Chapter 3.5: Supporting Families and Communities

Highlights

Support for Families

  • Promoting adoption by enhancing the Adoption Expense Tax Credit to better recognize the costs of adopting a child.
  • Expanding tax relief for home care services under the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax to better meet the health care needs of Canadians.
  • $76 million in annual tariff relief on baby clothing and sports and athletic equipment to reduce the gap in retail prices that Canadian consumers pay compared to those in the U.S.
  • Working with provinces and pension plan sponsors to promote low-cost and secure pension options.
  • Further bolstering Canada’s world-class, stable financial sector to better protect consumers through the development of a comprehensive financial consumer code.

Investing in Communities

  • $119 million per year over five years for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a “Housing First” approach.
  • $253 million per year over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing.
  • $100 million over two years to support the construction of housing in Nunavut.
  • $65 million over two years to simplify the Funeral and Burial Program for Canada’s veterans and more than double its reimbursement rate.
  • Increasing the maximum benefit of the Endowment Incentive component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund to a maximum of $15 million over the life of the program.
  • Introducing a new temporary First-Time Donor’s Super Credit for first-time claimants of the Charitable Donations Tax Credit to encourage all young Canadians to donate to charity.
  • $50 million over seven years to support the economic diversification efforts of the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos.

Protecting Canada’s Natural Environment

  • $20 million in 2013-14 for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to continue to conserve ecologically sensitive land. Each federal dollar will be matched by two dollars in new funding from other sources.
  • $10 million over two years to improve the conservation of fisheries habitat by supporting partnerships with local groups.
  • Dedicating all funds collected through the sale of the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
  • $4 million in 2013-14 to support marine conservation activities in Canada’s oceans.
  • $4 million over three years to protect against invasive species through continued enforcement and monitoring of ballast water regulations and increased ballast water inspection capacity in the Arctic.
  • Expanding tax relief for clean energy generation to include a broader range of equipment.
  • Proposing to amend the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to support the regulation of nuclear facilities by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission through cost-recovery from nuclear licence holders.
  • $19 million in 2013-14 on a cash basis to improve highways and associated bridges that pass through Canada’s national parks (see Chapter 3.3 under “The New Building Canada Plan” for further details).

Building Strong Aboriginal Communities

  • $54 million over two years to continue to ensure that specific claims are addressed promptly.
  • $9 million over two years to expand the First Nations Land Management Regime to create further opportunities for economic development on reserve.
  • $71 million over two years for supplementary policing services, the Aboriginal Justice Strategy and the Family Violence Prevention Program.
  • $52 million over two years to enhance health services for First Nations and Inuit, including mental health services.

Supporting Families and Communities

Economic Action Plan 2013 builds on previous actions by the Government to support families and communities, improving the quality of life for hard-working Canadian families.

Economic Action Plan 2013 supports families by keeping taxes low, promoting adoption by better recognizing the costs of adopting a child, helping to lower the prices of consumer goods, better protecting financial consumers, including seniors, and promoting low-cost and secure pension options. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes measures to support communities by investing in quality affordable housing, honouring our veterans, improving the health of Canadians and supporting our arts and cultural community. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes investments to promote a clean and sustainable environment, including preserving Canada’s natural heritage.

Building on shared priorities identified at the 2012 Crown-First Nations Gathering, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes investments that will support economic development on reserve and promote the health and safety of Aboriginal families and communities.

Support for Families

The Government recognizes that families are the building blocks of our society. Since 2006, it has introduced a number of measures to help families, students, seniors and pensioners, workers, and persons with disabilities. Economic Action Plan 2013 builds on the Government’s record of support for Canadian families through initiatives that recognize the costs of adopting a child, help lower the prices of consumer goods that families use most, promote low-cost and secure pension options and better meet the health care needs of Canadians.

Keeping Taxes Low for Canadian Families and Individuals

Since 2006, the Government has provided significant tax relief for Canadian families and individuals. The average family of four now receives $3,220 in extra tax savings as a result of these actions. These tax reductions give individuals and families greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them and help build a solid foundation for future economic growth, more jobs, and higher living standards for Canadians.

