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Anyone renting or buying a home, filling up the tank, or shopping for groceries has faced rising costs.

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According to Statistics Canada’s look at annual household spending, total expenditures in Ontario went from $85,379 in 2015 to $97,385 in 2019 — an increase of just over 14%.

Only the annual spend on restaurant meals went down over that period — the cost of everything else, most notably accommodation costs, rose.

Federal leaders have been repeatedly asked about affordability during the election campaign — housing in particular — and all major political parties address this issue in their platforms.

While many experts say social spending stimulates the economy, and thus pours money into government treasuries, it’s worth noting that these promises will be paid for at least initially with the taxpayers’ credit card.

Since the federal debt is now in 13 figures, governments looking for cash to fill that financial hole may impose higher taxes in the future.

Here are the three major parties’ pocketbook promises.

WORKERS/FUTURE WORKERS

Conservative Party

Double the maximum payment under the Canada Workers Benefit — a refundable federal tax credit available for low-income earners — to $2,800 for individuals or $5,000 for families. The PCs say that’s the equivalent of a $1 an hour raise for someone making $20,000 a year, and an increase of $1,400 a year for someone making $14,000 annually.

Double disability supplement to $1,500 from $713 for disabled workers.

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Liberal Party

Establish a $15-an-hour minimum wage and permanently extend EI sickness benefits to 26 weeks, starting next summer. The party pledges to create an EI Career Insurance Benefit to extend benefits for workers laid off from long-time employment, and move to a guaranteed livable income for all Canadians.

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Eliminate federal interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, saving more than $3,000 for the average borrower who chooses to invest in post-secondary education. The Liberals also promise to delay repayment of the federal portion of student loans until a borrower is in the workforce earning at least $50,000 a year.

NDP

Create a supplement so no one relying on EI regular or special benefits receives less than $2,000 a month, make EI available to people who quit their jobs to go back to school or provide necessary child care, and set $15-an-hour minimum wage rising to $20 an hour.

Remove federal interest from student loans, target debt forgiveness for graduates of up to $20,000 in the first year alone, move away from loans, and double the number of non-repayable Canada Student Grants.

CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Conservative Party

Convert the current Child Care Expense Deduction into a refundable tax credit covering up to 75% of child care costs for lower-income families (under $150,000 a year). A family making $30,000 could claim up to $6,000 a year, while a family making $120,000 could claim up to $4,560 a year.

Begin Canada Child Benefits in the seventh month of pregnancy, provide three days of paid bereavement leave after a miscarriage, extend EI parental benefits for at least eight weeks after the death of an infant, provide up to eight paid weeks of leave for death of child or stillbirth, and increase maximum Adoption Expense Tax Credit to $20,000 from $15,000

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Liberal Party

Work with provinces to deliver a 50% cut in child care fees next year and $10-a-day child care in five years or less, which would provide an estimated annual saving when implemented of $19,790 a year in Toronto.

Expand Canada Caregiver Credit into a refundable, tax-free benefit of up to $1,250 per year.

Pause parents’ student loan repayments until their youngest child is five years old.

Boost Old Age Security (OAS) by 10% next year for seniors 75 and older, increase Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) by $500 for singles and $750 per couples starting age 65, enhance CPP survivor’s benefit by 25% or close to $2,200 a year, and doubling the Home Accessibility Tax Credit to $20,000, a hike of up to $1,500

Five new paid leave days for federally-regulated employees after a stillbirth or a miscarriage.

NDP

National pharmacare program so that people could use their health cards to pay for necessary prescription drugs (estimated to save Canadians hundreds or thousands of dollars a year), and to work towards universal dental care.

Work with provinces to deliver universal $10-a-day child care

CONSUMERS

Conservative Party

Month-long GST holiday this fall for retail store purchases

Liberal Party

Require financial institutions to offer flexible repayment options if defaulting due to hard times or life events that cause financial stress, free menstrual tampons, and pads in federally-regulated industries

NDP

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Put a price cap on cellphone and internet bills to limit to global average, require providers to offer basic affordable plans as in other countries, and offer unlimited wireless data options at affordable rates

RENTERS/BUYERS

Conservative Party

Lower housing costs by building 1 million homes, using public transit to encourage home building, releasing at least 15% of land in the federal government’s real estate portfolio for development, discourage money laundering in real estate, and enact a ban on foreign investors buying homes for at least two years.

Liberal Party

Lower housing costs by increasing supply (promising 1.4 million new, renovated, or retained homes), introduce a new rent-to-own program with incentive for landlords to charge lower rent and to commit to renter ownership within five years, bring in new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account for those under 40 years-old to save up to $40,000, double First-time Home Buyers Tax Credit to $10,000 (worth $1,500 in the pocket), introduce new Multigenerational Home Renovation tax credit (15% of up to $50,000 in renovation costs, saving up to $7,500) and create anti-flipping tax on residential properties requiring them to be held for at least one year.

NDP

Create at lest 500,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years — the first half within five years, introduce 30-year term CMHC insured mortgages on entry-level homes for first-time buyers, double Home Buyer’s Tax Credit to $1,500, and impose a 20% foreign buyers tax.

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