Canadian Election Update

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will retain power after Canada’s federal elections this week despite his Liberal Party losing 20 seats and their majority in parliament. Despite winning the popular vote, the Conservative Party gained only 26 seats, not enough to wrest control away from the Liberals. In contrast to other recent global elections where far right parties have made electoral gains, Canada’s far-right, People’s Party of Canada (PPC), won no seats in parliament. In fact, Maxime Bernier, the founder and current leader of the PPC lost his own reelection bid in the recent election.

Mr. Trudeau and the Liberal Party have retained enough seats to form a minority government and will now have to rely on votes from the other political parties to pass legislation. It is unlikely that Mr. Trudeau will create a formal coalition government but work instead to gather support for policies on a vote by vote basis. This means he will need to compromise to get policies approved more often than during his first term when Liberals held an outright majority.

Impact on Mobility

Canada is considered a welcoming destination for both asylum seekers and high skilled workers. The Liberals maintaining control of the government means that this welcoming attitude toward immigrants will likely continue and that immigration levels likely continue to rise in coming years. Liberals have pledged to increase the number of newcomers to between 350,000 – 400,000 by 2021. The Liberal Party has pledged to make the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program permanent, which helps employers in Atlantic Canada hire foreign skilled workers. The Liberals have also proposed a Municipal Nominee Program that would allow smaller towns and communities to sponsor immigrants to fill gaps in local labor markets.

An issue of concern for mobility, however, are rising housing costs throughout many parts of Canada. While campaigning, multiple political parties spoke about the need to limit housing speculation that has been used to drive up housing prices. One possible solution being proposed is a home vacancy tax similar to the one that Vancouver has already enacted. There is some disagreement as to whether this is a long-term solution, but it could be a first step taken to address this problem.

Climate change was another issue very important to voters. Most of Canada’s political parties support taking action on climate change and included it in their party platforms. With the Liberals retaining power, there could be a renewed push to implement a national carbon tax. While some provinces have already implemented carbon taxes, the election results make it likely that there could be a national carbon tax rolled out soon. If fully implemented, this tax would be something that businesses would need to take seriously, especially those businesses that produce high levels of greenhouse gases. Mr. Trudeau has stated that he hopes to set Canada on the path to net zero emissions by 2050 meaning that the government will likely be looking to take additional steps to address climate change as well.

As Mr. Trudeau will need to work with other political parties to get things accomplished, it remains to be seen how this may impact his priorities for the coming years. WERC® will continue to monitor how the results of this election may impact the mobility industry moving forward.

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