As expected, Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s fourth federal budget, his final one before the next election in October is designed to encourage the middle-class to go out and vote Liberal.
Here are the highlights:
• $1.7 billion over five years for new skills training tax credits, including a credit for eligible workers to pay for training fees, and a credit supporting training for people receiving EI
• $1 billion to increase affordability of high-cost drugs for rare diseases, plus the creation of a new Canadian Drug Agency to negotiate prescription drug prices “on behalf of Canadians”
• $4.7 billion in new money for Indigenous communities, including for settling land claims; “governance support”; improving child welfare services; promoting Indigenous languages; and improving health and safety in communities.
• $1.8 billion for retirees, including support for low-income seniors, “empowering seniors in their communities” and a promise to make sure that “everyone who is eligible receives Canada Pension Plan benefits,” which is not listed as having a cost.
• $6 billion for research in health and science
• $1.2 billion, including a net $100 million increase in international assistance that’s only scheduled for 2023-24, plus the cost of extending Canada’s training missions in Iraq and Ukraine.
Some of the other budget highlights include $1.25 billion over 3 years on a shared-equity mortgage program for first-time home buyers.
The RRSP withdrawal limit for first-time home buyers has also risen to $35,000 from $25,000.
$3.25 billion will go to Indigenous Services for water quality, child welfare, education and other supports.
$2.2 billion is allocated for one-time doubling of Gas Tax cash for cities’ infrastructure spending.
$1.2 billion will be spent over 5 years for border security and modernization, and for the asylum system.
A personalized Canada Training Credit of $250 a year (up to $5,000 lifetime) for job retraining has been introduced.
There is a credit of up to $5,000 for purchases of electric vehicles.
The interest rate on Canada Student Loans has been lowered to prime and will be interest-free for 6 months after graduation.
$595 million will go to support journalism and will include 15% tax credit for digital news subscriptions.
There is also a promise of high-speed internet for all Canadians by 2030. -CINEWS