KENORA – With summer now in full swing, we finally get to take full advantage of the beauty of the North; backyard barbeques with friends and family, long weekends at the lake, and hopefully even a vacation. Canada Day gives us the time to enjoy all the things that make our country such a great place to call home. Our hard-fought freedoms, diversity and multiculturism, and of course, our majestic, pristine landscapes, are all cause for celebration.
Just two years ago in 2017, the entire country came together to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. This celebration brought tourists from around the globe along with millions of Canadians. With a full year of festivities and events, we showed the world what it means to be Canadian. This year, the federal government is continuing to showcase to the world, just what Canada is all about by investing in tourism. Last month, the Tourism Growth Strategy set a goal to boost the tourism sector by 25 per cent, to $128 billion by 2025. This alone will increase sector growth and create 54,000 new jobs in the process. With 56% of tourism jobs located in rural areas like Northwestern Ontario, we are set to see some phenomenal growth.
In celebrating our country, we must give credit to our seniors who worked hard and sacrificed to build it. Seniors have contributed to our families, communities, and workplaces, so we must work hard to ensure they have happy and secure futures. That’s why we have increased the employment earnings exemption for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), from $3500 to $5000 a year, and we introduced automatic enrollment for the Canada Pension Plan at age 70. This will ensure that seniors get all the benefits to which they are entitled.
To help families with the high cost of raising children, the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and the Parental Sharing benefit will provide parents expecting a child almost $51,000 more than under the Harper government, over the course of that child’s first 18 years. The CCB was launched three years ago, and in July 2018, it was increased to keep up with the cost of living. This change came two years ahead of schedule to give parents even more money each month to help them provide for their children.
The CCB is simple, tax-free and provides more money to 9 out of 10 families than previous child benefit programs. Starting on July 20, 2019, the CCB will be raised once again to keep up with the cost of living. This means that for the 2019–20 benefit year, the maximum benefit will be $6,639 per child under age 6, and $5,602 per child aged 6 through 17.
Since March 17, 2019, new parents are eligible to receive extra weeks of parental benefits to help support parents share in their home and work responsibilities. The new measure is available to parents, including adoptive or same-sex parents, for a child born or placed with them for adoption on, or after March 17, 2019. When parents agree to do so, they will benefit from 5 extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option, or 8 extra weeks for those who choose the extended option.
Whether you have lived in Canada your whole life, or you are experiencing Canada Day for the first time, it’s a day to express thanks and gratitude for our freedom of expression, unlimited opportunity, and the pride associated with being Canadian. I hope you find some time to truly reflect on what being Canadian means to you, and to your friends and family. To our country, our home: Happy 152nd Birthday Canada!
Bob Nault MP