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The Government is committed to promoting safe communities and protecting the health of individual Canadians. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- Expanding health-related tax relief under the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) and income tax systems to better meet the health care needs of Canadians.
- $51.2 million over the next two years to strengthen Canada’s food safety system.
- Financial support for employers of Canada’s military reservists to offset costs incurred when part-time reservists sign up for full-time duty.
- Announcing enhanced support for the Victims Fund in the coming months.
The Government is committed to preserving Canada’s diverse cultural treasures and improving the quality of life in communities across the country. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- Announcing the Government’s intent to explore with interested First Nations the option of moving forward with legislation that would allow private property ownership within current reserve boundaries.
- Providing $330.8 million over two years to build and renovate on-reserve water infrastructure and support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nations communities.
- Providing $11.9 million in 2012–13 to support shelter services and violence prevention programming on reserves.
- Continuing to explore social finance instruments as a way to further encourage the development of government-community partnerships.
- Supporting major exhibitions at Canadian museums and galleries by modernizing the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program.
- Continuing support to ParticipACTION and Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie.
- Providing up to $99.2 million over three years to assist the provinces and territories with the cost of permanent flood mitigation measures undertaken for the 2011 floods.
The Government is committed to expanding government support for families, students, seniors and pensioners, and persons with disabilities. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- Providing $1.4 million annually to ensure that Wage Earner Protection Program applicants receive the benefits they are entitled to when they need them.
- Requiring federally regulated private sector employers to insure, on a go-forward basis, any long-term disability plans they offer to their employees.
- Helping Canadians with severe disabilities and their families by improving the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
The Government is committed to preserving Canada’s natural beauty. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes:
- $50 million over two years to protect wildlife species at risk.
- The creation of Canada’s first national near-urban park in the Rouge Valley in Ontario.
- Expanding the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of bioenergy equipment.
Economic Action Plan 2012 builds on previous measures the Government has taken since 2006 to create a safe and clean environment for all Canadians. Some of these measures are designed to preserve Canada’s natural heritage, such as protecting species at risk and creating Canada’s first national near-urban park.
The recent Crown-First Nations Gathering underscored the Government’s commitment to work with First Nations on shared priorities. Economic Action Plan 2012 supports this commitment by introducing initiatives to enhance economic potential on First Nations lands, improve water quality in First Nations communities, and address family violence on reserves.
Economic Action Plan 2012 will expand on investments to promote the health and safety of individual Canadians and families, including providing GST/HST and income tax relief on several health-related goods and services, and supporting the employers of military reservists.
Building on significant tax relief provided since 2006, the Government continues to invest in measures to support Canada’s families. Economic Action Plan 2012 delivers on this priority, for example, through improvements to the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
The Government also provides significant funding to provinces in support of health, education and other programs and services. In 2012–13, federal support to provinces and territories through major transfers and other direct targeted support will reach an all-time high of $60.9 billion—an increase of 43 per cent since 2005–06.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to expand health-related tax relief under the GST/HST and income tax systems to better meet the health care needs of Canadians.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes a number of changes to the tax treatment of health-related goods and services in order to reflect the evolving nature of the health sector and the health care needs of Canadians, including:
- Exempting pharmacists’ professional services from the GST/HST, other than prescription drug dispensing services, which are already zero-rated under the GST/HST.
- Expanding the list of health care professionals who can order certain medical and assistive devices zero-rated under the GST/HST to reflect the increasing involvement of health care professionals, such as nurses, in giving orders for these devices.
- Expanding the list of GST/HST zero-rated medical and assistive devices and the list of expenses an individual may claim for income tax purposes under the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) to include blood coagulation monitors for use by individuals who require anti-coagulation therapy.
The changes to the GST/HST health-related measures will generally be effective March 30, 2012. It is estimated that these changes will reduce federal revenues by $3 million in each of 2012–13 and 2013–14.
Changes to the METC will apply for the 2012 and subsequent taxation years, and are estimated to reduce federal revenues by a small amount in each of 2012–13 and 2013–14.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $51.2 million over the next two years to continue measures to strengthen Canada’s food safety system.