Under the Government’s long-term agenda to keep taxes low, significant broad-based action has been taken to reduce taxes on savings, and to reduce taxes for all Canadians. For instance, the Government has:

  • Fulfilled its commitment to reduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 5 per cent from 7 per cent, benefiting all Canadians—even those who do not earn enough to pay personal income tax.
  • Increased the amount that all Canadians can earn without paying federal income tax.
  • Reduced the lowest personal income tax rate to 15 per cent from 16 per cent, and increased the amount of income that individuals can earn before facing higher tax rates by increasing the upper limit of the two lowest personal income tax brackets.
  • Introduced the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)—a flexible, registered, general-purpose savings vehicle—that allows Canadians to earn tax-free investment income to more easily meet their lifetime savings needs. As of 2013, Canadians can contribute up to $5,500 annually to a TFSA. This is an increase from the annual contribution limit of $5,000 for 2009 through to 2012 and reflects indexation to inflation. By the end of 2011, approximately 8.2 million Canadians had opened a TFSA.

The Government has also introduced a number of targeted tax reduction measures. For example, the Government has:

  • Helped families with children by introducing the Child Tax Credit, the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit and the Children’s Arts Tax Credit.
  • Introduced the Registered Disability Savings Plan, a tax-assisted savings account that helps individuals and families save for the long-term financial security of those with a severe disability.
  • Enhanced support to caregivers of infirm dependent family members by introducing the new Family Caregiver Tax Credit, and by removing the $10,000 limit on eligible expenses that caregivers can claim under the Medical Expense Tax Credit in respect of a dependent relative.
  • Provided about $2.7 billion in additional annual targeted tax relief for seniors and pensioners by increasing the Age Credit and the Pension Income Credit amounts, raising the age limit for maturing savings in Registered Pension Plans and Registered Retirement Savings Plans, and introducing pension income splitting.
  • Provided further support to students and their families by exempting scholarship income from taxation, introducing the Textbook Tax Credit, and making Registered Education Savings Plans more responsive to changing needs.
  • Introduced the Public Transit Tax Credit to encourage public transit use and the Volunteer Firefighters Tax Credit to better support communities.

Benefits for Canadian families and individuals delivered through the personal income tax system, as well as support for families with children, have also been increased and enhanced. The Government has:

  • Introduced the Universal Child Care Benefit, which provides $100 per month to families for each child under the age of six.
  • Introduced and enhanced the Working Income Tax Benefit, lowering the “welfare wall” and strengthening work incentives for low-income Canadians already working, while encouraging other low-income Canadians to enter the workforce.
  • Increased the amount of income that families can earn before the National Child Benefit supplement is fully phased out and before the Canada Child Tax Benefit base benefit begins to be phased out.
  • Maintained the GST Credit level while reducing the GST rate by 2 percentage points, translating into more than $1.1 billion in GST Credit benefits annually for low- and modest-income Canadians.

In total, the Government will have provided almost $160 billion in tax relief for Canadian families and individuals over a six-year period ending in 2013-14. Canadians at all income levels are benefiting from tax relief introduced by the Government, with low-and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionately greater relief (Chart 3.5.1). Overall, personal income taxes are now 11 per cent lower with the tax relief provided by the Government, and more than 1 million low-income Canadians have been removed from the tax rolls.

Since 2006, the Government has introduced more than 150 tax relief measures. The federal tax burden is now the lowest it has been in 50 years. Going forward, the Government remains committed to keeping taxes low and will continue to examine ways to provide further tax relief for Canadians while taking into account the goal of returning to balanced budgets in the medium term.

The Government Has Taken Significant Action to Reduce Taxes

Since 2006, the Government has:

  • Introduced more than 150 tax relief measures.
  • Provided almost $160 billion in tax relief for Canadian families and individuals over a six-year period ending in 2013-14.
  • Cut taxes for an average family of four by $3,220.

 

The Government has substantially reduced the tax burden on low-and middle-income Canadians

Chart 3.5.1 Per Cent Reduction in Personal Income Taxes as a Result of Tax Relief Provided Since 2006 by Family Income, 2013Chart 3.5. - Per Cent Reduction in Personal Income    Taxes as a Result of Tax Relief Provided Since 2006 by Family Income, 2013. For more details, see previous three paragraphs.
Source: Department of Finance.

