I attended the Spring Fun Day of the Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec at Martin Luther King Park. Housefather, Anthony – M.P.

Dear Friends,

Over the last week I have had the opportunity to attend a night with my friend Noa Tishby at the Beth Israel Beth Aaron and want to thank both Noa and Rabbi Reuben Pouoko for their generous and kind remarks about me. I attended the Spring Fun Day of the Federation of Filipino Canadian Associations of Quebec at Martin Luther King Park and had the pleasure of speaking at a concert at the Chevra in honour of Roslyn Joseph and want to thank Rabbi Asher Jacobson for the invitation. On Monday evening I was in Toronto to speak at an event hosted by Na’amat Canada, an organization that has a long association with my family. On Tuesday I was back in Ottawa for the 2024 budget and this update will concentrate on giving everyone an overview of the budget whose theme is real generational fairness. How do we give Millennials and Generation Z’s the same opportunities that existed in previous generations? I also want to note that I am very pleased that after an investment of an initial $20 million dollars from the Government of Canada there is now an additional $5 million going to the Montreal Holocaust Museum in the Budget. I had worked hard with Montreal Holocaust Museum President Jacques Saada to obtain these funds and they will help ensure the construction of the new museum will occur.

But I also want to assure everyone that I have followed up this week in speaking with relevant Ministers and PMO officials to follow up on Iran’s attack on Israel on Saturday. I provided input on the government statement which I was pleased with, but I have followed up on two main issues. The first is continuing to demand that the IRGC be declared to be a terrorist organization and the second is pushing for the government to announce that it will resume in authorizing the license of military technology to be shipped to Israel. I have also been pushing hard on the issue of protected zones outside of schools, places of worship and community centers.

The Budget          

Budget 2024 was presented this Tuesday by our Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland. This is an extensive document, which I will try to summarize to the best of my ability. For those who wish to consult the budget in its entirety, this can be done here: https://budget.canada.ca/2024/home-accueil-en.html?utm_campaign=fin-fin-budget-24-25&utm_medium=webfeat&utm_source=canada-ca

Safer, Healthier Communities

  • Proposing $273.6 million for Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate to support community outreach and law enforcement reform, tackle the rise in hate crimes, enhance community security, counter radicalization, and increase support for victims.
    • Proposing $7.3 million to address the rise in Antisemitism.
  • Cracking down on auto theft with a robust plan to make it harder to steal vehicles and to export stolen vehicles and moving forward with additional penalties under the Criminal Code for those who commit an auto-theft related offence.
  • Keeping our streets safe by taking assault weapons off our streets with a proposed investment of $30.4 million for the buyback of assault-style firearms, sourced from existing departmental resources.
  • Supporting Canadians in their access to justice with $440 million towards access to legal aid in the criminal justice system.
  • Supporting Canada’s national athletes as they train to compete for Canada at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this summer and beyond, with a $35 million funding increase for support athletes and $16 million to help create a safer and more welcoming sport environment for all athletes.
  • Keeping our children safe by protecting them from online harm and supporting Kids Help Phone.

More Affordable Homes

We all know that the housing crisis is not a simple fix, and we are working towards implementing several measures to help Canadians. This is what we are doing:

