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Canada, Politics, News

Canada Budget 2018: Gender equality, innovation, tax fairness, and reconciliation

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Yasmin Aboelsaud Feb 27, 2018 1:59 pm 3,740

The Government of Canada has unveiled its 2018 federal budget.

According to the federal government, they are “taking the next steps in transforming the economy so that it works for the middle class by ensuring everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau tabled his third budget at the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

This year’s budget takes the next steps towards equality, and a more competitive, diverse and inclusive Canada. Budget 2018 also renews the Government’s commitment to building a new relationship together with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership.

The budget also remains focused on Canada’s future and the things that truly matter to Canadians, with federal investments that protect our environment, support a sustainable low-carbon economy, and “promote equality and prosperity for those who need it most at home and around the world.”

“That’s what this budget is all about. It is a plan that puts people first. That invests in Canadians and in the things that matter most to them,” said Morneau.

The feds say this budget will build on the government’s plan to invest in people, communities and the economy. It follows a record participation in the annual pre-budget consultations, where more than 1.5 million people were reached, and nearly 38,000 submissions and ideas were received by the government.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the measures announced in Budget 2018:

Gender equality

By working to help support women and girls, reduce the gender wage gap, and increase the participation of women in the labour force, the Government of Canada is helping to boost economic growth for all Canadians, according to this year’s Budget. Canada is promoting gender equality by proposing to:

• Create a new Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefit, which will support more parenting by providing additional weeks of EI parental benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave
• Move toward addressing the gender wage gap by shining a light on pay practices in the federally regulated sector and moving forward with a proactive pay equity regime that will be tabled later this fall
• Support women-owned businesses so that they can grow, this includes making available increased access to capital for women entrepreneurs through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada with $1.65 billion over three years
• Help women enter and succeed in the trades by allocating $19.9 million over five years to pilot a new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women
• Combat gender-based violence and harassment by providing an additional $86 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to expand Canada’s Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence

Innovation

The federal government is supporting leading-edge science by making historic investments in the next generation of Canadian researchers. They are investing a historic amount of nearly $4 billion over five years, including nearly $1.2 billion over five years for Canada’s granting councils, ongoing funding for Canada Research Chairs, and investments in the laboratories, equipment and infrastructure that researchers rely on every day.

Protecting the environment

In Budget 2018, the Government is proposing more investments to help grow a healthy and sustainable clean economy. These new investments will:

• Ensure the protection of Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity, including species at risk, with a historic investment of more than $1.3 billion over five years
• Advance efforts to better protect, preserve and recover endangered marine life in Canada with $167.4 million over five years
• Support the federal carbon pollution pricing system with $109 million over five years
• Improve Canada’s weather and water services with $120 million over five years to help protect people and communities from the devastating impact of extreme weather events

Canada Workers Benefit

This year, the Government is introducing the new Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), a tax benefit that will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers.

The new CWB (a strengthened version of the Working Income Tax Benefit) will encourage more people to join the workforce and will offer real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class, while raising roughly 70,000 Canadians out of poverty, according to the feds.

Compared to the Working Income Tax Benefit, the new tax benefit will increase both the maximum benefits received, as well as the income level at which the benefit is phased out completely.

“As a result, a low-income worker earning $15,000 would receive up to almost $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than in 2018 to invest in the things that are important to them,” states the budget. “That’s more money for more people to spend on things like groceries, utility bills and other essentials.”

Advancing Reconciliation

Budget 2018 takes further steps to improve the quality of life of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and supports a new approach to recognizing and implementing Indigenous rights.

As such, the Government proposes to invest an additional $5 billion over five years to ensure that Indigenous children and families have an equal chance to succeed in life, to build the capacity of Indigenous governments, and to accelerate self-determination and self-government agreements with Indigenous Peoples based on the recognition and implementation of rights.

The Government has also stated its firm commitment that all long-term drinking water advisories on public water systems on reserve will be lifted by March 2021.

New Parental Sharing Benefit

To continue breaking gender barriers, Budget 2018 proposes a new five-week Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefit that will be available as a “use it or lose it” benefit top-up when both parents agree to share parental leave.

The new benefit will be available to eligible two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples.

This new benefit also proposes to provide greater flexibility—particularly for mothers—to return to work sooner, if they so choose.

This would become available in June 2019.

Tax Fairness

Small business tax is going down.

The Federal Government says it is supporting hard-working small business owners by reducing the small business tax rate to 10%, effective January 1, 2018, and to 9%, effective January 1, 2019.

By 2019, the combined federal-provincial-territorial average income tax rate for small business will be 12.6% —the lowest in the G7 and the fourth lowest among members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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Yasmin Aboelsaud
Toronto City Editor, fueled by coffee, travel & Drake.

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