Over the last two years, Canada’s economy has been fuelled by the hard work of a stronger middle class. Combined with our government’s historic investments in people and communities, Canada now has the fastest growing economy in the G7 and has added more than 600,000 good, well-paying jobs since November 2015.
Today, our government introduced Budget 2018, which supports our commitment to building an equal, competitive, sustainable and fair Canada. Our strong economy, anchored by a low and consistently declining debt-to-GDP ratio, means that our government has the confidence to make the investments in our future that will strengthen and grow the middle class and lay a more solid foundation for future generations of Canadians.
Some of these important investments are outlined below. For more information on Budget 2018, please visit https://www.budget.gc.ca/2018/home-accueil-en.html
Gender equality and support for women and girls
As Vice-Chair of the Status of Women, I have had the privilege over the past two years to work extensively on the issues of gender equality, gender-based violence, women’s access to justice and women’s economic security. That’s why I was so pleased to see so much of my work on this Committee reflected in this year’s budget. Budget 2018 puts gender at the heart of its decision-making, working to help support women and girls, address harassment and gender-based violence, reduce the gender wage gap, and increase the participation of women in the workforce – which helps boost economic growth for all Canadians.
- Budget 2018 will move forward with new proactive pay equity legislation to ensure that employees in federally regulated workplaces receive equal pay for work of equal value.
- To support gender equality in the home and in the workplace, the government will provide $1.2 billion over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $344.7 million per year thereafter, to introduce a new Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit. The changes will give greater flexibility to parents by providing an additional five weeks of “use it or lose it” parental benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave. This incentive is expected to be available to families starting in June 2019.
- Our government recognizes that there is a need for federal leadership to support a national approach to eliminating sexual violence on post-secondary campuses and removing the stigma for survivors seeking supports. Budget 2018 commits $5.5 million over five years to Status of Women Canada to develop a harmonized national framework to ensure comprehensive and consistent approaches in addressing gender-based violence in post-secondary institutions across the country.
- Advancing gender equality is a responsibility that should not fall exclusively to women and girls. The government will provide $1.8 million to Status of Women Canada to develop an engagement strategy for men and boys that will promote equality and pilot innovative, targeted approaches to addressing inequality, making Canada a world leader in this area.
- The government will provide an additional $86 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $20 million per year ongoing, to expand Canada’s Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence. New investments will focus on preventing teen dating violence, developing anti-cyber bullying initiatives, expanding investments to front-line crisis centres, and equipping healthcare professionals to provide appropriate care to victims.
- To encourage women to pursue careers in the trades, the government has allocated $19.9 million over five years to pilot an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. Under the Grant, women in male-dominated trades would receive $3,000 for each of their first two years of training. In combination with existing grants, this will result in a combined $8,000 for support over the course of their training for a female apprentice working to become a welder, machinist pipe fitter or any other skilled trade.
- Budget 2018 will help women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses with the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. The budget also calls on the Business Development Bank of Canada to coordinate a series of boot camps across Canada for promising women entrepreneurs looking to start their business.
- Budget 2018 commits $50.4 million over five years to address sexual harassment in the workplace. Of this amount, $25.4 million over five years will be dedicated to boosting legal aid funding across the country, with a focus on supporting victims of sexual harassment. In addition, the government will invest a further $25 million to develop a country-wide outreach program to better inform workers about their rights in cases of workplace harassment.
Supporting youth, families and newcomers
Our Oakville North-Burlington community is growing rapidly, and as it grows, the needs of the community grow and change with it. With Budget 2018, the government takes a people-centred approach to investing in Canadians, from helping young people find work placements to empowering new Canadians to contribute to a growing economy that benefits us all.
As part of Budget 2018, our government is announcing the creation of an Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare, chaired by Dr. Eric Hoskins, who recently served as the Minister of Health in Ontario. The Council will begin a national dialogue that will include working with experts from all relevant fields as well as with national, provincial, territorial and Indigenous leaders. The Council will work with the federal Ministers of Health and Finance to recommend options on how to move forward on this file.
- In Halton, over 13,500 children live in low-income housing, and over one in ten children live in poverty. Finding a safe and affordable place to call home is an increasing challenge in our community. To encourage a stable supply of affordable rental housing across the country, the government has committed to providing $3.75 billion over the next three years to support housing projects that address the needs of modest- and middle-income households struggling in expensive housing markets.
- The government will provide an additional $448.5 million over five years to the Youth Employment Strategy, which will double the number of job placements funded under the Canada Summer Jobs Program and provide additional resources for a modernized Youth Employment Strategy in the coming years.
- Employment is the key to the successful integration of newcomers to Canada, but for many newcomer women, there are significant barriers, including both gender- and race-based discrimination, precarious employment and lack of community and social supports. To help reduce these barriers, the government has allocated $31.8 million to support programming for newcomer women who are also members of visible minorities.
- Unified Family Courts aim to simplify family justice procedures for Canadians experiencing issues including separation, divorce, support and custody disputes. To enhance access to justice and improve outcomes for Canadian families, the government will provide $77.2 million over four years to expand Unified Family Courts across the country, creating a more streamlined process for families who rely on these services.
Public safety and access to justice
Whether through the guarantee of a fair and equitable justice system, or the knowledge that their private information is secure, Canadians deserve to feel safe and protected. This budget commits to a number of measures that bolster the efficiency of Canada’s safety and security institutions without compromising our shared values as an open, inclusive and welcoming society.
- Addressing post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety officers has been an issue I have been deeply committed to throughout my tenure. Budget 2018 commits $20 million over five years to support a new national research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment that will work to address the incidence of post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety officers. The Budget also commits an additional $10 million over five years to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy pilot to provide greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers across Canada.
- The government will invest $90.6 million over five years to combat tax evasion and tax avoidance cases that have been identified both domestically and internationally.
- Budget 2018 commits $300,000 in funding for the Independent Advisory Board for the Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments to carry out a non-partisan, independent process to identify judicial candidates of the highest caliber and who represent the diversity of our country.
- Budget 2018 proposes investments of $506.6 million over five years, and $108.8 million per year thereafter, to fund a new National Cyber Security Strategy that will ensure secure and resilient Canadian systems, provide a trusted federal source for cyber security information for Canadian citizens and businesses, and support effective collaboration between different levels of government and international partners. The budget also commits $116.0 million over five years to the RCMP to bolster Canada’s ability to fight cybercrime
- Budget 2018 invests $3.4 million over five years in the Office of the Correctional Investigator. These funds will be used to enhance the Office’s investigative capacity, including its ability to examine Indigenous corrections and the overrepresentation of indigenous peoples in the federal corrections system. Budget 2018 also commits $20.4 million over five years for the Correctional Service of Canada to further support the mental health needs of federal inmates, with funds largely targeted towards providing enhanced mental health supports for women in corrections institutions.
I know that my constituents place great value on preserving Canada’s nature, parks and wild spaces. In Budget 2018, the government is making investments to preserve Canada’s natural heritage while helping to grow a healthy and sustainable clean economy.
- To support Canada’s biodiversity and protect species at risk, the government will make historic investments totalling $1.3 billion over five years – one of the most significant investments in nature conservation in Canadian history.
- An investment of $500 million will be made to create a new Nature Fund that will make it possible for the government to secure private land, support species protection efforts, and help build indigenous capacity to conserve land and species, for our benefit and the benefit of future generations.
- Our government recently introduced legislation to establish better rules for the review of major projects that will impact the environment. Budget 2018 allocates $1 billion over five years to support the proposed new impact assessment system, implement the changes required to protect water, fish and navigation, and increase Indigenous and public participation in these types of reviews.