Building More Homes

  • Building Homes on Public Lands with the new Public Lands for Homes Plan, the federal government will unlock 250,000 new homes by 2031, by using all tools available to convert public lands to housing (such as unused or underused office towers or parking lots), including leasing, acquiring other public lands for housing, and retaining ownership, whenever possible.
  • Building Homes on Canada Post Properties by taking steps to enable Canada Post to Prioritize leasing or divestment of post office Properties and lands with high Potential for housing. This plan would make sure postal service is not disrupted and maintain Canada Post’s role as a “service first” Organization focused on delivering the mail.
  • Converting Underused Federal Offices Into Homes with $1.1 billion over ten years to transform 50 per cent of the federal office portfolio into housing, which will save $3.9 billion over the next ten years, with $0.9 billion per year in ongoing savings. This would enable more office buildings, particularly in urban areas, to be converted into homes for Canadians.
  • Taxing Vacant Lands to Incentivize Construction—at a Time when we have a housing crisis, vacant land needs to be used, and it is best used to build homes. The government will launch Consultations later this year on a potential tax on residentially zoned vacant land.
  • Building Apartments, Bringing Rents Down with a $15 billion top-up to the Apartment Construction Loan Program, which will build 30,000 more new homes across Canada. This brings the program’s total to $55 billion in low-cost financing, and the program’s total contribution to over 131,000 new homes by 2031-32.
  • Scaling-Up Modular Housing to build a housing economy that can build homes year-round, unlocking winter—nearly six months of the year in many regions—to ensure we can build at the pace and scale needed to solve Canada’s housing crisis.
  • Introducing an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for new purpose-built rental projects to enable homebuilders to increase their cashflow, and more quickly reinvest into more projects, create more jobs, and build more apartments. This will help move more apartment projects from unfeasible to feasible.
  • Launching Canada Builds to lead a Team Canada effort to build the homes needed to solve the housing crisis. Canada Builds will leverage the now $55 billion Apartment Construction Loan Program to partner with provinces and territories that launch Ambitious plans to build more rental housing. This includes cutting development approval Timelines to no longer than 12 to 18 months, and meeting all of the program’s affordability criteria.
  • Topping-Up the Housing Accelerator Fund with $400 million to build an additional 12,000 homes, because it is working. The now $4.4 billion Fund, on-track to spur the construction of 750,000 new homes over the next decade, will help more communities benefit from cutting red tape to fast-track the Creation of more homes.
  • A New $6 billion Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund to help communities build the essential infrastructure needed to support more homes, and more vibrant, and livable neighbourhoods.
  • Leveraging Transit Funding to Build More Homes, so that more homes get built faster and closer to the services that Canadians count on. Access to the government’s forthcoming permanent public transit fund will require municipalities to eliminate mandatory minimum parking requirements near transit stations and allow high-density housing near transit stations and post-secondary institutions.
  • Housing Design Catalogue, which will provide blueprints that can be used across the country to speed up the construction of new homes, such as modular housing, row housing, fourplexes, six plexes, and accessory dwelling units. Provinces, territories, and municipalities could use the housing design catalogue to simplify and accelerate housing approvals and builds.
  • More Skilled Trades Workers Building Homes by encouraging more people to pursue a career in the skilled trades and breaking down barriers to foreign credential recognition, particularly for construction workers. The federal government is creating apprenticeship opportunities to train and recruit the next generation of skilled trades workers.

Making It Easier to Own or Rent a Home

  • Aligning Immigration with Housing Capacity, to ensure Canada can continue to successfully welcome new Canadians. Starting this fall, for the first time, the government’s immigration Levels Plan will include both temporary resident admissions and permanent resident admissions. Our ultimate goal is to ensure a well-managed, responsive, and sustainable immigration system to help balance housing supply with housing demand.
  • Credit for Paying Rent, to help renters more easily qualify for a mortgage, and maybe even at a lower rate, by establishing the expectation that lenders take on-time rental payment history into account when performing credit evaluations for mortgage applications.
  • Protecting Renters’ Rights with a new Tenant Protections Fund and a new Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights—because renters shouldn’t have to face steep rent hikes, renovictions, or bad landlords alone. The government intends to work, in collaboration with provincial and territorial partners, to crack down on renovictions, introduce a nationwide standard lease agreement, and require landlords to disclose historical rent prices of apartments.
  • 30-Year Amortizations for First-Time Buyers Purchasing New Builds, with insured mortgages, to make it easier for younger Canadians to enter the housing market by enabling lower mortgage payments and get those first keys to their first home, while they climb the income ladder.
  • Increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan from $35,000 to $60,000 to enable first-time home buyers to use the tax benefits of an RRSP to save up to $25,000 more for their down payment faster, available to first-time buyers after April 16, 2024.
  • Enhancing the Canadian Mortgage Charter, which helps ensure homeowners know of the fair, reasonable, and Timely mortgage relief they can seek and receive from their financial institutions. Enhancements to the Canadian Mortgage Charter will include: setting the expectation that lenders give credit for on-time rent payments and provide up to 30-year mortgage amortizations for first-time buyers of new builds, and more detailed expectations for lenders, such as more proactively contacting mortgage holders and making permanent amortization relief available for homeowners in financial difficulty meeting eligibility criteria.
  • Advancing National Flood Insurance to lower costs and worries for homeowners about the potential damage to their home in the event of the increasingly frequent natural disasters caused by climate change.
  • Confronting the Financialization of Housing, by announcing an intention to restrict the purchase and acquisition of existing single-family homes by very large, corporate investors.