Following the release of the Weatherill Report to address food safety risks, the Government launched several measures in 2009 to enhance surveillance and early detection and improve response capabilities to food-borne illness emergencies. To support the ongoing effectiveness of Canada’s food safety system, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $51.2 million over the next two years for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada to continue these measures. The Government is also pursuing complementary activities to strengthen Canada’s food safety system, including plans to streamline and accelerate the process by which foods are regulated.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes action to provide financial support to employers of reservists, to offset costs incurred when part-time reservists sign up for full-time duty.
Canada’s reservists make an extraordinary commitment and many personal sacrifices to keep Canadians safe. They are called upon to serve abroad for extended periods, which can place significant financial strain on their employers—particularly small businesses. With assistance from Canada Company: Many Ways to Serve, which builds the bridge between business and community leaders and the Canadian Forces, the Government is working to ensure our reservists remain gainfully employed and that members of our military receive the widest support, care and recognition they deserve for the important contributions they make to Canada.
Building on the Government’s commitment to support the men and women of our armed forces, Economic Action Plan 2012 commits to providing financial support to employers of reservists to offset costs such as the hiring and training of replacement workers or increasing overtime hours for existing employees. Details of this program will be announced by the Government in the coming months.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to build on the Budget 2011 investment and will announce enhanced support for the Victims Fund in the coming months.
Victims of crime deserve to have a strong and effective voice in the federal justice and corrections systems. Budget 2011 renewed the Federal Victims Strategy, which enhanced programming and supported the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. The Government will announce further support to the Victims Fund in the coming months.
Since 2006, the Government has increased support for victims of crime to ensure they have an effective voice in the federal justice and corrections systems:
- Budget 2006 provided $65 million over five years for a Federal Victims Strategy. This included the creation of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime and enhancing the Victims Fund to increase access to the justice system.
- Budget 2010 provided $16.5 million over five years for additional programs for victims of crime, including support for Child Advocacy Centres.
- Budget 2010 also provided $25 million over five years to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. This funding includes support for victims.
- Budget 2011 renewed, and made permanent, the Federal Victims Strategy at a funding level of $13 million per year.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $8 million per year to cover the costs of licensing nuclear equipment and substances at educational institutions, medical institutions and government departments.
As Canada’s nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission protects the health, safety and security of Canadians and supports Canada’s international commitments on the peaceful use of nuclear energy. To cover the costs associated with licensing nuclear equipment and substances at educational institutions, medical institutions and government departments, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $8 million per year for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Economic Action Plan 2012 announces the Government’s intent to explore with interested First Nations the option of moving forward with legislation that would allow private property ownership within current reserve boundaries.
The Government of Canada continues to work with First Nations to create conditions to accelerate economic development opportunities. At the historic Crown-First Nations Gathering, the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations agreed to launch within three months an economic task force that would report back in a timely fashion with recommendations to further unlock the economic potential of First Nations peoples.
This work will build on steps the Government has already taken to enable interested First Nations to assume greater control over their reserve lands, resources and environment, notably through the First Nations Land Management Act. First Nations that opt in to this Act can better pursue and seize economic opportunities. This puts First Nations in more direct control of their economic development, helping them build a brighter future in which their communities are self-sufficient and prosperous.
Budget 2011 reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to expand the First Nations Land Management regime by committing to reallocate up to $20 million over two years to respond to the growing interest from First Nations leaders to participate. This allowed the Government to introduce 18 new entrants to the regime in January 2012, bringing the total number of First Nations that are operating or developing their own land codes to 56.
Some First Nations have expressed an interest in exploring the possibility of legislation that would allow private property ownership within current reserve boundaries. Economic Action Plan 2012 announces the Government’s intent to explore with interested First Nations the option of moving forward with legislation that would allow for this. The Government will continue to work with First Nations to address barriers to economic development on reserve.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $330.8 million over two years to build and renovate water infrastructure on reserve and to support the development of a long-term strategy to improve water quality in First Nations communities.
Many First Nations continue to face challenges ensuring access to safe water in their communities despite significant investments by the Government to help improve water systems. Since 2006, the Government has invested around $2.5 billion to assist First Nations in the construction, maintenance and operation of water and wastewater systems in their communities. This includes the completion of over 130 major projects and funding for the operation and maintenance of over 1,200 water or wastewater systems. The Government remains committed to improving the health and safety of First Nations communities.
