It was budget day today in Canada, and the Liberal government came out and told us where they would be spending their dollars in the coming years…and spending they are! During the election, Trudeau had campaigned on a promise of some pretty big deficits but ending the term with a balanced budget. Those days are gone, the deficit has grown from what he was initially suggesting, and there is no sign of a balanced budget. I voted for the Liberal’s, based a lot on their economic platform and I’m (mostly) ok with running deficits, but I would have liked to have seen a clear cut plan for getting back in the black. One thing I think is important to note though is that their projected GDP amounts are actually pretty conservative; for example, their calculations are based on oil at a $25/barrel level which is lower than it has been even in this recent slump.
Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights from the budget and see where some of that money is going.
- The Canada Child Tax Benefit will start up July 1, 2016 and families with children will receive monthly payments based on household income. Maximum amounts will be $6,400 for kids under 6 and $5,400 for kids aged 6-18. Household incomes over $30,000/year will receive reduced payments, and you’re over $190,000 you won’t get anything. This will replace the existing Universal Child Care Benefit, income splitting for families, and the children’s fitness/arts tax credits.
- $8.4 billion over the next five years has been set aside for indigenous people’s for bettering education on reserves, access to clean drinking water, housing, etc. There will also be $40 million (over two years) going towards the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.
- Over $3 billion will be set aside for green initiatives including a low-carbon economy fund and research development for clean technologies.
- $1.9 billion is going to arts and culture over the next five years.
- The age to begin collecting OAS is being bumped back from 67 to 65.
- EI benefits will be increased in 12 regions (not Edmonton) across the country that have been hit with high unemployment rates by lengthening the amount of time you can be on EI to 70 weeks for long-tenured employees. Starting in July the number of hours worked before being eligible for EI will be decreased and wait times will be decreased to one week in the New Year.
- Grants available to low-income students will be increased from $2,000 to $3,000 and from $800 to $1,200 for middle-income students.
- GIS will be increased by up to $947 for single seniors.
- A $5.6 billion dollar increase in benefits for veterans and their families and nine veterans service offices will be re-opened across the country.
- Affordable housing initiatives will be getting $2.3 billion over the next two years to build new and renovate old.
- As promised during the election, infrastructure spending is being amped up to $11.9 billion over the next two years. The first phase of spending that will start right away includes public transit, water and waste management, and affordable housing projects.
- No tax cut for small business owners. The Conservative’s had planned to decrease the small business tax, but that has been taken off the table.
- National Defense purchases totalling $3.7 billion are being put on hold indefinitely.