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Rusnak Around the Riding: Investing in the middle class

This month Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Budget 2018 and our government’s plan to continue investing in the middle class.
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This month Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Budget 2018 and our government’s plan to continue investing in the middle class. The plan focuses on strengthening the programs that make the biggest difference in people’s lives, and making those benefits easier to get. This includes things like the Canada Child Benefit, EI benefits for shared parental leave, EI benefits for seasonal workers, and targeted supports for women in the trades. For those with a lower income, we’re introducing the Canada Workers Benefit – a stronger, bigger and more accessible program that replaces the Working Income Tax Benefit.

The CWB will offer more money to help with the cost of basics like food and clothes, so that a low-income worker earning $15,000 could receive up to almost $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than under the WITB in 2018. By making this benefit more generous, and by automatically giving the benefit to all those who qualify, we will help lift about 70,000 more Canadians out of poverty by 2020. This is great news for the economy, workers and middle class of Northwestern Ontario!

Budget 2018 also invests $100 million into developing technologies that could extend and improve access to broadband internet service in rural areas as proof of this government’s commitment to Northern Ontario and all of rural Canada. Another significant investment specific to the region is a $28 million over 5 years increase in Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor) funding, of which $6 million will be dedicated specifically to supporting women entrepreneurs.

Additionally, Budget 2018 makes significant investments in science and research, which is great news for universities and colleges across the country including Thunder Bay. This funding covers increases in grants for research, monies for overhead costs, and a focus on investing in the latest tools and equipment. By investing in science and research, our government is ensuring Canadians have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to compete with innovative thinkers around the world.

With the understanding that Canada is stronger when all people are living in thriving communities, Budget 2018 also makes significant investments to improve conditions in First Nation communities across Canada. Investments for Indigenous health, housing, access to clean drinking water, and the new Indigenous Skills and Employment Training Program are included in an effort support Indigenous communities.

Budget 2018 additionally makes investments in maintaining our border crossings, which are extremely important for regions such as Thunder Bay—Rainy River. Budget 2018 invests $85.5 million in 2018-19 to enable to Canada Border Services Agency to continue achieving its goal of managing Canada’s borders, enforcing laws governing trade and travel and stopping people and goods that pose a potential threat to Canada from crossing the border.

Finally, mining and agriculture also are seeing increased support in Budget 2018. The Mineral Exploration Tax Credit will receive a one year extension, while Canadian agriculture exports will receive increased financial support to help them reach new markets.

Over the last two years, Canada’s economic growth has been fueled by a stronger middle class. Canadians’ hard work, combined with historic investments in people and in communities, has helped to create more good jobs – almost 600,000 of them since November 2015 – while providing more help for those who need it most. This has meant more money for people to save, invest, and spend in their communities. This a plan that puts people first, builds on the hard work of Canadians, and keeps us squarely focused on the future—so that our children have better opportunities to follow their dreams, find good jobs, and give back to their community.