Earlier this year, the Government introduced the Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act to ensure First Nations have access to safe and reliable drinking water. This bill will allow the Government, in collaboration with First Nations, to develop federal regulations for access to safe drinking water, and to ensure the effective treatment of wastewater and the protection of sources of drinking water on reserve.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $11.9 million for the Family Violence Prevention Program in 2012–13, bringing the total budget for the program to $30.4 million for an additional year.
The Government has taken steps to improve the lives of women and children on reserve. Budget 2010 invested $25 million over five years to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. In addition, legislation was introduced in 2011 to provide fairer treatment of marital property on reserve upon the dissolution of a marriage.
That said, numerous First Nations communities continue to experience family violence that threatens the ability to safely raise a family. Ensuring shelter services and violence prevention programming are available to on-reserve communities is an important element of addressing these serious security concerns.
Economic Action Plan 2012 commits to working with Aboriginal communities and organizations, provinces and territories to improve the mental health and well-being of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Health Canada currently invests over $100 million annually to support mental health programs and services for Aboriginal peoples through community-level mental health initiatives, addiction and substance abuse treatment centres, and the National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy. The Government has also provided significant support to Health Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program, which provides mental health and emotional support services to former students and their families.
Economic Action Plan 2012 announces that the Government will continue to explore social finance instruments as a way to further encourage the development of government-community partnerships.
The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development is modernizing the administration of grants and contributions to reduce red tape and make it easier to access funding. The Minister is also testing ways to maximize the impact of federal spending to support community-level partnerships, including pay-for-performance agreements and encouraging leveraging of private sector resources.
Building on these partnerships and the work of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance, the Government will continue to support the momentum building around social finance initiatives and will explore social finance instruments. For example, social impact bonds hold promise as a tool to further encourage the development of government-community partnerships. Details will be announced by the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development over the coming months.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes additional support to museums and galleries through the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program to help attract new exhibitions.
The Government recognizes that arts and culture is an important generator of jobs and growth. In challenging economic times, Canada’s Economic Action Plan included investments in culture, such as periodicals and the audiovisual sector. The Government also chose to increase funding for arts and culture during the global economic recession, providing economic stimulus through additional cultural infrastructure funding. The Government believes that supporting the arts is essential to supporting Canada’s economy and quality of life and will continue strong support for Canadian culture.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to further support Canada’s museums by strengthening the Canada Travelling Exhibitions Indemnification Program, which helps Canadian museums and art galleries reduce their insurance costs when hosting major exhibitions. To achieve this, the Government will introduce legislation to raise the indemnification limit from $1.5 billion to $3 billion. This increased support will be complemented by a change to the calculation period and an increase in the maximum level of support per exhibition, from $450 million to $600 million. These important modernization initiatives will help art galleries and museums attract more internationally acclaimed treasures to Canada. Canadians are proud of their museums. Taken together, national and local museums in communities all across Canada are some of the best in the world. The Government created two new national museums: the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg. Canadians value museums, the stories they tell, the collections they house, and the role they play in preserving culture. Because of this, Economic Action Plan 2012 will maintain funding for Canada’s national museums.
While continuing to recognize the importance of cultural institutions to Canada’s social and cultural fabric, the Government is maintaining funding for the Canada Council for the Arts. For over 50 years, the Canada Council for the Arts has been the leading supporter of Canadian artists. The Government has increased funding for the Canada Council to its highest funding level ever. Economic Action Plan 2012 will maintain record support for the Canada Council for the Arts by providing cultural communities with funding stability.
Important commemorations for the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 will boost tourism and allow Canadians to celebrate their history. The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is also an opportunity for Canadians to take pride in their history. Over the next four years, the Government’s investments will increase Canadians’ awareness of this defining moment in Canada’s history.
The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 is just one of many events that are bringing Canadians together as the country moves closer to Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, which will also include celebrations around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Canada’s two official languages are an integral part of Canadian history and identity. The Government’s commitment to official languages has been recognized internationally. In 2009, the Prime Minister was honoured with the highest international award of merit for support to the Francophonie. The Government’s five-year “Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008–2013” represents the most comprehensive investment in Canada's official languages in Canada’s history. Economic Action Plan 2012 will continue support for official languages by maintaining funding to protect, celebrate and enhance Canada’s linguistic duality.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes continued support to ParticipACTION and to Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie.