Helping Canadians Who Can’t Afford a Home

  • Enhancing the Affordable Housing Fund, with an additional $1 billion top-up to enable the now $15 billion program to support more deeply affordable housing, supportive housing, and shelters for the most vulnerable, and launch a permanent Rapid Housing Stream.
  • Protecting and Expanding Affordable Housing by creating a new $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund that will provide $1 billion in loans and $470 million in contributions to support affordable housing providers to acquire units and preserve rents at stable levels for decades to come, preventing those units from being redeveloped into out of reach condos or luxury rental units.
  • Keeping Non-Profit and Co-op Homes Affordable by introducing new flexibilities to the Federal Community Housing Initiatives to ensure eligible housing providers can access funding to maintain affordability for low-income tenants and co-op members.
  • Lower Energy Bills for Renters and Homeowners by increasing support for energy efficient home retrofits, including launching a new Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program.
  • Addressing Homelessness and Encampments, which impact every community in Canada, and affect the most vulnerable Canadians, by providing $1.3 billion in additional funding to help communities scale-up their efforts to provide better care and more shelter to people experiencing homelessness.

Growing Small Businesses

  • The New Canada Carbon Rebate for Small Businesses to urgently return proceeds from the price on pollution from 2019-20 through 2023-24 to an estimated 600,000 businesses in provinces where the federal backstop applies, with 499 or fewer employees through a new refundable tax credit. This would deliver over $2.5 billion directly to these small- and medium sized businesses.
  • Empowering Young Entrepreneurs with an investment of $60 million over five years for Futurpreneur Canada, which is a national not-for-profit organization that provides young entrepreneurs with access to financing, mentorship, and other business supports to help them launch and grow their business. By 2029, Futurpreneur Canada estimates this investment will enable an estimated 6,250 additional businesses owned by young Canadians to launch and scale-up their businesses.
  • Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption Increase from the current amount of $1,016,836 in capital gains tax-free on the sale of small business shares and farming and fishing property to $1.25 million, effective June 25, 2024. The Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption will continue to be indexed to inflation thereafter. In 2025, Canadians with eligible capital gains of below $2.25 million will be better off under these changes.
  • A new Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive to reduce the inclusion rate to 33.3 per cent on a lifetime maximum of $2 million in eligible capital gains. When this incentive is fully rolled out, entrepreneurs will have a combined exemption of at least $3.25 million when selling all or part of a business.
  • Investing in Canadian Start-ups with $200 million over two years, starting in 2026-27, on a cash basis, to increase access to venture capital for equity-deserving entrepreneurs, and to invest in underserved communities and outside key metropolitan hubs.
  • Boosting Government Procurement from Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses, by announcing the government’s intention to propose legislated procurement targets for small- and medium sized businesses and innovative firms.