 

Canadian Families Keep More of Their Hard-Earned Dollars as a Result of the Government’s Actions to Reduce the Tax Burden

Thomas and Colleen are a couple with two children. Thomas earns $45,000 and Colleen earns $70,000. As a result of actions taken by the Government since 2006, they are expected to pay $2,220 less in personal income tax, including $670 as a result of the Child Tax Credit and $300 they have saved by taking advantage of the Children’s Arts Tax Credit and the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

Thomas and Colleen are also paying $1,000 less in GST because of the Government’s reduction of the GST rate from 7 per cent to 5 per cent. Combined with personal income tax relief, this family will benefit from a total of $3,220 in tax relief for 2013, allowing Thomas and Colleen to invest that money in important family priorities (Chart 3.5.2).

Chart 3.5.2 Total Federal Tax Relief for a Family of Four, 2013Chart 3.5.2 - Total Federal Tax Relief for a Family of    Four, 2013. For more details, see previous paragraph.
Source: Department of Finance.

 

The Government’s Actions to Reduce the Tax Burden Are Leaving More Hard-Earned Dollars in the Pockets of Seniors

As a result of actions taken to date by the Government, seniors and pensioners are receiving about $2.7 billion in additional annual targeted tax relief. In particular, since 2006 the Government has:

  • Increased the Age Credit amount by $1,000 in 2006 and by another $1,000 in 2009.
  • Doubled the maximum amount of income eligible for the Pension Income Credit to $2,000.
  • Increased the age limit for maturing pensions and Registered Retirement Savings Plans to 71 from 69 years of age.
  • Introduced pension income splitting.

In 2013, a single senior can earn at least $19,892 and a senior couple at least $39,784 before paying federal income tax.

Tax Relief for a Senior Couple—Example

Blake and Rachel are a senior couple receiving $55,000 and $25,000 respectively in pension income. As a result of actions taken by the Government since 2006, they are expected to pay $2,260 less in personal income tax, including about $700 they have saved by taking advantage of pension income splitting, and about $960 from the doubling of the Pension Income Credit and the increases in the Age Credit.

Blake and Rachel are also paying $740 less in GST because of the Government’s reduction of the GST rate from 7 per cent to 5 per cent. This adds up to a total of $3,000 in tax relief for 2013, allowing Blake and Rachel to keep more of their pension income for everyday expenses.

Chart 3.5.3 Total Federal Tax Relief for a Senior Couple
With Pension Income, 2013
Chart 3.5.3 - Total Federal Tax Relief for a Senior    Couple With Pension Income, 2013. For more details, see previous two paragraphs.
Source: Department of Finance.

Enhancing the Adoption Expense Tax Credit

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to enhance the Adoption Expense Tax Credit to better recognize the costs unique to adoption.

Strong and stable families are critical to Canada’s long-term prosperity. Families provide children with permanency, connections, and support—and yet an estimated 30,000 children are currently in the care of child welfare agencies across Canada, waiting to be adopted.

The Adoption Expense Tax Credit recognizes costs unique to adopting a child. To provide better tax recognition of the costs incurred by adoptive parents, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to allow additional adoption-related expenses (such as fees for a provincially required home study and mandatory adoption courses) to be eligible for the credit. This change will apply to adoptions finalized after 2012.

Registered Disability Savings Plans—Legal Representation

The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a tax-assisted savings vehicle that was introduced in Budget 2007. Since becoming available in 2008, more than 65,500 RDSPs have been opened. The RDSP is widely regarded as a major policy innovation and positive development in helping to ensure the long-term financial security of Canadians with severe disabilities.

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. 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.

Economic Action Plan 2012 allowed, on a temporary basis, certain family members to become the plan holder of the RDSP for an adult individual who might not be able to enter into a contract, in order to ensure that individuals in all provinces and territories whose contractual competence is in doubt and who do not have a legal representative may still benefit from RDSPs.

While the temporary federal measure will allow more RDSPs to be opened in the short term, only those potential RDSP beneficiaries with parents or spouses will be able to benefit. In addition, under provincial and territorial trust law, withdrawals from RDSPs must be paid to the beneficiary of the plan or his or her legal representative. Accordingly, the temporary federal measure does not represent a complete solution to this important issue.

Some provinces and territories have already instituted 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 particular, British Columbia’s Representation Agreement and Newfoundland and Labrador’s efforts to effect changes to its Enduring Powers of Attorney Act demonstrate different approaches that can be taken to ensure access to RDSPs for those with intellectual disabilities.

As Economic Action Plan 2012 indicated it would do, the Government of Canada has worked 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 Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government encouraged the Governments of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to put in place streamlined processes to facilitate and simplify the process of opening and making withdrawals from RDSPs for adults who might not be able to open a plan due to concerns about their ability to enter into a contract, and noted that Alberta had recently indicated that it would examine ways to simplify access to the RDSP program.