The Government recognizes the role that participation in sport plays in promoting more active lifestyles and healthier, stronger communities.
Since coming to office, the Government has ensured that Canadian athletes are provided the support needed to reach the podium at every opportunity possible. This includes significant investment in high-performance sport including support to athletes, national sport organizations, and hosting of major international sporting events.
In 2015, Canada will again play host as Toronto welcomes the Americas for the Pan American and Parapan American Games. To ensure these Games are a success, the Government of Canada will invest, as its contribution, over $450 million to give our world-class athletes the opportunity to compete in state-of-the-art sport facilities. This significant investment will leave a lasting sport legacy for Canadians for years to come, and will bring economic prosperity throughout the Greater Toronto Area.
As announced in Budget 2011, the Government has increased its ongoing support to Special Olympics Canada to help enrich the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport and competition in Special Olympics events.
In addition, Economic Action Plan 2012 continues investments in ParticipACTION, which works with provincial and local partners to deliver community-based physical activity and fitness programs. Economic Action Plan 2012 also confirms further support to Le Grand défi Pierre Lavoie. Details on both initiatives will be announced in the coming months.
The Government is proud to make these investments, which will contribute to the well-being of Canadians across the country and the communities in which they live.
To expand the provision of primary health services to Canadians in rural and remote communities, Budget 2011 announced that the Government would forgive a portion of Canada Student Loans for new family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners who practise in underserved rural or remote communities, including communities that provide health services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.
Starting in 2012–13, family physicians who meet the program criteria, including family medical residents in training with an accredited medical school in Canada, will be eligible for federal Canada Student Loan forgiveness of up to $8,000 per year to a maximum of $40,000, while nurse practitioners and nurses will be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000.
The Government will act to ensure that Canadians living in rural Canada have access to the same high-quality broadband services as other Canadians.
As part of the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, $225 million was provided to Industry Canada over three years to develop and implement a strategy to extend broadband coverage to as many underserved households as possible. The biggest component of this strategy is the Broadband Canada: Connecting Rural Canadians program, which has helped provide broadband access to over 210,000 additional households.
The Government recognizes that high-quality broadband networks are essential for enhancing local economic opportunities and for providing access to valuable services. In 2013, the Government plans to hold spectrum auctions for the 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz spectrum bands. In the spectrum auction involving the 700 MHz band, the Government will be implementing specific measures to ensure that Canadians living in rural Canada are able to receive the same high-quality services that are available to the rest of Canadians. Companies that have access to more than one block of the 700 MHz band, through the auction or through spectrum sharing, will be required to deploy new advanced services to 90 per cent of the population in their coverage area within five years and to 97 per cent within seven years.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes up to $99.2 million over three years for permanent flood mitigation measures undertaken for the 2011 floods.
The Government is providing support to the many communities affected by recent natural disasters, and is committed to working with other levels of government to build safer and more resilient communities. The Government has worked with the provinces and territories to identify permanent mitigation measures that were undertaken for the floods of 2011. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes up to $99.2 million over three years to assist the provinces and territories with the cost of permanent flood mitigation measures undertaken for the 2011 floods.
The Government is also committed to discussing with the provinces and territories the development of a national disaster mitigation program, recognizing that mitigation can lessen the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable communities and reduce the costs associated with these events.
Since 2006, this Government has introduced measures targeted to help families, students, seniors and pensioners, workers, persons with disabilities, and communities, including an ambitious agenda of personal income tax relief. Economic Action Plan 2012 also proposes a number of measures to improve the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
Since 2006, the Government has implemented an ambitious agenda of tax relief for families and individual Canadians, aimed at creating a tax system that fuels job creation and growth in the economy and allowing Canadians to keep more of their hard-earned money. Tax reductions have also rewarded Canadians for realizing their full potential, and have given individuals and families the flexibility to make the choices that are right for them.
In total, the Government is providing almost $160 billion in tax relief for individuals and families over 2008–09 and the following five fiscal years. For instance:
- The Government reduced the GST rate by 2 percentage points, benefiting all Canadians—even those who do not earn enough to pay personal income tax. Maintaining the GST Credit level while reducing the GST rate by 2 percentage points translates into more than $1.1 billion in GST Credit benefits annually for low- and modest-income Canadians.
