Making life more affordable for Canadians this year
What a pleasure it is to be here in St. Andrews with, of course, ministers and our fantastic team in New Brunswick.
Thank you for that introduction, Ginette!
I am very happy to be here. As I said with our ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, ministers Duclos, Hussen, Leblanc, and Boissonneault, and members of the New Brunswick caucus: Wayne Long, Jenica Atwin, Serge Cormier, and René Arsenault.
Before I begin, I would like to talk briefly about the current crisis in Pakistan, which is facing the worst flooding in recent history.
Tens of millions of people continue to be affected by the devastating flooding in Pakistan and we stand in solidarity with them. We know Canadians want to help and we’re ready to match that help. The federal government will match donations you make to the humanitarian coalition up to $3 million until September 28. These funds will help provide life-saving services to those in need.
We’re also allocating an additional $25 million in urgent humanitarian funding and longer-term development assistance to help with recovery and rebuilding. This is, of course, in addition to the over $5 million we’ve already committed to help the millions of people in Pakistan who are dealing with this horrific climate disaster and we will continue to look at other ways we can help. This week, caucus is meeting here in St. Andrews by-the-Sea to talk about the important issues facing Canadians, like the cost of living.
We have had good discussions about the economy, health care, the environment and other important issues that people are concerned about. And our goal as the government is very clear: to deliver results for Canadians.
Global inflation caused by COVID-19 and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has made cost of living a real challenge for lots of people. All summer, members of Liberal caucus have been talking to Canadians, listening to people’s worries about their future about how difficult it is to make ends meet right now, and our government has been hard at work on a plan that will deliver relief to millions of Canadians. We’ve already delivered on child care. We’ve delivered it with an increasing Canada Child Benefit. We continue to step up in a range of ways.
But today we’re announcing additional targeted new measures that will support the middle class and people working hard to join it. These will be the very first pieces of legislation that we introduce when the House returns.
The first element of our plan is to deliver relief to millions of Canadians by doubling the GST tax credit for six months. This will provide hundreds of dollars of support to Canadians, including half of all families and more than half of all seniors in the country. For example, parents with two kids could receive up to an extra $467 this fall to help with the cost of living.
Second, as promised earlier this year, we’re moving forward on dental care.
With our dental care plan, families with children under the age of 12 could start receiving direct payments for dental expenses over the next two years, for a total of up to $1,300 per child.
This is the first step outlined in the supply and confidence agreement to develop a national dental care program. We aim to have that program started for those under 18, persons with disabilities, and seniors by the end of 2023, with the full program completed by 2025.
Thirdly, the federal government will also provide a one-time $500-top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit Program. People who currently receive hundreds of dollars in housing benefits each month through the program we introduced and co-fund with provinces and territories can also apply to receive this additional support.
On top of that, this federal top-up would reach hundreds of thousands more low-income renters, with around 1.8 million Canadians eligible for it. This support is in addition to our comprehensive housing plan that you’ve heard me talk a lot about these past months. Last week, our government announced a historic partnership with First Nations in B.C. that will create nearly 3,000 homes as a first step on their way to 6,000 homes in the coming years in Vancouver.
In the budget, we laid out a plan that will help you save for your first home with a tax-free savings account and also crack down on speculation and, earlier this month, we announced funding to rapidly build thousands of affordable units right across the country while we pilot a new rent-to-own program in addition. All of this builds on other actions our government is taking to make life more affordable for everyone.
Things like our child care plan, which is already saving some families hundreds of dollars a month, and will continue to have a meaningful impact in families right across the country as we reduce child care fees by 50% from coast to coast to coast, or the 10% increase in old age security that seniors over 75 received this past summer.
The other measures we have already taken to help with the cost of living also count, like enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit, which provided workers with hundreds, even thousands of dollars in support when they filed their income tax returns this year. And we are increasing the Canada Child Benefit and Canada Pension Plan payments to keep up with inflation.
These measures all put people at the centre of our plan to grow the economy. They are targeted to the middle class and people working hard to join it, while we continue to be responsible with public finances. We are retaining fiscal firepower and, at the same time, ensuring that those who need support don’t get left behind. The help we’re announcing today will make a big difference for the people who get it in a targeted way that will not stoke inflation.
Above all, we will keep growing the economy, creating good jobs for people, and making sure that Canadians are at the centre of everything we do. Our government is focused on building an economy that works for all Canadians. Canada’s economy has the fastest growth in the G7, and our unemployment rate remains low. But we’ll keep working hard to make sure that everyone is benefiting from those facts and that our economy remains strong.
We will continue investing for you and your family by making life more affordable, fighting climate change, and keeping our communities safe. And we will continue delivering real results for people and an economy that includes all Canadians.
As we get ready to head into the new sitting of parliament, our caucus is energized and focused. We know there’s a lot of work to do and we’re making sure that we get it done.
Thank you very much.
Thank you, everyone.