Over the past year, many of these jurisdictions have indicated their commitment to facilitating greater access to RDSPs, but have not yet taken concrete action toward this goal; others have indicated that they are considering whether and how to take action.

Accordingly, the Government of Canada strongly encourages the Governments of Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to take action in this area without delay.

Expanding Tax Relief for Home Care Services

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to expand health-related tax relief under the GST/HST to better meet the health care needs of Canadians.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the tax system reflects the evolving nature of the health care system and health care needs of Canadians. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to expand the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) exemption for publicly funded homemaker services to include personal care services, such as bathing and feeding, provided to individuals who, due to age, infirmity or disability, require such assistance at home. This change will be effective after Budget Day.

It is estimated that this measure will reduce federal revenues by $5 million in each of 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Consistent Application of Excise Duty on Tobacco Products

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to eliminate the preferential excise duty treatment of manufactured tobacco.

Reducing tobacco consumption is important for improving the health of Canadians. A key component of the Government’s health strategy is to tax tobacco products at a high and sustainable level to discourage their consumption. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to eliminate the preferential excise duty rate that currently applies to manufactured tobacco (e.g., fine-cut tobacco used in roll-your-own cigarettes, chewing tobacco) to make it equivalent to that applying to other tobacco products. This measure will increase the rate of excise duty on manufactured tobacco from $2.8925 to $5.3125 per 50 grams or fraction thereof, effective after Budget Day.

It is estimated that this measure will increase federal tax revenues by about $75 million in 2013-14 and $65 million in 2014-15.

Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $3 million over three years to the Pallium Foundation of Canada to support training in palliative care to front-line health care providers.

The Government is committed to helping to ensure that Canadians receive the compassionate care they need. The Pallium Foundation of Canada works to improve the quality of palliative and end-of-life care for Canadians by creating educational resources for primary care professionals. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $3 million over three years to the Pallium Foundation to support training in palliative care to front-line health care providers. This investment builds on the funding provided in Budget 2011 that is being used to support The Way Forward: Moving Towards Community-Integrated Hospice Palliative Care in Canada initiative, which aims to help develop new community-integrated palliative care models across Canada.

Tariff Relief for Canadian Consumers

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $76 million of tariff relief on baby clothing and sports and athletic equipment to benefit Canadian families and retailers.

Some products consistently cost more in Canada compared to the exact same products sold in the United States. These price discrepancies persist despite the considerable appreciation of the Canadian dollar relative to the United States dollar over the past several years.

The Government shares Canadians’ concerns about the Canada-U.S. price gap and wants to see lower prices for consumers. At the Government’s request, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance examined this issue in detail, identifying a number of possible factors including Canada’s tariffs.

In order to lower prices for Canadian families, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to eliminate all tariffs on baby clothing and sports and athletic equipment. The latter includes products such as ice skates, hockey equipment, skis and snowboards, golf clubs and other equipment to promote physical fitness and healthy living, consistent with past initiatives such as the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit.

Examples of Tariff Relief for Canadian Consumers
Product Current Tariff1 Tariff as of
April 1, 2013
Baby clothing 18% Free
Ice skates 18% Free
Hockey equipment 2.5%-18% Free
Skis and snowboards 6.5%-20% Free
Golf clubs 2.5%-7% Free
Exercise equipment 6.5% Free
1 Tariff rates are as per Canada’s Customs Tariff. Tariffs apply on the F.O.B. landed value of imported goods.

Altogether, this represents $76 million in annual tariff relief, and comes with an expectation that wholesalers, distributors and retailers will pass these savings on to consumers. The Government, in consultation with the Retail Council of Canada and consumer groups, will monitor the impact of these tariff reductions on Canadian retail prices.

This initiative will allow the Government to assess whether tariff elimination can help narrow the price gap for consumers in Canada, and will help guide future decisions. The Government will continue working with Canadians, including consumers, retailers and manufacturers, to identify areas where further tariff liberalization can benefit Canadians.

Developing a Comprehensive Financial Consumer Code

The Government is proposing to develop a comprehensive financial consumer code to better protect consumers of financial products and ensure they have the necessary tools to make responsible financial decisions.

A strong financial system is one in which consumers are confident that their interests are protected by a high-quality regulatory framework.

