KENORA – Bob Nault, Member of Parliament (Kenora riding), released the following statement regarding the 2019 budget, Investing in the Middle Class:
“This budget illustrates that by investing strategically, our economy continues to grow and remains one of the fastest growing in the G7, with over 900,000 jobs created since 2015. Unemployment rates are at their lowest levels in 40 years and we are keeping that momentum going to the benefit of Northerners and all Canadians.
“I am particularly pleased to see the government introduce the Canada Training Benefit program which will give workers, at all stages of their working lives, the opportunity to learn new skills to prepare for the jobs of the future. This new benefit will provide financial support to help pay for the cost of retraining for young and unemployed people who are looking for work, as well as more experienced workers who want to upgrade their existing skills. It will also provide income support so that they can take the time to update or learn new skills in today’s rapidly changing world.
“One of my key priorities has always been to ensure that our seniors living in the North can feel secure in their retirement. This federal budget will make it easier for working seniors to keep more of their money. It will enhance the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption which will allow low-income seniors to earn more income before they would see any reduction in their benefits. I am also pleased that this government sees the value of investing in our seniors with additional funding of $100 million over five years in the New Horizons for Seniors Program. This program is already improving the quality of life for seniors living here in the North – by promoting their active participation in our communities.
“In addition, the budget will increase federal pension protections, provide a new EI caregiving benefit and housing supports for low-income seniors, funding for a National Dementia Strategy, and automatic enrolment in CPP for adults over 70.
“Our youth are our future and to help them prepare for the good jobs of the future, we need to continue making education more affordable. Today’s budget will lower interest rates on Canada Student Loans so that they will only need to pay the prime rate during the six-month grace period after leaving school. This means that students would not accumulate any interest on their loans, which will save them roughly $2,000 over the life of their loan.
“Investing infrastructure for the North has always been a top priority of mine and I am pleased that this budget provides a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund, which doubles the Government’s commitment to municipalities in 2018-19. We want to make sure municipalities in the Kenora riding have the funds they need for important local projects to improve the lives of residents living here in the North.
“We will also continue building a new relationship based on trust, respect, and a true spirit of cooperation with Indigenous peoples. Since 2015, 80 long-term drinking water advisories have been lifted, and we are on track to eliminate all advisories by March 2021. This budget will provide investments of an additional $739 million over five years, so that First Nations communities have clean drinking water. The budget’s single biggest investment is in Indigenous services and Crown-Indigenous relations: $8.1 billion over five years for services to improve children’s health care and end boil water advisories on reserves and to settle land claims, among other measures.
Budget 2019 highlights:
- Help workers gain new skills with the creation of the new Canada Training Benefit. This benefit will give workers money to help pay for training and provide income support during their training period.
- Support low-income Canadian seniors who choose to stay in the workforce by enhancing the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption.
- Help Canadians with the cost of prescription drugs by taking steps towards a national pharmacare plan, starting with creating a new Canadian Drug Agency that could lower Canadians’ drug costs by as much as $3 billion per year, and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
- Support municipalities’ local infrastructure priorities with a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund that will double the Government’s commitment to municipalities in 2018-19.
- Make homeownership more affordable for first-time buyers by implementing a First-Time Home Buyer Incentive that would reduce the mortgage payments required to own a home; and provide greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.
- Prepare young Canadians for good jobs by helping make education more affordable through lowered interest rates on Canada Student Loans, making the six-month grace period interest-free after a student loan borrower leaves school, and creating up to 84,000 new student work placements per year by 2023-24.
- Give all Canadians access to high-speed internet so all Canadian homes and businesses have access to 50 Mbps high-speed internet no matter where they live—including people and businesses in rural, remote and northern communities.
- Lower Canadians’ energy costs by partnering with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to increase energy efficiency in residential, commercial and multi-use buildings, and by introducing a new incentive for buying electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price under $45,000.
- Advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples to help improve the quality of life for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada: $8.1 billion over five years for services to improve children’s health care and end boil water advisories on reserves, settle land claims, preserve and promote Indigenous languages and improve the quality of education for Indigenous children; and promote Indigenous entrepreneurship and business.
- Provide high-speed Internet access of 50Mbps no matter where Canadians live, including people and businesses in rural, remote, and northern communities.
“I believe that we have made great progress thanks to the benefits of a growing economy and the steps taken by the federal government since 2015. This budget is a continuation of investing in the right things that build a more vibrant economy. It will help more Northerners find an affordable home, prepare for good, fulltime jobs, retire with confidence, and make their prescription drugs more affordable. I am confident that these new measures will make the North even stronger.”