How the Liberal NDP deal will work and what it could mean for Canadians

The “supply-and-trust” agreement reached between the ruling Liberals and the opposition’s new Democrats could affect the kind of legislation Canadians can expect to see pass through parliament between now and 2025.

The parties have agreed to work together on key policy areas in situations where both parties want the same “medium-term outcome” – while avoiding early elections.

According to the agreement, these key policy areas are climate change, health spending, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable.

To do this, the parties must establish a working relationship that governs how they communicate plans and voting intentions. The Prime Minister’s Office published a statement on its website outlining the agreement. Here is a look at some key questions.

Is this a coalition government?

No. The NDP will not become part of the liberal government. New Democratic MPs remain in opposition, they get no seats at the cabinet table, and the NDP can walk away from the agreement if it feels it is no longer serving its interests.

The agreement only requires the NDP to vote in support of the government in confidence polls and budget issues such as budget implementation legislation and money bills.

The voting obligation applies until Parliament rises in June 2025, giving the Liberals the opportunity to present four federal budgets.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not offer to bring the NDP into government – and he would have rejected such an offer.

“I will enter it with a spirit of hopeful optimism, but I will remain critical and we will remain an opposition party,” Singh said on Tuesday. “We will remain strong in helping people and ensuring that this agreement is followed up.”

How will the parties work together day by day?

The PMO statement says that in order to make the agreement work, the NDP has agreed not to move a no-confidence vote to the government or to vote for one if it is introduced by another party.

The agreement says that if a vote in Parliament has been designed to “prevent the government from functioning”, it will declare it a vote of confidence, while giving NDP prior notice. Similarly, the NDP promises to inform the Liberal government “before publicly declaring to allow discussions about trust to take place.”

To ensure that parliamentary committees continue to function, the agreement states that both parties agree to stay in touch on issues that would “create unnecessary barriers to the review of legislation, studies and work plans in committees.”

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, left, and NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will take part in the federal election’s English-language leadership debate in Gatineau, Que., On Thursday, September 9, 2021. (Adrian Wyld / Canadian Press)

The parties also agree to speed up bills through the House of Commons, with the NDP promising to “support a limited number of programming proposals to pass legislation that both parties agree on.”

To ensure that the NDP remains informed, the Liberal government promises to make public servants available to inform the NDP “in time” to give the party enough time to react before action is taken.

The parties have also agreed that party leaders meet quarterly, regular meetings between house leaders and whips, and monthly status meetings chaired by a group of staff and politicians.

Singh said he will select NDP MPs and staff attending these meetings.

What will the two parties do?

The NDP and the Liberal Party have identified seven key areas where they say they will work together. Here is what they have agreed to pursue:


  • A new dental care program that would start with low-income children under the age of 12 this year before expanding next year to include under-18s, seniors and people living with a disability. The program will be limited to families earning less than $ 90,000, with no deductible for anyone earning less than $ 70,000.

  • A commitment to work on a “universal national drug program” by adopting drug legislation by the end of next year. This would be followed up by giving the Danish Medicines Agency the task of recommending essential medicine and a mass purchasing plan.

  • A commitment to “further ongoing investment” to strengthen the province’s health systems by hiring more doctors, nurses and mental health assistants.

  • A law on safe long-term care to remedy the funding and policy shortcomings revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • A law on early learning and childcare – to be adopted this year – to ensure that childcare agreements concluded between the federal and provincial governments receive secure long-term federal funding and are focused on non-profit areas.

  • More affordable housing, a $ 500 top-up to Canada Housing Benefit this year and a “homebuyer’s bill of rights.”

Climate change

  • A commitment to phase out federal government support for the fossil fuel sector – including funding from crown companies – starting in 2022.

  • A commitment to find new “ways to further accelerate the path” to a net-zero economy by 2050.

  • A “Clean Jobs Training Center” to support the retraining of energy workers as Canada moves away from fossil fuels.


  • A pledge to implement as soon as possible legislation passed by the Liberals to ensure federally regulated workers are given 10 days of paid sick leave each year.

  • The introduction of legislation before the end of next year that makes it illegal to call in temps when an employer of union workers in a federally regulated industry locks out workers.


  • A commitment to continued funding to help First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities conduct funeral searches at the former residential school locations.

  • An obligation to work with indigenous peoples to decide how housing investments are delivered and designed.

  • A commitment to promote policies related to missing and murdered native women and girls.

Tax initiatives


  • A commitment to work with Elections Canada to expand voter turnout, which could include extending election day to a three-day ballot.

  • A change in the electoral rules to allow people to vote in any polling station in their constituency.

  • Improvements to postal ballots so that voters are not deprived of their right to vote.

  • An obligation to ensure that the number of seats Quebec holds in the House of Commons remains constant.

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