The Government is proposing to develop a comprehensive financial consumer code to better protect consumers of financial products and ensure they have the necessary tools to make responsible financial decisions. The Government will be launching extensive consultations on the elements of the code to seek the views of Canadians, including consumer groups, on how to improve the federal financial consumer framework. The Government will then introduce the comprehensive consumer code to replace the currently dispersed mix of legislation and dozens of regulations.

To make the framework even more robust in a rapidly evolving and innovative financial marketplace, the code would be adapted to suit the needs of consumers of today and tomorrow. For instance, it would respond to the realities of a digital and remote banking environment, as well as the needs of vulnerable Canadians, including people with disabilities and seniors at risk of financial abuse.

Supporting Consumers of Financial Services

The Government has taken steps to update the robust financial consumer protection framework, including:

  • New rules with respect to credit cards, leading to the introduction of a fee summary box and a mandatory 21-day interest-free grace period.
  • The reduction in the maximum cheque hold periods and immediate access to a portion of funds deposited by cheque.
  • Increasing the maximum fine on financial institutions that violate consumer provisions from $200,000 to $500,000.
  • A requirement that financial services be offered on an opt-in basis only.
  • Improved mortgage prepayment penalty disclosure.
  • Strengthening the dispute resolution framework for banks.
  • The introduction of regulations banning the distribution of unsolicited credit card cheques.
  • Moving to better protect Canadians using prepaid cards issued by federally regulated financial institutions.
  • The establishment of the Task Force on Financial Literacy.
  • The Financial Literacy Leader Act, creating the position of Financial Literacy Leader.
  • $3 million in additional funding for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to support the Leader in undertaking financial literacy initiatives.
  • The designation of November as Financial Literacy Month.

Protecting Vulnerable Canadians from Predatory Lending

Economic Action Plan 2013 will support provincial efforts to regulate appropriately all payday lending-type high interest rate products, and will raise awareness of the fact that Government of Canada cheques can be cashed free of charge at any bank in Canada.

Avoiding high-cost loans, payday lending and other expensive financial services can be a challenge for vulnerable populations, including the working poor, people with disabilities and the elderly. For these Canadians, it can be difficult to access affordable borrowing with manageable payment schedules and to exercise their rights when it comes to basic financial services.

The Government will work with interested provinces to support their efforts to regulate appropriately all payday lending-type high interest rate products. In addition, the Government will take steps to raise awareness of the fact that Government of Canada cheques can be cashed free of charge at any bank in Canada, for customers and non-customers alike.

Financial Literacy Initiatives for Seniors

The Government will work with partners to improve financial literacy among seniors and respond to specific challenges faced by seniors.

Some seniors have difficulty accessing financial services due to physical or cognitive impairment, and may rely on the help of others, which can increase their vulnerability to financial abuse. Improving financial literacy among seniors will help them make more informed decisions about protecting their financial interests into the future.

The Government has taken steps to champion the rights of seniors. For example, the Protecting Canada’s Seniors Act, which received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012, aims to better protect seniors by considering age and other personal circumstances as aggravating factors to apply tougher sentences for those who take advantage of the elderly.

In addition, Bill C-12, An Act to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, will help to combat the financial abuse of seniors by allowing banks and other financial institutions to report suspected fraud to the police or other social service agencies.

The Government will work with stakeholders to better understand the unique challenges faced by seniors, and under the leadership of the Financial Literacy Leader it will implement a financial literacy strategy that specifically responds to seniors’ needs. In the near term, the Government will collaborate with banks and other financial institutions to develop and disseminate information about powers of attorney and bank services targeted to seniors’ needs.

Update on Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs)

The Government will continue to work closely with the provinces to encourage implementation of the PRPP framework in a timely manner.

The Government has fully implemented the federal PRPP regulatory framework. PRPPs will provide a new, accessible, large-scale and low-cost pension option to employers, employees and the self-employed. The federal framework applies to employees in industries that are federally regulated. It also applies to all individuals employed in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

With the passage of the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012, the income tax rules for PRPPs are also now in force. The rules will apply to both federally and provincially regulated PRPPs.

Provinces will need to introduce their own enabling legislation to make PRPPs available throughout Canada. The Government welcomes British Columbia’s recently tabled legislation. The Government will continue to work closely with the provinces to encourage implementation of PRPP legislation in a timely manner to help Canadians reach their retirement objectives. A high level of harmonization of legislation and regulations across Canada will be instrumental in increasing the availability of PRPPs and achieving lower costs.

