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Deal with NDP to keep Trudeau in power means changes coming for employers

Universal national pharmacare, 10 paid sick days for federally-regulated workplaces on the agenda


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Vancouver's gay pride parade. Photo: Getty Images

The Liberals and New Democrats have reached an agreement that would see the NDP support Justin Trudeau’s minority government through to 2025.

The deal is a “confidence and supply” agreement effective immediately, Trudeau said Tuesday.

This kind of agreement, a version of the deal the British Columbia NDP struck with the Greens in that province in 2017, generally involves an opposition party agreeing to support the government on confidence motions and budget or appropriation votes for a certain period of time.

During a news conference announcing the deal, the prime minister cited the global and economic instability caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as the results of last September’s federal election as catalysts of the new arrangement.

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The Liberals failed to win a clear majority in the election and currently hold 159 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons, while the NDP has 25 MPs.

“The message from Canadians was as clear as the mandate they gave Parliament: work together to put people and families first, deliver results and build a better future,” Trudeau said.

Key elements of the deal

Some key elements of the agreement between the Liberals and NDP that would keep Justin Trudeau’s government in power until 2025:

  • The NDP will not move a vote of non-confidence, nor vote for a non-confidence motion during the term of the arrangement;
  • Parties agree on the importance of parliamentary scrutiny and the work done by MPs at committees;
  • Meetings of party leaders at least once per quarter, as well as regular meetings of House leaders and whips, and a monthly “stock-take” meeting of an oversight group;
  • Parties agree to identify priority bills to expedite through the House of Commons, including by extending sitting hours to allow for additional speakers, if needed.

Items of interest for employers

Among other items, parties agree to prioritize:

  • Health initiatives including a new dental-care program for low-income Canadians that would begin with those under 12 this year, then expand to others in phases by 2025;
  • Progress on a universal national pharmacare program by passing a Canada Pharmacare Act by the end of next year and then having the National Drug Agency develop a national formulary of essential medicines and bulk-purchasing plan by the end of the agreement;
  • Efforts with the provinces and territories to determine how to provide more primary care doctors and nurses, mental health support, aging-at-home programs and better data;
  • Creation of the Clean Jobs Training Centre;
  • Moving forward with Just Transition legislation, guided by feedback from workers, unions, Indigenous Peoples, communities, and provinces and territories;
  • A plan to phase-out public financing of the fossil fuel sector, including from Crown corporations, including early moves this year;
  • Initiatives for workers, ensuring the planned 10 days of paid sick leave for all federally regulated workers starts as soon as possible;
  • Introducing legislation by the end of next year to prohibit use of replacement workers when a union employer in a federally regulated industry has locked out employees or is in a strike.

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