Today the Federal Government tabled the Budget for 2014. The focus of our Government remains on creating jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians. The Budget reiterates our Government’s continued commitment to the economy, and to balancing the budget by 2015 and reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio. I have included below some of the highlights that may be of interest to you.
Since 2009, over 1 million net new jobs have been created in Canada (over 85% full-time and nearly 80% private sector). Over this same period Canada has seen the strongest job and income growth in the G-7.
Our government is focused on creating jobs for Canadians. We will do this by connecting Canadians with available jobs by:
• Launching the Canada Job Grant so that Canadians can get the skills training they need to get in-demand jobs.
• Creating the Canada Apprentice Loan which will provide apprentices in Red Seal trades access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year.
• Launching a Job Matching Service which will match Canadians looking for work with employers looking to hire them and ensure that Canadians are first in line for available jobs.
• More Paid Internships for Young Canadians by investing $55 million to create paid internships for recent graduates in both small and medium-sized business and high-demand fields.
• Helping Older Workers Get Back to Work by investing $75 million in the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers program to support older workers who want to participate in the job market.
Our government is committed to returning to balanced budgets in 2015. Budget 2014 includes an additional $9.1 billion in ongoing savings including:
o Making Public Sector Wages and Benefits Affordable for Taxpayers, by ensuring compensation is fair and in-line with other public and private sector employers.
o Improving the Fairness of the Tax System, by closing tax loopholes and strengthening tax enforcement to ensure low taxes for all taxpayers – not only a select few.
In addition, our Government is also:
o Controlling the Size and Cost of Government, by freezing departmental budgets to ensure efficiency in government operations and administration.
o Reviewing Government Assets, to ensure assets that can better create wealth and jobs for Canadians if were owned by the private sector are divested.
Our Government has reduced government departmental spending for three straight years – a trend that has not been observed in decades.
Overall, since 2010, actions we have taken to make government more effective and efficient are saving taxpayers roughly $19 billion a year.
In fact, with these and other measures, Economic Action Plan 2014 will bring the projected deficit down to $2.9 billion by 2014-2015 and forecasts a surplus of $6.4 billion in 2015-16. While we are controlling departmental spending, federal support to Canadians, like seniors benefits, will keep growing. In addition, major transfers to provinces for health care, education and other services Canadians rely on will also keep growing - to record levels.
Support for Canadian families and communities is a priority for our government. This includes protecting Canadians from violent crime, expanding programs for seniors and honouring Canada's veterans. Our government is:
• enhancing tax relief for families adopting a child, expanding tax relief for health-related items and services, capping wholesale wireless rates to make service more affordable, cracking down on cross-border price discrimination, and more.
• improving broadband in rural and remote communities, establishing a $200 million National Disaster Mitigation Program to help communities prepare for natural disasters, introducing a Search and Rescue Volunteers Tax Credit, and more.
• giving victims a stronger voice by implementing the Victim’s Bill of Rights and providing funding for a DNA-based Missing Persons Index.
• expanding the Funeral and Burial Program to cover modern-day veterans of modest means and ensuring veterans and their families can engage Veterans Affairs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• Enhancing the New Horizons for Seniors Program by increasing funding by an additional $5 million per year
• Launching the Canadian Employers for Caregivers Action Plan to work with employers so that caregivers can maximize their participation in the workforce while being able to provide care to their loved ones.
Our government recognizes in the importance of small businesses to our economy. That is why we announced our intent to cut red tape for small businesses which will eliminate the requirement for 800,000 payroll remittances by 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses. In addition, our government will support internships by investing in $15 million for up to 1,000 post-secondary graduates to intern in small and medium-sized businesses across Canada.
In addition to the job creating measures listed above our government is focused on supporting innovation and trade. Today our government announced landmark investments in research and innovation through:
• $1.5 billion over the next decade for post-secondary research through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
• $500 million to support a competitive auto sector through the Automotive Innovation Fund.
• $46 million in new funding to the granting councils to support research and scientific discoveries across Canada
Our economic stability does not need to come and the expense of our environment. As a government we are committed to ensuring responsible resource development and conserving Canada's natural heritage. Our government is:
• increasing funding to the National Energy Board to ensure projects are reviewed in a comprehensive and timely manner.
• encouraging investment in clean energy generation by expanding tax relief.
• investing in Canada’s national parks and historic canals, conserving recreational fisheries, expanding tax relief for environmental conservation of lands, and more.
• continuing record investment in infrastructure through the new Building Canada plan, making further investments in major bridges, small craft harbours and ports, and ferry services
Economic Action Plan 2014 recognizes that providing young with the opportunities, information, and education they need to succeed is essential for Canada’s long-term economic prosperity. That’s why Economic Action Plan 2014 makes key investments to ensure that today’s youth have the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow, by:
• Creating the Canada Apprentice Loan, to provide apprentices registered in Red Seal Trades with access to interest-free loans totaling over $100 million each year to help with their costs.
• Supporting Internships for Young Canadians with a $40 million investment to support up to 3,000 internships for post-secondary graduates in high-demand fields and $15 million to support up to 1,000 internships in small and medium-sized businesses.
• Simplifying the Canada Student Loans Program, by no longer including the value of vehicles that students need to get to school and work in the loan assessment process. As a result, 19,000 students – mainly in rural and suburban communities – will get increased access to student loans.
• Helping Young Entrepreneurs, by investing an additional $40 million to help young entrepreneurs get the mentorship, financial support, business advice, and development space they need to grow their ideas and start-ups.
• Providing Students with Access to Technology and Skills Training, by investing $36 million in the renewed Computer for Schools Program.
• Empowering First Nations Students, by making historic investments to improve the quality and ensure accountability of education on reserves.
I will be providing further information about these and other important announcements as they are released over the coming weeks. It is a privilege and great responsibility to represent you in Ottawa. As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact my office.
Happy New Year! After returning from my work in Ottawa, I spent time in December visiting with students at local schools in our riding and met with seniors living in residences in our community. As 2013 came to a close, I was pleased to spend time in Calgary meeting with many constituents, stakeholders and others to hear about their priorities for the federal government. I am always delighted to have the opportunity to hear directly from you.
As our government prepares to present the budget in 2014 we are asking Canadians to once again engage directly through pre-budget consultations. I will be holding meetings and round tables specific to pre-budget consultations and I would encourage you to visit www.fin.gc.ca/pbc and send in your suggestions directly to the Minister of Finance. You can also send in your suggestions and feedback directly to me through my website www.michellerempel.ca. Specifically, our government would like your perspective on how we can help Canadians with the cost of living and raising a family.
Thank you for taking the time to provide your thoughts on the upcoming budget. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about issues important to you and your family please do not hesitate to contact me. I hope you and your family have a safe and happy 2014!
Meet the Minister – Michelle Rempel on CTV Power Play