New Options for Troubled Pension Plans

The Government proposes to introduce changes to the distressed pension workout scheme.

The Government proposes to introduce changes to the distressed pension workout scheme to facilitate the resolution of plan-specific problems that arise when plan sponsors face funding challenges. The changes under consideration are designed to increase the flexibility for plan sponsors to enter the scheme; increase the effectiveness of the scheme; and promote outcomes that improve the funding status of pension plans to help ensure that plan member benefits are protected. The Government will undertake consultations on this initiative.

Investing in Communities

The Government continues to take concrete action to maintain strong and healthy Canadian communities. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes key investments in support of safe and affordable housing. It also proposes to further recognize and support Canada’s veterans and their families and make targeted investments in Canada’s vibrant arts and culture community.

Housing for Canadians in Need

The Government is committed to ensuring low-income families have access to quality affordable housing. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes significant investments to support the availability of housing for these vulnerable Canadians. Through targeted investments, the Government will work with provincial and territorial governments, First Nations, not-for-profit organizations, and other stakeholders at the community level to increase accessibility and affordability of housing for those in need.

Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $119 million per year over five years, nearly $600 million in total, to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a “Housing First” approach.

The outcomes of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project have shown that providing Housing First services and supports are an effective way to reduce homelessness. This approach aims to move people rapidly from shelters and the streets into stable housing, while providing them with support for underlying mental health or addiction issues.

Building on the successful At Home/Chez Soi project, the Government will continue to work in partnership with provinces and territories, communities, the private sector and other stakeholders, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, to reduce homelessness. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $119 million per year over five years for the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a Housing First approach.

Over the coming months, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development will work with Government partners at the community level to confirm the implementation details of this approach.

Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi Project

In February 2008, the Government allocated $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to find ways to help the growing number of homeless people who live with a mental illness. The MHCC developed the At Home/Chez Soi project. It was officially launched in November 2009.

The project is based on the Housing First approach, which provides people with housing and support services tailored to meet their needs.

The project specifically involves people who have been homeless and living with a mental health issue. Projects are underway in Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver, and each site is exploring issues related to various sub-populations. Over 2,000 homeless people are participating and the project is providing meaningful and practical support to these individuals.

The project’s interim report, released in September 2012, provides significant evidence about the impact of the Housing First approach in addressing homelessness for people with mental illness as well as information about the cost consequences of serving specific populations. The evidence shows that the Housing First approach: can be implemented across Canada; improves the lives of those who are homeless and have a mental illness; and makes better use of public dollars, especially for those who are high service users—as demonstrated by a reduction in the use of hospital in-patient care, emergency rooms, police detentions and justice services.

The project will develop a body of evidence to help provinces and territories provide services to homeless people living with a mental illness. In addition, funding arrangements are being established to ensure that people participating in the project will have supports in place once the project is completed.

Investment in Affordable Housing

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $253 million per year over five years, over $1.25 billion in total, to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing.

Helping Canadians in need find and keep affordable housing requires strong partnerships across all orders of government. Economic Action Plan 2013 announces the Government’s continued commitment to working with provinces and territories to develop and implement solutions to housing by proposing $253 million per year over five years to renew the Investment in Affordable Housing to 2018–19. Under the Investment in Affordable Housing bilateral agreements, provinces and territories match federal investments and design and deliver programs that improve access to housing. Provinces and territories can use funding for various activities, including new construction, renovation, home ownership assistance, rent supplements, shelter allowances, and accommodations for victims of family violence. Between April 2011 and the end of December 2012, over 136,000 households benefited from the Investment in Affordable Housing.

The Government will also ensure that funds transferred to provinces and territories through the Investment in Affordable Housing support the use of apprentices, which will support training of skilled labour.

Habitat for Humanity Canada

Since being established in 1985, Habitat for Humanity Canada has completed over 2,200 homes for low-income families through its 69 affiliates across the country.

Funded in part by resources available through the Investment in Affordable Housing, Habitat for Humanity Canada has constructed nearly 1,000 homes for low-income Canadians over the past five years and plans to build another 255 in 2013.

In addition, Habitat for Humanity Canada home building sites have been classrooms for over 1,300 apprentices and pre-apprentices in the last year alone.

