Almost $1 billion in new funding for the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB, formerly the Working Income Tax Benefit) in 2019 relative to 2018, directly benefitting over two million working Canadians and helping raise about 70,000 Canadians out of poverty. Budget 2018 proposes to:
Increase maximum benefits under the CWB by up to $170 in 2019 and increase the income level at which the benefit is entirely phased out.
Increase the maximum benefit through the CWB disability supplement by an additional $160 to increase support for Canadians with disabilities who face financial barriers to entering the workforce.
Amend the income tax rules to allow the Canada Revenue Agency to automatically provide the CWB to eligible tax filers who do not make a claim. An estimated 300,000 additional low-income workers will receive the CWB in 2019 as a result of this change.
To support greater gender equality in the home and in the workplace, Budget 2018 invests $1.2 billion over five years, beginning in 2018-19, and $344.7 million per year ongoing to introduce a new EI Parental Sharing Benefit. The Benefit, which will provide additional weeks of EI parental benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave, will be available to eligible two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples.
Budget 2018 proposes to provide $17.3 million over three years, starting in 2018–19, to help Indigenous Peoples access the full range of federal social benefits, including the Canada Child Benefit.
To improve client servicesat the Canada Revenue Agency, Budget 2018 proposes $206.0 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $33.6 million ongoing. Specifically, this funding would go towards:
Improving telephone services.
Enhancing the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program.
Making online services more user-friendly.
In December 2017, federal and provincial Finance Ministers reached a unanimous agreement in principle to take the following actions in the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) that will take effect in 2019 to recognize, in particular, how work interruptions can affect an individual’s ability to save for retirement:
Increase retirement benefits under the CPP Enhancement for parents who take time off work to care for young children and persons with severe and prolonged disabilities.
Raising survivor’s pensions for individuals who become widowed under age 45.
Provide a top-up disability benefit to retirement pension recipients under the age of 65 who are disabled and meet eligibility requirements.
Increase the death benefit to its maximum value of $2,500 for all eligible contributors.
Better protections when dealing with their banks, including new measures to advance consumers’ rights and interests.
The Government is announcing the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare which will conduct an economic and social assessment of domestic and international models and will recommend options on how to move forward on this important subject.
In December 2015, the Government’s first action was to introduce a middle class tax cut for nearly nine million Canadians.
Single Canadians who benefit are saving an average of $330 each year, and couples who benefit are saving an average of $540 each year.
Budget 2016 gave Canadian families more money to help with the high cost of raising their children, by replacing the old child benefit system with the new Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which is simpler, more generous and better targeted to those who need it most.
Over 3.3 million families are receiving more than $23 billion in annual CCB payments, and the nine out of ten families who are better off under the CCB receive on average almost $2,300 more in benefits, tax-free. Already, the CCB has helped lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.
Starting in July 2018, the Government proposes to index CCB benefits two years ahead of schedule. Indexing the CCB sooner will provide an additional $5.6 billion in support to Canadian families over the 2018-19 to 2022-23 period.
Canada Pension Plan Enhancement
In June 2016, the Government reached a historic agreement with provinces to enhance the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The CPP Enhancement, which will begin to be phased in as of January 2019, will increase over time the maximum CPP retirement benefit by 50 per cent (from over $13,000 to nearly $21,000 if it was in place today). This will be done by increasing the earnings replacement rate from one quarter to one third and extending the earnings range covered by the CPP by 14 per cent.
With the action taken by Quebec to enhance the Quebec Pension Plan in a similar fashion, all Canadian workers can now look forward to a safer and more secure retirement.
Budget 2017 expanded EI benefits to offer more flexibility to Canadian workers and their families:
New caregiver benefit: $691.3 million over five years and $168.1 million per year ongoing to create a benefit of up to 15 weeks to cover a broader range of situations where individuals are providing care to an adult family member who requires significant support in order to recover from a critical illness or injury.
Flexible parental benefits: $152 million over five years and $27.5 million per year ongoing to allow parents to choose to receive EI parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate.
Expanded maternity benefit: $43.1 million over five years and $9.2 million per year ongoing to allow expectant mothers to claim EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date—expanded from the current standard of 8 weeks.
Canada’s National Housing Strategy is a $40 billion, 11-year plan that was launched on November 22, 2017, which will help ensure that Canadians have access to housing that meets their needs and that they can afford. It includes:
$15.9 billion under a National Housing Co-Investment Fund administered through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to build and repair affordable housing integrated with supports and services to address critical housing issues. The Fund will prioritize support for vulnerable citizens, including persons with disabilities, and will improve accessibility by promoting universal design and proximity to transit and services.
$1.1 billion to provinces and territories in flexible funding (to be cost-matched) to support key priorities for affordable housing, which may include initiatives to support safe, independent living for Canada’s persons with disabilities, seniors and other individuals requiring accessibility modifications.