The Election Tax Promises are Adding Up

Beth Graddon

Knowledge Bureau’s elections promises chart– from a tax and financial point of view – has proven to be popular and with less than one week to go, we’ve added information on the costs associated with some of the promises made. The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s (PBO) estimates of the platform promises themselves are enlightening; as are those presented with the highly-anticipated release of the Conservatives costed platform.

We now know what the cost will be to Canadians for some of the Conservative government’s promises. Their costed platform, which was published only ten days before the election on October 11, states that:

  • The public transit tax credit will cost $227 million in the first year.
  • The reduction to the tax rate for the first $47,630 of income earned from 15% to 13.75% would cost $5.9 billion over a four-year period
  • The tax-free Employment Insurance Benefits for new parents would have a price tag of $616 million to start and increase to $1 billion in five years (actually this is a tax credit of 15% of benefits received)
  • Eliminating sales tax on home heating costs would be $1.3 billion in the first year.

Here's some further insight on the election promises from the Parliamentary Budget Officer:

  • The PBO estimated the Conservative Party’s proposal to reverse the taxing of passive investment income of $50,000 within private corporations. It’s a popular topic being tackled this month in our poll – giving you the opportunity to weigh in on whether you agree with this proposed change. The vast majority of respondents do want to see the recent changes to TOSI reversed. The cost to government will be $500 million starting in 2020.
  • The Green Party, meanwhile, wants to tax capital gains at 100% income inclusion rate. This will cost investors $12 billion starting in 2020, per PBO estimates.
  • One of the big proposals from the Liberal Party is enhancement of the OAS for 75-year-olds, which the PBO says will come at a cost of $1.6 billion starting in 2020.
  • The proposed NDP 1% wealth tax on those with net wealth of $20 million or more will raise $5.5 billion in 2020. Free dental care meanwhile, will cost $1.9 billion.

Knowledge Bureau will provide a detailed synopsis with a Special Election Report on October 23. Be sure to stay tuned in. If you are in the Toronto area, please attend the Vantage Series luncheon at the National Club on October 28 for a post-election Thought Leadership Event.

Bottom line:  As these promises keep adding up, the issue for many voters is this:  “Can we afford it?”  Watching these estimates closely in the days leading up to the election could give you perspective into the correct answer.

Here are the tax changes each of the parties are proposing in their election campaigns in alphabetic order:

Personal Tax

Bloc Quebecois

  • Have province collect income taxes instead of CRA.


  • “Universal tax cut” - reduce tax rate on income under $47,630 from 15% to 13.75%.

  • Continue CCB implemented by Liberals in 2016.

  • 15% non-refundable tax credit on EI Benefits for maternity & paternity leaves.

  • Green Transit Tax Credit: 15% credit on weekly /monthly transit passes.

  • Green Home Tax Credit for energy savings.

  • Exempt home heating costs from GST/HST.

  • Revive 15% children’s fitness and arts tax credits and make them refundable. Up to $1,000 for sports activities, and up to $500 can be claimed for arts and learning programs, annually.

  • Add $1,000/year to the Age Credit claimed by those over 65.

  • Make the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) more accessible by reducing # of hours per week spent on life-sustaining therapy from 14 to 10 to qualify.


  • Creation of a Federal Tax Commission focused on establishing a fair tax system.

  • Require executives to pay full tax rate on stock options received as part of their remuneration package.

  • Increase the tax credit for search and rescue and firefighter volunteers.

  • No GST on bicycle purchases.

  • Introduce Guaranteed Liveable Income. Would replace other income support programs. Clawbacks won’t apply, those earning above a defined total income would pay GLI back in taxes.
  • Raise minimum wage to $15/hr.
  •  Increase the target income replacement rate for CPP over time (undefined), from 25% to 50% of income received during working years


  • Basic Personal Amount to gradually increase to $15,000 (from $12,069 in 2019) by 2023-2024.

  • BPA increase – phased out for those making more than $147,667/year. Current BPA (adjusted for inflation) will continue to apply to those making more than $210,371.