Investment in Nunavut Housing

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $100 million over two years to support the construction of new housing in Nunavut.

Nunavut faces unique challenges in providing affordable housing due to its climate, geography and dispersed population. In recognition of the distinctive needs of Nunavut, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $100 million over two years to support the construction of about 250 housing units. Funding will be provided through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Supporting and Honouring Veterans

The Government is committed to supporting and recognizing Canada’s veterans. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to improve access to the services and financial supports available to Canadian veterans and their families. In addition, the Government is proud to honour the dedication and sacrifice of those Canadians who served this country in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War.

Increasing Support for Veterans and Their Families

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms that total investments of $1.9 billion over seven years will be made to ensure that disabled, ill and aging veterans and their families receive the supports that they need.

The Government has increased support for veterans and their families by no longer deducting veterans’ disability benefits when calculating their Service Income Security Insurance Plan Long Term Disability, Earnings Loss and Canadian Forces Income Support benefits. These changes ensure that veterans have access to the full range of supports available to them.

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms a total commitment of $1.9 billion over seven years to change National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada programming to ensure the necessary programs and supports are in place for Canadian veterans. The Government also proposes to continue moving forward with relevant legislative changes.

Enhancing Veterans Affairs Canada’s Funeral and Burial Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to simplify the Funeral and Burial Program and more than double its reimbursement rate.

The Government has enormous respect for the men and women who have sacrificed in the service of Canada. One of the commitments the Government makes to veterans is to ensure that those who die without financial means receive the necessary financial support to provide for a dignified funeral and burial. The Funeral and Burial Program, which is delivered by the Last Post Fund Corporation on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada, provides and maintains grave markers and offers financial assistance to veterans’ estates where the veteran died as a result of a service-related disability or for cases where the veteran had insufficient assets for a dignified funeral and burial.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $65 million over two years to enhance the Funeral and Burial Program by simplifying the program for veterans’ estates and by more than doubling the current funeral services reimbursement rate from $3,600 to $7,376. The Government will continue to work with the Royal Canadian Legion to ensure that veterans continue to receive the support they need for a dignified funeral and burial.

Road to 2017

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $5 million for the construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

The Government believes strongly in the importance of promoting and celebrating Canada’s history. With Canada’s 150th birthday approaching in 2017, the Government is taking concrete steps to build a lasting legacy for this important milestone. The Government is making a large investment to create the new Canadian Museum of History, and bring all of Canada’s museums together in a national network to share resources and teach the great stories of Canada’s past.

On the Road to 2017, the Government will be commemorating many significant milestones that helped shape our great country. In 2014, Canada will commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II. These anniversaries will remind us of the sacrifices of those who served, and improve the understanding of how these wars shaped our character as a nation. As we approach the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $5 million to fund the construction of a permanent Visitor Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France, to commemorate the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in the First World War. Additional funds for the project will be leveraged from the private sector and from individual Canadians by the Vimy Foundation.

As Canada prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government wishes to ensure that a broad, national perspective is brought to these celebrations. Currently, the locally based National Capital Commission is responsible for promoting the National Capital Region. In order to ensure that the annual Canada Day shows that take place on Parliament Hill and the promotion of National Capital Region events such as Winterlude draw on the cultural and social fabric of the whole of Canada, the Government will transfer the mandate to promote the National Capital Region from the National Capital Commission to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Investments in Arts and Culture

Renewing the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages for 2013-2018

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes continued support for the Government’s new Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages (2013-2018).

Canada’s two official languages are an integral part of our country’s history and culture as well as our identity as a nation. The Government is committed to supporting official languages through its new Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages (2013-2018). The new Roadmap represents an ongoing commitment to enhance the vitality of Canada’s official language minority communities and contribute to a strengthened linguistic duality. The new Roadmap also emphasizes the importance and benefits accruing from our two official languages to national identity and promotes that immigrants master at least one official language to continue to contribute to Canada’s development and prosperity.

Canada Cultural Investment Fund: Endowment Incentive

Economic Action Plan 2013 announces that the Endowment Incentive component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund will increase to a maximum benefit of $15 million over the life of the program, an increase of 50 per cent.