- The Government increased the amount of income that all Canadians can earn before paying federal income tax. Those who earn enough to pay tax also benefit from the reduction in the lowest personal income tax rate to 15 per cent from 16 per cent. Taxpayers can also earn more before being subject to higher income tax rates because of the increase in the income thresholds at which the 22-per-cent rate and the 26-per-cent rate begin to apply.
- The Government introduced the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) in Budget 2007 and effectively doubled it under the stimulus phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The WITB lowers the “welfare wall” and strengthens work incentives for low-income Canadians already working, while encouraging other low-income Canadians to enter the workforce.
- The Government introduced the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)—a flexible, registered, general-purpose savings vehicle available since 2009—that allows Canadians to earn tax-free investment income, improving incentives to save and allowing Canadians to more easily meet their lifetime savings needs. The response to the TFSA has been overwhelmingly positive. Approximately 8.2 million TFSA accounts have been opened, with more than $40 billion of assets growing tax-free.
With these actions, the Government has fulfilled commitments to reduce taxes on savings, lower the “welfare wall” for low- and modest-income earners, and reduce taxes for all Canadians.
In total, the Government has introduced more than 140 tax relief measures since 2006. As a result of actions taken by the Government, the average family of four is saving more than $3,100 per year in taxes, and seniors and pensioners are receiving about $2.5 billion in targeted tax relief for the 2012–13 fiscal year. Due to measures taken since 2006, more than 1 million low-income Canadians, including about 380,000 seniors, have been removed from the tax rolls in 2012.
The federal tax burden for all Canadians is now the lowest it has been in 50 years. Going forward, the Government is committed to keeping taxes low for families and individuals.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $1.4 million annually to ensure that Wage Earner Protection Program applicants receive the benefits they are entitled to when they need them.
The Wage Earner Protection Program (WEPP) was introduced in 2008 to provide timely compensation to workers for unpaid wages and vacation pay earned in the six months preceding an employer bankruptcy or receivership. In Budget 2009, WEPP was expanded to include severance and termination pay, and in Budget 2011 it was again expanded to cover employees who lose their jobs when their employer’s attempt at restructuring takes longer than six months and is subsequently unsuccessful. Economic Action Plan 2012 is committing $1.4 million annually to ensure that WEPP applicants receive the benefits they are entitled to when they need them.
The Government commits to introduce legislation to require federally regulated private sector employers to insure, on a go-forward basis, the long-term disability plans offered to employees.
In the March 2010 Speech from the Throne, the Government announced that it would explore ways to better protect workers when their employers go bankrupt. Today, the Government is committing to introduce legislation to require federally regulated private sector employers to insure, on a go-forward basis, any long-term disability plans they offer to their employees. Once the proposed legislation takes effect, employees with disabilities working in federally regulated sectors will be assured that the long-term disability benefits they have been promised will be fully protected.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes measures to ensure that Registered Disability Savings Plans continue to meet the needs of Canadians with severe disabilities and their families.
In July 2006, the Minister of Finance appointed the Expert Panel on Financial Security for Children with Severe Disabilities to consider how best to ensure the financial security of children with severe disabilities. The Panel submitted its report, A New Beginning, in December 2006.
The Government acted on the Panel’s recommendations by announcing the introduction of a new tax-assisted Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in Budget 2007, which became available in December 2008.
The RDSP is widely regarded as a major policy innovation and positive development in helping to ensure the long-term financial security of children with severe disabilities. Since becoming available in 2008, nearly 55,000 RDSPs have been opened. This is due in part to the considerable efforts of financial institutions to make these plans available to Canadians. RDSPs are offered by 11 different financial institutions across the country, all of which have made a significant investment to offer the program.
Beneficiaries, their families and others have contributed over $220 million to these plans, and the Government has provided approximately $450 million in support through Canada Disability Savings Grants (CDSGs) and Canada Disability Savings Bonds (CDSBs).
In Budget 2011, the Government announced that it would undertake a review of the RDSP program in 2011, consistent with the commitment in Budget 2008 to review the program in three years to ensure that RDSPs are meeting the needs of Canadians with severe disabilities and their families.