  • OAS Increase at age 75 – 10% more

  • CPP survivors’ benefits – 25% increase in maximum benefits

  • Maternity & Sick Benefits – for parents, tax free EI, plus guaranteed paid family leave, 15 week leave for adoptive parents. Sick Benefits increase from 15 to 26 weeks.

  • CCB - $1000 more for kids under 1 year, plus an increased Child Disability Benefit - $2800 more

  • Learn to Camp Program: $2000 for 75,000 kids

  • Real Estate - Foreign Buyers - 1% tax on real estate owned by foreign buyers.

  • First-Time Home Buyer Incentive - 10% off the purchase price (more in Vanc/Victoria, and TO).

  • Tax Free Benefits –Death of First Responders - $300,000 including public safety workers and correctional system workers
  • Review of existing tax expenditures and spending measures


  • Increase top federal income tax rate from 33% to 35%.

  • 1% Wealth Tax on income over $20 million.

  • Replace Phoenix pay system and compensate those impacted.

People’s Party

  • Simplified two-bracket federal income tax system. Income over $100,000 pays 25%. Income between $15,001 and $100,000 pays 15%.

Small Business


  • Passive Investments - Repeal Liberal tax increases on small business investments.
  • Exempt spouses from tax increases on small business dividends implemented by Liberals (TOSI Rules).


  • 2,000 entrepreneurs to receive $50,000 to build start-ups.
  • Farmers – continued discussion on intergenerational transfers and sales of farms to family members/others – no mention of tax on inheritances passed from other business owners to their family members


  • Tax rate for small business to remain at 9%.
  • Allow self-employed workers to opt into parental benefits at anytime. Apply double leave for parents of multiples.

Large Business

Bloc Quebecois

  • Modify tax rules for small and medium-sized enterprises to encourage the transfer of companies to the next generation.
  • 3% corporate tax to apply to online biz like Facebook, Netflix, Spotify.
  • Crack down on large corporations’ use of tax havens.
  • Tax credit for employers training and retaining workers 65+.


  •  Lowering tax from 15% to 5% for green tech companies.


  • Increase corporate tax rate from 15% to 21%.

  • Corporate tax to apply to tech biz like Netflix, Facebook, Google, Air ‘bnb, & Cryptocurrency
  • Increased focus and funding for the enforcement of offshore tax schemes.
  • Implement financial transactions tax of 0.2% in the finance sector.
  • Eliminate the 50% corporate meals and entertainment expense deduction.
  • Implement financial transactions tax of 0.2% in the finance sector.
  • Implement a tax for large corporations equivalent to the income tax paid by employees who have been laid off due to artificial intelligence. To fund retraining programs for laid-off workers.


  • Crack Down – on corporate tax evasion and loopholes that allow companies to deduct certain debt. Also “asking the wealthy to pay more” but no details
  • Green Tax Cuts – 50% current corporate taxes for companies that develop technologies or manufacture products that have zero emissions.
  • Carbon tax - continue carbon pricing plan and rebates implemented.
  • Luxury Car/Boat/Plan Tax – 10% if over $100,000


People’s Party

  • Lower corporate tax rate from 15% to 10%.
  • Expand Capital Cost Allowance (CCA) program to all sectors.



  • Exempt home energy and hydro costs from GST/HST.

Investment Opportunities & Income Splitting


  • Exempt spouses from tax increases on small business dividends implemented by Liberals.


  • Increase to capital gains inclusion rate from 50% to 100%.


  • Change income splitting rules for family transfers based on concerns about unfair tax treatment.
  • Increase to capital gains inclusion rate from 50% to 75%.

People’s Party

  • Pledges to eliminate tax on capital gains.

Carbon Tax

Bloc Quebecois

  • In favour of carbon tax and want to employ higher taxes for provinces with high greenhouse gas emissions.


  • Repeal carbon tax and let provinces set their own carbon prices



  • In favour of carbon tax.


  • Continue carbon pricing plan and rebates implemented.



  •  Continue carbon tax put in place by the Liberals.

People’s Party

  • Eliminate carbon tax.


Additional educational resources: Interested in learning more about personal or corporate tax issues? Take our online courses from either the DFA-Tax Services Specialist™ or MFA™-Business Services Specialist designation programs. Or, come to one of our CE Summit workshops for an in-person learning experience.