This article details the key points of the 2017 Federal Budget, tabled on March 22, 2017, by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THIS BUDGET INCLUDED:
- EI premiums increasing by 5¢ to $1.68 for every $100 of insurable earnings, – the maximum allowable increase under the current Employment Insurance Act.
- The deficit is at $23B, down from $25.1B in the last fiscal update, and is projected to reach $28.5B for 2017-18 (including a $3B contingency fund) before declining to a projected $18.8B during 2021-22.
- Phase out of the 71-year-old Canada Savings Bond program as it is no longer a cost-effective savings vehicle.
- Higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco products: the excise duty rate on cigarettes goes up to $21.56 per carton from $21.03, while the rates on alcohol are going up by 2%. Both will be adjusted every April 1 beginning in 2018, based on the consumer price index.
- The public transit tax credit, which allows the cost of transit passes to be deducted, will be eliminated effective July 1.
- The budget dedicates $11.2B to cities and provinces for affordable housing over 10 years as part of the second wave of the government’s infrastructure program. $5B will be used to encourage housing providers to pool their resources with private partners to pay for new projects.
- An “innovation and skills plan” to foster high-tech growth in 6 sectors: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital industries, health/bio-sciences, and clean resources.
- $523.9M over 5 years to prevent tax evasion and improve tax compliance, including more auditors, a crackdown on high-risk avoidance cases, and better investigative efforts.
- $7B in spending over 10 years for Canadian families, including 40,000 new subsidized daycare spaces across Canada by 2019, extended parental leave and allowing expectant mothers to claim maternity benefits 12 weeks before their due dates.
- $2.7B over 6 years for labour market transfer agreements with the provinces and territories to modernize training and job supports, to help those looking for work to upgrade skills, gain experience, start a business, or engage in employment counseling.
- A national database of all housing properties in Canada, known as the Housing Statistics Framework, to track details on purchases, sales, demographics, and financing, as well as foreign ownership.
- $400M over 3 years through the Business Development Bank of Canada for a “venture capital catalyst initiative” to ensure more venture capital is available to Canadian entrepreneurs.
- A comprehensive spending review of “at least 3 federal departments”, to be named later, to eliminate waste and inefficiencies, as well as a 3-year review of federal assets, and an audit of existing innovation and clean-tech programs.
- $59.8M over 4 years, beginning in 2018-19, to make student loans and grants more readily available for part-time students, and $107.4M over the same period to help students with dependent children.
- $287.2M over 3 years, starting in 2018-19, for a pilot project to facilitate adult-student access to student loans and grants.
- $225M over 4 years, starting in 2018-19, for a new organization to support skills development and measurement.
- $395.5M over 3 years for the Youth Employment Strategy.
Also on a positive note, this budget suggested no changes to our ‘corporate tax rates’, as well as no changes made to the eligibility criterion for the ‘Small Business’ rate.
For your convenience, you may also wish to watch and share an informative 90 second video also provided at this link.
Supporting Article Research Sources: The Toronto Star, The Canadian Press