The RDSP review was launched in October 2011. As part of the review, a consultation paper was released, which included a number of questions on which Canadians were invited to provide feedback. In response, the Government received more than 280 submissions from individuals and organizations. In addition, consultations were held with representatives from disability groups, financial institutions, and provincial and territorial governments, including public guardians and trustees. The Government wishes to thank those who participated in the review for their thoughtful input and suggestions.
Based on the feedback received during the review, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes a number of measures to improve the RDSP. These measures will:
- Provide greater access to RDSP savings for small withdrawals by replacing the requirement to repay any CDSGs and CDSBs paid into an RDSP within the 10 years preceding a withdrawal from the plan with a requirement to repay CDSGs and CDSBs at a fixed ratio to the amount withdrawn.
- Provide greater flexibility to make withdrawals from certain RDSPs by increasing the annual maximum withdrawal limit that applies to these RDSPs, and ensure that RDSP assets are used to support a beneficiary during their lifetime by requiring a minimum amount to be withdrawn from all RDSPs beginning the year a beneficiary attains 60 years of age.
- Provide greater flexibility for parents who save in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) for children with disabilities by allowing investment income earned in an RESP to be transferred on a tax-free basis to an RESP beneficiary’s RDSP.
- Provide greater continuity for long-term saving by RDSP beneficiaries who cease to qualify for the Disability Tax Credit in certain circumstances by extending the period that their plans may remain open.
- Improve the administration of the RDSP for financial institutions and beneficiaries by amending certain RDSP administrative rules.
The RDSP has been highly successful due in part to the cooperation of provinces and territories in ensuring that RDSP benefits are not clawed back by reductions in social assistance payments.
However, a number of adults with disabilities have experienced problems in establishing a plan because their capacity to enter into a contract is in doubt. Questions of appropriate legal representation in these cases are a matter of provincial and territorial responsibility. In many provinces and territories, the only way that an RDSP can be opened in these cases is for the individual to be declared legally incompetent and have someone named as their legal guardian—a process that can involve a considerable amount of time and expense on the part of concerned family members, and that may have significant repercussions for the individual.
Some provinces and territories have instituted more streamlined processes to allow for the appointment of a trusted person, such as a parent, other relative, or friend, to manage resources on behalf of an individual with a disability, or have otherwise indicated that their system already provides sufficient flexibility to address these concerns. The Government of Canada recognizes and appreciates the leadership shown by the Governments of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Yukon in this regard. In addition, the Government of Canada is pleased that the Government of Alberta has recently indicated that it will examine ways to simplify access to the RDSP program.
The Government of Canada continues to encourage the Governments of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to examine whether streamlined processes would be suitable for their jurisdiction.
Given the importance of this issue to the success of the RDSP program, the Government of Canada will work with provinces and territories to develop a standardized, streamlined process that provinces and territories could adopt in order to facilitate and simplify the process of opening RDSPs for beneficiaries who lack contractual competence.
In the interim, while these processes are being developed, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to temporarily expand the definition of who may be the plan holder of an RDSP. Specifically, a beneficiary’s spouse, common-law partner, or parent will be able to become the plan holder and open an RDSP on behalf of an adult who might not be able to open a plan due to concerns about their ability to enter into a contract. These rules will be in place until the end of 2016, to provide provinces and territories time to develop more appropriate, long-term solutions to address RDSP legal representation issues.
The changes to the RDSP will cost $3 million in 2012–13 and $6 million in 2013–14.
Since 2006, significant new resources have been provided to create new National Parks and expand existing ones, enhance water quality and protect wildlife, support environmental remediation of contaminated sites, protect the Great Lakes, improve air quality and address climate change. The Government is taking additional actions to protect and enrich our unique environmental heritage, so that it can be enjoyed and treasured by current and future generations of Canadians. These include new investments to safeguard wildlife species at risk, protect water resources, create Canada’s first national near-urban park and support clean energy generation.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $50 million over two years to protect wildlife species at risk.
The Species at Risk Act is one of the Government’s main conservation tools to protect wildlife species, maintain healthy ecosystems and preserve Canada’s natural heritage. To continue to protect Canada’s diverse species and help secure the necessary conditions for their recovery, Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $50 million over two years to support the implementation of the Species at Risk Act.
The Government will continue to pursue water quality and ecosystem health improvements.
