Here are some highlights of the federal Liberal budget:
“Proactive” pay equity legislation, as well as $3 million over five years for a “pay transparency” measure, to close the wage gap among federal workers and in federally regulated sectors, impacting some 1.2 million people.
The “Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare,” to be headed by former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins, which will explore ways to establish a national drug program.
$3.2 billion over five years for Canadian science and research, including money for granting councils and Canada Research Chairs, upgrading outdated laboratory facilities and harnessing the power of “Big Data.”
$2.6 billion over five years for a wide array of measures to encourage and foster scientific innovation and gender equality in the field, including encouraging female entrepreneurs and business leaders, revamping procurement and expanding access to broadband internet.
A federal deficit of $18.1 billion, including a $3-billion “risk adjustment,” down from $19.3 billion last year, that’s projected to decline slowly over the next several years, reaching $12.3 billion ($9.3 billion without the $3-billion cushion) by 2022-23.
About $1.4 billion over six years to support Indigenous children in foster care and promote family reunification, plus $400 million over 10 years to upgrade and expand Inuit housing and $500 million for Metis housing.
Higher excise taxes on tobacco products, including a $1 increase on a carton of 200 cigarettes and an adjustment that would see taxes increase with inflation every year, rather than every five years.
$1.2 billion over five years and $344.7 million a year afterward for a new employment insurance parental sharing benefit that would provide additional “use-it-or-lose-it” benefits for non-birthing parents to encourage women to re-enter the workforce.
$2 billion over five years for international aid through a new International Assistance Innovation program, designed to come up with flexible new financing arrangements, and the Sovereign Loans program.
$155.2 million over five years for a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and $116 million over five years for the RCMP to create a National Cybercrime Co-ordination Unit.
$448.5 million over five years to double the number of placements under the Canada Summer Jobs program by 2019-20.
$172 million over five years and $42.5 million a year afterward for the Canada Media Fund to foster the growth of Canadian-produced content.
$50 million over five years to support “local journalism in underserved communities,” and plans to explore new models that would allow private and philanthropic support for “non-profit” journalism, including allowing Canadian newspapers to receive charitable status.
$75 million over five years, with $11.8 million a year afterward, to bolster Canada’s trade ties with China and Asia.
$191 million over five years to support jobs in the softwood lumber industry, including litigation under the World Trade Organization and NAFTA’s dispute resolution mechanism.
$90.6 million over five years to track down tax evaders and avoiders, plus $41.9 million over five years and $9.3 million a year thereafter to help Canada’s courts deal with the additional caseload.
Changes to income sprinkling, passive investment income and the small business tax rate that are expected to save the government $925 million a year by 2022-23.
$173.2 million in 2018-19 to support claim processing and to improve border security to better manage the increased number of people seeking asylum in Canada.
(The Canadian Press)
We have local reaction to the budget.
The head of the Community Development Council of Quinte says there are a couple of positive things to take from the spending plan.
Among the highlights that will make a significant impact on the community, Ruth Ingersoll says the move to create a national pharmacare plan tops the list.
Ingersoll noted the Canada Worker’s Benefit for low income families, additions to parental leave for a second parent and discussions on equal pay for equal work are all positive plans in the spending document.
The Manager of the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce says the budget was okay in that it made some small investments that would help people.
However Suzanne Andrews says the question that’s always left in the minds of business people and others is “who is going to pay off the 18 billion dollar deficit?”
But the Chamber doesn’t see the entire budget as a negative.
The Chamber of Commerce would have liked more tax cuts for business as it worries about aggressive moves being made south of the border by President Donald Trump.
The Mayor of Quinte West thought the liberal federal budget was generally a good one.
Mayor Jim Harrison liked the moves made regarding pharmacare, affordable housing, pay equity, and gender equality.
However, Mayor Harrison said he was disappointed that there didn’t seem to be much investment in the agricultural sector, saying the hard working men and women in agriculture deserve a good return on their efforts as they produce top quality food for all Canadians.