Fairness for the Younger Generations

  • Launching a bold strategy to unlock 3.87 million new homes by 2031, which includes a minimum of 2 million net new homes on top of the 1.87 million homes expected to be built anyway by 2031. Of the 2 million net new homes, the government’s actions would support a minimum of 1.2 million net new homes.
  • Extending increased student grants and interest-free loans at an estimated total cost of $1.1 billion this year. We have already helped 638,000 low- and middle-income students every year, on average, since 2016 to pursue their education, regardless of their background. The extension of increased grants will support 587,000 students and increased interest-free loans will support 652,000 students, with a combined $7.3 billion for the upcoming academic year.
  • Helping students with the cost of housing by updating the formula that is used by the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program to calculate housing costs when determining financial need, to reflect the cost of housing today. This will deliver more student aid for rent to approximately 79,000 students each year at an estimated cost of $154.6 million over five years.
  • Building more student housing by relaxing eligibility conditions for the removal of GST on new student residences for not-for-profit universities, public colleges, and school authorities. Building more student housing is good for young people and makes sure there is a fair rental market for everyone by also reducing demand on existing housing supply in adjacent communities.
  • Giving renters credit for on-time rental payments, by calling on banks, fintechs, credit bureaus, and landlords to allow renters to use their rent payment history to improve their credit score, making it easier to get a mortgage, and maybe even at a lower rate.
  • A Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights, to be developed with provinces and territories, to help protect renters from steep rent hikes and renovictions, standardize leases, and require landlords to share rent price history with potential new tenants.
  • Supporting young entrepreneurs by proposing $60 million for Futurpreneur Canada, which has already helped over 17,700 young entrepreneurs to launch more than 13,900 businesses across the country. This renewed investment will enable an estimated 6,250 additional businesses owned by young people.
  • Creating more jobs for Gen Z by providing $207.6 million for the Student Work Placement Program to create more work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students and help businesses attract and train skilled and trained individuals, addressing a significant challenge—finding the right talent.
  • Creating 90,000 youth job placements and employment support opportunities by proposing $351.2 million to provide well-paying summer job opportunities through Canada Summer Jobs and provide job placements and employment supports through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
  • Launching a new Youth Mental Health Fund to ensure that younger generations have the access they need to mental health supports so that they can have a healthy start to adulthood. We are proposing an investment of $500 million to ensure youth have access to mental health supports in their community.
  • Helping students acquire coding skills by advancing the next phase of CanCode, with an investment of $39.2 million. CanCode has helped over 4.5 million students—from kindergarten through grade 12—to develop coding and digital skills, priming kids for success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Supporting after-school learning with a proposed investment of $67.5 million to help all Canadian students reach their full potential. After-school learning and supports play an important role in helping students succeed in their academic pursuits, especially for at-risk students.

Boosting Research, Innovation and Productivity

  • Enhancing Research Support and Federal Research Grants, with $3.5 billion in new strategic research infrastructure and federal research support, including investments in modern, high quality research facilities and infrastructure, which are essential for breakthroughs in Canadian research and science. This also includes $2.4 billion for core research grants and to foster homegrown, top-tier research talent by streamlining and enhancing scholarships and fellowships through Canada’s research granting councils. Boosting research support will ensure our industries and businesses can hire the talent they need to increase productivity and remain on the cutting edge.
  • Modernizing the Scientific Research & Experimental Development tax incentives and further capitalizing the program with $600 million over four years, and $150 million per year ongoing, to boost research and innovation.

Strengthening Investment and Business Growth

  • Delivering, by the end of this year, major economic investment tax credits to attract private investment, create more jobs, and drive Canada’s economy towards net-zero by 2050. Budget 2024 also announces expanded eligibility for the Clean Technology Manufacturing investment tax credit, allowing more businesses to benefit.
  • A new Electric Vehicle (EV) Supply Chain investment tax credit to support the EV supply chain and secure the future of Canada’s automotive industry.
  • Growing Canada’s biofuels sector, to help decarbonize heavy industry and heavy transportation, such as marine, aviation, and rail.
  • Extending for an additional year the Canada-U.S. Energy Transformation Task Force, to continue close collaboration with our largest trading partner, including bolstering critical mineral and nuclear energy supply chain integration.
  • Getting projects built faster by announcing a suite of measures to improve the regulatory and permitting processes, focused on clarifying and reducing timelines, working towards “one project one review”, and improving engagement and partnerships, including with Indigenous partners.

