The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance delivered his third budget on February 27, 2018. Through Budget 2018, the Government is taking the next steps towards building a more equal, competitive, sustainable, and fair Canada.
Budget 2018 remains focused on Canada’s future and the things that truly matter to Canadians – with investments that protect our environment, support a sustainable low-carbon economy, and promote equality and prosperity. Furthermore, it renews the Government’s commitment to building a new relationship together with Indigenous Peoples, based on respect, cooperation, and partnership. The Government is working to help close the gap between the living conditions of Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, facilitate self-determination, and advance recognition of rights.
Budget 2018 provides leadership to address the gender wage gap through increased transparency, with pay equity legislation, and a commitment that women working in federally regulated sectors receive equal pay for equal work.
The new Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit will give greater flexibility to parents by providing an additional five weeks of EI parental benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave. This ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ incentive encourages a second parent in two-parent families to share more equally in the work of raising their children – which will allow greater flexibility for new moms to return to work sooner, if they so choose.
By introducing the Canada Workers Benefit, we are putting more money in the pockets of low-income workers than the Working Income Tax Benefit that it replaces. By allowing more low-income workers to keep more of their paycheque, it will deliver real help to over two million Canadians , raising around 70,000 Canadians out of poverty by 2020 and encouraging more to join the workforce.
Investments of more than $40 billion over the next 10 years under the National Housing Strategy will create over 100,000 new housing units and repair 300,000 housing units for Canadians. This means that 530,000 households will be removed from housing need, 435,000 will benefit from the maintenance and expansion of community housing in Canada, and the estimated number of chronically homeless shelter users will be reduced by 50 per cent. Budget 2018 includes; an additional $600 million over three years to support housing on reserve as part of a 10-year First Nations Housing Strategy that is being developed with First Nations; $400 million over 10 years to support an Inuit-led housing plan; and $500 million over 10 years to support the Métis Nation’s housing strategy.
To improve the accessibility and affordability of prescription medications, the Government is announcing with Budget 2018 the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare. The Advisory Council will recommend options to reduce costs and increase affordability of prescription medications.
Through Budget 2018, the Government proposes to provide $189.2 million in 2018–19 to begin the implementation of new fiscal policy reforms that have been co-developed with self-governing Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This funding will support key priorities, including the closing of socio-economic gaps, infrastructure, data collection and governance.
In addition to the new and enhanced national programs, I am always glad to see additional investments made in the North. I was especially pleased to see the renewal and ongoing funding provided to CanNor as I see so many economic development projects funded in our communities.
As a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, it is good to see Budget 2018 addresses several of the recommendations we put forward in our pre-budget consultation report, including working to reduce the smoking rates in Indigenous communities which are as high as 5.5 times the national average in northern communities, increased mental health and emotional supports to residential school survivors and their families, and the extension of the Mineral Exploration Tax credit to support our mining industry.
Michael McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
Since November 2015, Canadians have created almost 600,000 new, mostly full time, jobs and the unemployment rate has fallen from 7.1 per cent to 5.9 per cent, close to its lowest level in over four decades. The Canadian economy has been remarkably strong, growing at a pace well above that of all other G7 countries since mid-2016.
Major transfers to the Northwest Territories for 2018-2019 will total $1.3 Billion, an increase of $25.2 million from last year.
2,200 workers annually in the NWT will be able to access a more generous Canada Workers Benefit for low-income workers. This works out to about $3.3 million more during 2018-2023 period.
Through Budget 2018 more than $1.4 billion in new funding over six years, starting in 2017–18, for First Nations Child and Family Services is earmarked to work towards eliminating the gap for child welfare funding for Indigenous children.
Office of Michael McLeod
Member of Parliament, Northwest Territories