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From rental supply to border patrol: Highlights of the 2019-20 federal budget

The Trudeau Government is promising billions of dollars for everything from compensating farmers to quelling the opioid overdose crisis.

CTV News Vancouver took a quick look at some of the highlights from the 2019-20 budget released Tuesday:

1. Housing

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Ottawa pledges to help first-time homebuyers with their mortgages with incentives for families with combined incomes less than $120,000.

The incentive applies only to mortgages no more than four times their income. Those who qualify will receive help to lower their monthly payments, though the amount will depend on several factors.

In addition, first-time buyers will be allowed to pull more from their retirement savings to help cover the costs, if needed. Previous rules meant buyers could only use $25,000. Under the new rules, they can take out $35,000.
 

2. Agriculture

The feds promised to compensate some Canadian farmers affected by the recent free-trade agreements with $2.15 billion over the next few years. In October, the prime minister hailed a landmark agreement as a victory, though Canada had to give up some access to its dairy, egg and poultry industries.

The budget does not say when the changes will be in place or how much money farmers will get.
 

3. Borders

The Liberals say they intend to stem the flow of asylum seekers crossing into Canada without using official entry points with a new enforcement strategy. The plan is expected to cost about $1.8 billion over five years.

4. Jobs

The government plans to spend billions of dollars on programs meant to help Canadians train for and retain their jobs. Morneau said the initiatives address what he called growing concerns that good jobs won’t last and young people will have a harder time finding employment.

Initiatives include a refundable tax credit for low-income earners and refunds for part of the cost of training fees at colleges, universities and other eligible institutions providing occupational skills training.
 

5. Opioids

To address an unprecedented rate of overdoses in Canada, the new budget proposes $30.5 million over five years for harm reduction and treatment programs. The money will also go to expanding access to safe supplies, and increasing response training programs and availability of Naloxone.
 

6. Rental construction

“The rental market is simply not keeping pace with growing demand – especially in large cities where rental vacancy rates hover around one per cent,” the budget reads.

To encourage an increase in supply, the government has earmarked an additional $10 billion over nine years, a number it suggests would support about 42,500 new rentals across Canada.
 

7. Electric car credits

The federal government proposes a purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles priced less than $45,000. The feds also suggest investing in more recharging stations, and paying auto manufacturers to ensure supply meets demand.

In addition, corporations looking to replace their fleets can get a full tax write-off the year they put the vehicles into use.
 

8. Retirement

If the budget is approved, Ottawa will put aside $9.6 million to cover the costs of proactively enrolling Canada Pension Plan contributors over the age of 70 who have not yet applied to receive their retirement benefit.

The 2019-20 plan also suggests appointing a Minister of Seniors and setting aside $6 billion over 10 years for home care, as well as investments in employment insurance, accessibility and housing.
 

9. Technology

The latest budget suggests expanding high-speed internet access further into rural, remote and northern communities. It estimates the investment will cost up to $1.7 billion.

The government pledges $144.9 million for cybersecurity initiatives including protection from cyberattacks and improving access to high-quality information to prevent the spread of “disinformation.”
 

10. Indigenous rights and reconciliation

The Liberals said they wish to expand previous measures meant to support priorities of Canada’s Indigenous communities. About $40 million is earmarked to help First Nations research and develop claims to address past wrongs and longstanding grievances, the document says.

Another $1.4 billion over seven years will be used to forgive outstanding loans and reimburse governments.

The budget also proposes spending about $80 million to fund surveys that will guide decision-making and future health, education, employment and language programs.

Another $48 million would go to supporting communities in need of advice and tools for governance and critical programs.


11. Health care

The government highlighted a few specific health care challenges it plans to address, including $50 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada for a national dementia strategy.

Another $36.5 million would go to issues surrounding organ donation, and sales tax relief measures are suggested for Canadians experiencing infertility, using in vitro methods, or using devices for foot problems.

The government also proposes $25 million over five years to support suicide prevention services, and $2.4 million over three years for research into the barriers around plasma donation. Other topics addressed in the budget include autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, blindness and food insecurity.


12. Poverty

Measures to address poverty include funding for artists, investments in gender equality initiatives, a new anti-racism strategy and further support for minority-language education. The feds also pledge to invest in sports programs, supports for veterans and a clarification to the Income Tax Act on financial assistance.
 

13. Policing

The Liberal government suggests giving the RCMP $508.6 million over five years to support operations, $77.3 million for enhanced border enforcement and about $70 million for enhanced capacity in initiatives including money laundering investigations.

Another $11.5 is earmarked for transportation security and $5.7 million for national economic security.


14. Natural disasters

The budget suggests spending $151.23 million over five years for improvements to emergency management. The money will go to prediction and early warning systems, as well as studies on the nature of risks posed by natural disasters.

It will also go toward assessments of Canadian infrastructure including water supply and energy grids.

Another $5 million would go to Public Safety Canada for awareness programs and $260 million for the provinces for local relief and recovery efforts.
 

15. “Access to justice”

The federal government has suggested the following funding for protection from violence and “promoting access to justice”:

  • $22.4 million over three years to fight child sexual exploitation online
  • An undisclosed amount for combatting human trafficking
  • $8.1 million over five years to help Canadians access legal education and information
  • $21.6 million over five years for Canadians going through divorce or separation
  • $2-$4 million per year to protect community gathering spaces from hate-motivated crimes

Read more about the specific plans and other priorities in the full budget, available online.

With files from The Canadian Press


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