Helping Businesses Grow

  • Solving the housing crisis with a bold plan to build nearly 4 million homes by 2031, which is critical to lower housing costs for Canadians, and ensuring that workers can afford to live near work. Shorter commutes increase productivity. More homes for workers give businesses the confidence they need to create more jobs. More affordable homes give entrepreneurs the cashflow they need to launch their next endeavour.
  • Introducing an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for new purpose-built rental projects to enable homebuilders to increase their cashflow, and more quickly reinvest into more projects, create more jobs, and build more apartments. This will help move more apartment projects from unfeasible to feasible.
  • Investing in Infrastructure to grow our communities and enable more homes to be built, including through the new Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund, the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s Housing Initiative, and by delivering an estimated $57.3 billion in support of infrastructure projects across the country from 2023-24 until 2028-29.
  • Introducing an Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for innovation-enabling and productivity enhancing assets, such as computers and data network infrastructure. By providing businesses with enhanced write-offs for their investments, they will be able to increase their cashflow, create more jobs, and make their businesses more productive and innovative.
  • The new Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive to provide a tax break for entrepreneurs, ensuring they benefit from the fruits of their hard work while facing lower tax burdens.
  • Encouraging Canadian Pension Funds to Invest in Canada, through a working group led by Stephen Poloz (former Governor of the Bank of Canada) and supported by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. The working group will focus on growing Canadians’ pensions savings, spurring innovation, and driving economic growth in areas including digital infrastructure and AI, physical infrastructure, building homes on public lands, and removing the 30 per cent rule for domestic investments.
  • Putting the capital of financial Crown corporations to work more efficiently and ensuring they better address market gaps by taking on more risk, including additional support for new and high-growth businesses, emerging sectors, and under-financed equity-deserving groups.

Cutting Red Tape to Boost Innovation and Business Growth

  • National Regulatory Alignment to break down the barriers to internal trade that are preventing Canada from reaching its full economic potential and holding back businesses from trading across provincial and territorial borders. Aligning regulations could increase Canada’s GDP per capita by as much as 4 per cent, according to the IMF—and the federal government is taking action to get this done.
  • Advancing work on regulatory “sandboxes” to help create temporary agile rules and approaches that allow businesses to reach their full potential, instead of holding them back.
  • Foreign Credential Recognition for health care professionals, to unlock the full potential of everyone in Canada to practice in the career for which they are already qualified. There are an estimated 198,000 internationally educated health professionals employed in Canada, but only 58 per cent—114,000 workers—have employment in their chosen field. Red tape is holding back tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals—and the federal government is investing to create 120 specific training positions, increase assessment capacity, and provide support to navigate credential recognition systems.
  • Foreign Credential Recognition for construction workers, with an investment of $50 million to streamline the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, which has already helped over 9,000 skilled newcomers receive work placements, and another 20,000 workers receive low-cost loans to minimize the cost of practicing their trade in Canada. This will help ensure everyone in Canada who has the skills needed to build more homes can do so. The federal government is calling on provinces and territories to urgently streamline their trades certification standards for interprovincial consistency.

Responsible Macroeconomic Management

  • Attracting business investment by maintaining the lowest marginal effective tax rate (METR) in the G7, at an advantage of 5.2 percentage points compared to the United States, and at a level below the OECD average. Canada’s manufacturing sector is particularly competitive at 7.5 per cent—an advantage of 14.3 percentage points over the United States.
  • Adopting a fiscal strategy that complements rather than contradicts monetary policy

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