly-owned generic pharmaceuticals industry, to create jobs and as a component of public pharmacare.
- Build a publicly-owned, democratically controlled and operated light vehicle industry in Ontario, to produce fuel-efficient and environmentally sustainable cars, light industrial vehicles, and mass public transit vehicles.
- Rebuild, upgrade and expand publicly-owned provincial and municipal infrastructure, through public oversight and control, so that it is safe, accessible, environmentally sustainable, and reliable.
- Expand apprenticeship programs and invest in youth employment.
- Rebuild the northern Ontario economy by placing energy and natural resources under public ownership and democratic control, and developing them based upon the full consent, agreement and participation of Indigenous communities, in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Ban private temporary employment agencies, and expand government-provided employment services as part of a provincial full employment strategy.
- Regulate workplaces to ensure that part-time and casual workers receive the same wages and benefits as regular and full-time employees, to provide sufficient work hours and fair scheduling, and to enforce health and safety responsibilities to all workers at the work site.
- Halt and cancel all P3 developments, projects and contracts in Ontario, and replace them with publicly owned and democratically controlled processes and institutions.
- Legislate longer layoff notice periods, and increase employer-paid severance and retraining.
Raise Wages and Incomes
- Increase the provincial minimum wage to a livable wage of $20 and maintain this wage relative to the cost of living.
- Enforce pay equity laws to eliminate the gender wage gap, and introduce employment equity for Aboriginal people, women, people with disabilities, and people from racialized and LGBTIQ communities.
- Ensure that all workers receive equal pay for work of equal value, to eliminate the wage gap for temporary, part-time and migrant workers.
- Re-enact Employment Equity legislation for equal consideration for and treatment in employment, requiring positive and supportive measures by employers and enforcement by an Employment Equity Commission and an Employment Equity Tribunal.
- Provide a universal, defined benefit public pension plan that guarantees a livable retirement income, with a voluntary full pension age of 60.
- Introduce a guaranteed livable income program, to raise social assistance and disability payments to a living level well above the poverty line.
- Expand Employment Insurance to cover all unemployed for the duration of unemployment at 90% of previous earnings, reduce eligibility requirements to provide full coverage, based on a living wage, to first-time job seekers and precariously employed workers.
Progressive Tax Reform
- Enact progressive tax reform based on ability to pay, to shift the tax burden onto corporations and the very rich.
- Double the corporate income tax rate, to 23%; restore Ontario’s corporate capital tax, which provided over $1 billion per year until it was eliminated in 2010.
- Abolish the provincial/harmonized sales tax.
- End market-based property tax assessment (“Current Value Assessment”) and remove education from the property tax.
- Introduce wealth and inheritance taxes on estates over $1 million.
- Eliminate taxes on personal incomes under $40,000.
- Amend the capital gains tax so that it applies to 100% of the gain.
Massive Expansion of Public Services
- Expand healthcare to include full coverage for dental care, vision care, pharmacare, mental health care and long-term care.
- Restore coverage of services that were “delisted” from OHIP, including regular eye exams, chiropractic and physical therapy/physiotherapy services.
- Provide full healthcare coverage to all residents of Ontario, including temporary foreign workers, international students, and refugees; and eliminate health premiums, co-payments and the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP).
- Put all doctors and healthcare professionals on a provincial salary.
- Immediately ban private clinics and labs, halt and reverse all P3 developments and contracts, and fully provide these services through publicly owned and administered institutions.
- Abolish the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), which are the main administrative vehicle for privatization of healthcare in Ontario.
- Preserve and expand Community Care Access Centres (CCACs).
- Put all ambulance services back under public ownership, and provide full coverage under OHIP.
- Restore health and hospital funding that has been cut, and halt and reverse the delisting and of services to community hospitals.
- Stop and reverse hospital closures, and enforce the Canada Health Act.
- Introduce a provincial food and nutrition program, based in all schools and communities, to ensure that every person in the province has access to a proper diet.
- End public funding for Catholic schools and enact a single, secular public school system in Ontario.
- Deliver a new, needs-based funding formula to provide adequate and guaranteed funding, from provincial general revenues, to public schools and education programs.
- Provide stable capital funding to pay for maintenance and upgrades, so that schools and educational facilities are safe, accessible, reliable and environmentally sound.
- Halt all sales of public school lands and buildings, and develop schools as community hubs.
- Eliminate tuition fees for post-secondary education and cancel student debt.
- Increase funding to public post-secondary education, and end corporate funding and privatization.
- End all credit-recognition schemes for corporate training programs.
- Recognize housing as a human right, and introduce a Tenant Bill of Rights and provincial housing program to ensure adequate housing based on need is provided to all.
- Build 200,000 units of affordable social housing units within in 4 years, and maintain levels of affordable housing based on need.
- Upgrade and maintain existing units so that they are safe, secure, affordable, accessible and environmentally sound.
- Enact rent control legislation to cover all rental units, and legislate rent rollbacks across Ontario.
- Deliver proper building inspections for rental housing, and enforce penalties for landlords who do not meet standards; make bed bugs a public health issue.
- Ban evictions or utility cutoff due to involuntary unemployment including layoff, strike or lockout.
- Build a provincial system of universally accessible and quality public childcare, free of charge.
- Introduce 24-hour childcare, for parents who work shift schedules or who have personal/family emergencies.
- Raise wages for childcare workers and require ECE certification.
