Government of Canada releases Budget 2022
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has tabled her second federal budget. Here are the highlights:
The budget promises to introduce tax-free savings accounts that would give first-time home buyers the chance to save up to $40,000. Contributions would be tax-deductible and withdrawals to buy a first home would not be taxed. The program is expected to provide $725 million in support over five years.
The government is launching a new housing accelerator fund — worth $4 billion over five years — to help municipalities speed up housing development. The goal is to create 100,000 new housing units in the next five years. The budget also extends the rapid housing initiative, pledging $1.5 billion over two years to create at least 6,000 new housing units to help tackle homelessness.
Moving on a commitment in its confidence and supply agreement with the NDP, the government is promising $5.3 billion over five years and $1.7 billion each year thereafter for a national dental care program. It will begin this year with children under 12 years old and expand to cover Canadians under 18 years old, seniors and people with disabilities in 2023. The program, which is to be fully implemented by 2025, is limited to families with incomes of less than $90,000 a year. For those with an income of less than $70,000, no co-payments will be required.
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
The budget boosts defence spending by $8 billion over five years, bringing Canada’s defence budget to a projected 1.5 per cent of GDP. That falls short of the two per cent of GDP NATO has called on member nations to spend — especially since Russia’s war on Ukraine began — but the $8 billion includes $500 million in military aid to Ukraine. The budget also earmarks $875 million over five years to combat rising threats to cybersecurity, and $100 million over six years to strengthen leadership in the Canadian Armed Forces, modernize the military justice system and implement culture change in the CAF.
ENVIRONMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
To help meet Canada’s climate change targets, the budget offers $2.6 billion over five years to finance a new investment tax credit for businesses that spend money on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). The government also plans to extend incentives and expand eligibility for a program to entice more Canadians to buy electric cars, vans, trucks and SUVs, which will cost $1.7 billion over five years. The government also plans to impose a sales mandate to ensure that at least 20 per cent of new light-duty vehicle sales will be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2026; that market share is supposed to rise to at least 60 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035. The budget also commits $3.8B to launch Canada’s first strategy to develop exploitation of critical minerals used in everything from phones to airplanes.
The budget promises to spend an additional $11 billion over six years to support Indigenous children, families and communities, including $4 billion for housing and another $4 billion over seven years to help ensure access for First Nations children to health, social and educational services. Almost $400 million over two years will go to improve infrastructure on reserves, including $247 million for water and wastewater infrastructure. To address a key commitment on reconciliation, the budget sets aside $210 million to help communities document, locate and memorialize burial sites at former residential schools. The money also will help the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation pay for a new building and assist with the “complete disclosure” of federal documents related to residential schools. The budget sets aside just over $5 million over five years to allow the RCMP to assist in community-led investigations into burial sites at former residential schools.
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
In line with the government’s diversity and inclusion agenda, the budget promises $100 million over five years for a federal LGBTQ2 action plan, $85 million more to support ongoing work on the anti-racism strategy and $50 million to support Black-led and Black-serving community organizations. It also commits $15 million to support local journalism in underserved communities and to help racialized and religious minority journalists present their experience and perspectives.