The Government is working together with partners to protect and restore Canada’s water resources for the benefit of all Canadians. Going forward, the Government will continue to pursue water quality and ecosystem health improvements in lakes and other bodies of water, such as Lake Winnipeg and Lake Simcoe.
Environment Canada is also working towards establishing a hunting and wildlife advisory panel. Details are to be announced in the coming months.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $8 million over two years to compensate property owners and municipalities.
The Government is committed to safely clean up and store historical low-level radioactive waste in Port Hope and Clarington, Ontario. New facilities are being constructed in both communities where the waste will be safely managed. Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes $8 million over two years to help compensate property owners and municipalities for potential losses related to remediation efforts associated with the low-level waste.
The Government has taken steps that will add more than 150,000 square kilometres to the lands and waters administered by Parks Canada—a more than 50-per-cent increase since 2006. Examples include:
Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve in British Columbia
The Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site extends about 10 kilometres offshore from the existing Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. It encompasses roughly 3,500 square kilometres of the Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Shelf natural marine regions. Combined with the existing park reserve, the new marine conservation area will protect over 5,000 square kilometres of spectacular wilderness from alpine mountain tops to the deep sea beyond the continental shelf—a first for Canada, North America and the world.
Nahanni National Park Reserve in the Northwest Territories
The Nahanni National Park Reserve was expanded six-fold in June 2009 and is the third largest park in Canada. It protects over 30,000 square kilometres (a little less than the size of Vancouver Island), which is approximately 91 per cent of the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem in the Dehcho region. The expansion of the Nahanni enhanced its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation as a protected area and Canada’s leadership in international protected area conservation. Globally unique caves, canyons and rock towers can all be found within the expanded park as well as critical habitat for grizzly bears, woodland caribou and Dall’s sheep.
The Government will take action on the creation of Canada’s first national near-urban park in the Rouge Valley in Ontario.
National Parks generate significant economic activity by attracting visitors from Canada and abroad, and provide Canadians with access to our natural heritage. To provide opportunities for local residents and visitors to enjoy, discover and learn about the Rouge Valley’s rich natural and cultural heritage, the Government will be taking steps towards the creation of Canada’s first national near-urban park in the Rouge Valley in Ontario.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to expand the eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of bioenergy equipment.
The tax system encourages businesses to invest in clean energy generation and energy efficiency equipment by providing an accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) rate. CCA Class 43.2 includes a variety of stationary equipment that generates or conserves energy by using renewable sources or fuels from waste, or by using fuel more efficiently. It allows the cost of eligible assets to be deducted for tax purposes at a rate of 50 per cent per year on a declining balance basis—which is faster than would be implied by the useful life of the assets.
Economic Action Plan 2012 proposes to expand the eligibility for accelerated CCA under Class 43.2 to include:
- Waste-fuelled thermal energy equipment used for space and water heating applications.
- Equipment that is part of a district energy system that distributes thermal energy primarily generated by waste-fuelled thermal energy equipment.
- Equipment that uses residue of plants (e.g. straw) to generate electricity and heat.
It is estimated that these measures will reduce federal revenues by about $2 million over the next two years.
|Protecting the Health and Safety of Canadians|
|Health-Related Tax Measures||3||3||6|
|Strengthening Food Safety||26||26||51|
|Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission||8||8||16|
|Subtotal—Protecting the Health and Safety of Canadians||37||37||73|
|Investing in Communities|
|Investments to Improve First Nations Water Infrastructure||165||165||331|
|Addressing Family Violence on Reserve||12||12|
|Support to Provinces and Territories for the Floods of 2011||50||38||88|
|Subtotal—Investing in Communities||228||204||431|
|Wage Earner Protection Program||1||1||3|
|Review of the Registered Disability Savings Plan||3||6||9|
|Protecting Canada’s Natural Environment and Wildlife|
|Protecting Species at Risk||25||25||50|
|Port Hope Area Initiative||4||4||8|
|Expanding Tax Support for Clean Energy Generation||–||2||2|
|Subtotal—Protecting Canada’s Natural Environment
|Total—Supporting Families and Communities||297||279||577|
|Less funds existing in the fiscal framework||216||216||432|
|Net fiscal cost||81||63||145|
|Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.|