Sports, Culture and Recreation
- Invest in amateur sports and recreation, TVOntario, and democratic culture in Canada.
- Increase funding to the Ontario Arts Council, and democratize oversight and administration.
- Eliminate admission prices and expand hours and services at public museums, sports and recreation facilities, and art galleries and other public cultural institutions.
- Restore and expand music, theatre, and arts programs to all public schools.
- Make libraries community hubs and increase their budgets, services and hours of operation.
Transportation and Transit
- Expand municipal and regional public transit systems, and eliminate fees.
- Increase funding for infrastructure upgrades that facilitate bicycle transportation.
- Ban road tolls for personal and public vehicles.
- Ban private auto insurance in Ontario and introduce a publicly owned and administered non-profit plan that will provide full coverage at affordable rates
A New Financial Deal for Municipalities
- Provide full and adequate provincial funding for municipal services such as public transit, public health, housing, childcare, and social assistance.
- Return 50% of gas and road user taxes to municipalities.
- Abolish the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) and replace it with democratic and transparent local instruments for governing municipal land-use and planning.
Action for Climate and Environmental Justice
- Reject all pipeline projects that enable the maintenance and expansion of tar sands, and halt all fracking operations in Ontario.
- Replace cap-and-trade and carbon tax schemes with strict legal limits for pollution and emissions, especially from industrial sources, impose strong penalties for corporations who break the law, and increase investment for developing sustainable industrial processes.
- Halt and cancel corporate contracts for withdrawing freshwater for bottling, and introduce strict public management of water systems.
- Protect wetlands and greenbelts from real estate and industrial development attempting to circumvent legislation with “off-setting” schemes.
- Legislate reductions in packaging for consumer items.
Public Ownership and Democratic Control of Energy
- Place energy resources and industries under public ownership and democratic control, and operate them in a transparent manner that ensures responsible economic, social and environmental stewardship.
- Rebuild a single, publicly-owned and democratically controlled provincial electrical utility that includes production, distribution, transmission and bulk electricity system market, that can ensure affordable, safe and reliable power supply for the provincial and municipal levels.
- Phase out nuclear plants, while protecting jobs and shifting to sustainable energy, by developing publicly owned wind, solar, hydro and thermal energy production and increasing conservation.
Justice for Indigenous Peoples
- Recognize Indigenous self-government and self-determination, and implement the recommendations of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
- Press the federal government to immediately negotiate just settlements of all land claims.
- Stop corporate, private or public development on lands with Indigenous claims.
- Provide equitable standards and funding, at a minimum, for housing, job creation, quality education and healthcare for Indigenous people living on or off reserves.
- Deliver the immediate cleanup of poisoned Indigenous land and water, provide just compensation to people and families who have suffered health effects, and prosecute the corporate perpetrators of this pollution.
Enhance Food Security
- Stop bank foreclosures of family farms, and ensure stability by guaranteeing long-term, low-cost loans.
- Curb the power of agro-industrial monopolies, protect marketing boards, and roll back prices and set price controls to reduce the cost of farm inputs.
- Abolish factory farming and genetically modified food.
- Protect provincial and federal supply management systems.
- Support organic farming; reduce the use of antibiotics, fertilizers, pesticides, and other potentially harmful farm inputs, and ban “terminator” seeds in Ontario.
- Preserve publicly-controlled and available seed varieties, and stop corporate control over genetic and biological material necessary for agriculture.
- Protect farmland from urban sprawl, industrial development and landfills.
Equality Rights for All
- Strengthen strict civilian control and oversight of police and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), and appoint special prosecutors dedicated exclusively to prosecuting police officers.
- Ban racial profiling and carding by police, investigate and prosecute police violence against civilians, especially racialized, mentally ill and homeless people.
- Reduce and restrict police weaponry, eliminate tasers, and introduce de-escalation tactics and training.
- Strengthen enforcement and penalties for hate crimes, combined with a ban on hate groups.
- increase funding for anti-oppression and equity-seeking programs, and restore funding to accessible community legal clinics.
- Support gay-straight alliances in Ontario schools, enforce trans rights, and restore legal funding for court challenges.
- Fight to eliminate racist immigration and refugee laws, abolish the Temporary Foreign Workers’ program, and provide concrete pathways to citizenship for migrant workers.
Curb Corporate Power, and Strengthen Labour and Democratic Rights
- Refuse provincial government approval, implementation or adherence to destructive corporate trade deals like TPP, CETA and NAFTA.
- Introduce strong plant closure legislation that would illegalize closures for the purpose of relocating to low-wage or low-regulation jurisdictions.
- Reform bankruptcy laws, to prevent the legalized theft of workers’ wages and pensions and the intentional liquidation of industries by private corporations.
- Enact a Labour Bill of Rights for Ontario to protect the right to organize, free collective bargaining, picket and strike for all workers.
- Enact anti-scab laws, bankruptcy protection for workers, and card check union certification for all workers.
Democratic Electoral Reform
- Enact Proportional Representation, based on Mixed Member Proportional (MMP), for provincial elections.
- Dramatically lower campaign spending limits for provincial and municipal elections.
- Introduce ‘right-to-recall’ legislation for all elected offices.
- Extend democratic local control for school boards.
- Lower the voting age to 16, and allow all denizens (all occupants or inhabitants) to vote in municipal and provincial elections in Ontario.
- Regulate political broadcasting under the Elections Act, to ensure fair and equal access to all candidates and parties.