The Endowment Incentive component of the Canada Cultural Investment Fund helps promote corporate philanthropy and private investment in the arts by providing government grants to match private sector donations. Starting in 2013, the amount of funding an arts organization can benefit from, over the life of the program, will increase from a maximum of $10 million to $15 million, an increase of 50 per cent. This will help ensure that large arts organizations such as the National Ballet of Canada, the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, the Banff Centre and the Stratford Festival can continue to demonstrate leadership in building private sector support, while maintaining access to the program for small- and medium-sized arts organizations. With this program adjustment, the Government of Canada is taking concrete steps to help ensure that Canada’s arts and culture sector contributes to a strong economy, with arts organizations becoming more resilient and self-sustaining through the continued support of the private sector.

Massey Hall Revitalization

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $8 million in 2013-14 to help support the restoration and revitalization of Massey Hall.

Massey Hall, which was opened in 1894, has played a unique role in Canada’s cultural history and is an important venue for concerts and other events, attracting many of the world’s leading performers. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $8 million in 2013-14 to help support the restoration and revitalization of Massey Hall. A revitalized Massey Hall will provide a modern venue to support Canada’s current and future artists.

The Government’s Record Level of Support for Sport

The Government is making record investments in sport. Sport is vital to Canadian society. It contributes to the development of life skills by our children and youth, and promotes healthy and active lifestyles. Canadians also take pride in our athletes, who represent Canada with such distinction when they compete internationally.

The Government’s Record Level of Support for Sport

The Government provides financial support to sport through three programs: the Hosting Program which provides about $20 million annually to assist Canadian communities in hosting world-class international sport events and the Canada Games; the Athlete Assistance Program, which provides $27 million annually to support approximately 1,800 athletes, giving them financial assistance to pursue world-class results while achieving their academic and career goals; and the Sport Support Program, which provides about $146 million annually to Canadian sport organizations to strengthen our national sport system and benefit our athletes and coaches.

Each year, about $64 million of the Sport Support Program’s total amount is provided as enhanced excellence funding for targeted sports and athletes with medal potential at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In 2012–13, approximately $3 million was provided to Special Olympics Canada through the Sport Support Program.

In addition, up to $500 million has been committed to support sport infrastructure projects, legacy initiatives, and essential federal services associated with staging the Toronto 2015 Pan American and Parapan American Games.

Expanding Library Services for the Blind and Partially Sighted

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $3 million in 2013-14 to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind in support of a National Digital Hub.

The Government is committed to supporting the full participation of persons with disabilities. To improve library services available to the print-disabled community, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $3 million in 2013-14 to the Canadian National Institute for the Blind for a National Digital Hub.

The National Digital Hub will acquire and produce alternative format materials and distribute them to the print-disabled community through public libraries, direct service points and ultimately the web as downloadable formats become available. This will support Canadians who are blind or partially sighted in their ongoing educational development and improve their quality of life.

Response to the Report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on Charitable Donation Tax Incentives

Economic Action Plan 2013 responds to the report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance on charitable donation tax incentives and proposes a new temporary First-Time Donor’s Super Credit to encourage all young Canadians to donate to charity.

Canadians recognize that the charitable sector plays a vital role in our society and provides valuable services to Canadians, including the most vulnerable. Canadians also provide generous support to the sector in recognition of its important work: recent data from Statistics Canada show that more than 5.7 million Canadians donated almost $8.5 billion to registered charities in 2011.

Canada’s incentives for charitable donations have been described as among the most generous in the world. Registered charities are exempt from tax on their income and may issue official donation receipts for gifts received; donors may use those receipts to reduce their taxes by claiming the Charitable Donations Tax Credit (for individuals) or the Charitable Donations Tax Deduction (for corporations). In 2012, federal tax assistance for charitable donations exceeded $2.9 billion.

Since 2006, the Government Has Taken a Number of Important Steps to Support the Charitable Sector

  • To encourage increased charitable donations, the Government introduced a complete exemption from the capital gains tax associated with donations of publicly listed securities, donations of ecologically sensitive land to public conservation charities and certain donations of exchangeable shares.
  • To reduce the administrative burden on charities, the Government eliminated many of the disbursement quota requirements, allowing charities to focus more of their time and resources on charitable activities.
  • To ensure that Canadians have confidence that donations of their hard-earned dollars support legitimate charities and are used for charitable purposes, the Government has put in place several new measures to improve accountability and transparency in the charitable sector.

Most recently, the Government has taken additional steps to ensure that tax incentives for charitable giving remain effective. The Government supported Motion 559, sponsored by the Member of Parliament for Kitchener–Waterloo, Peter Braid, and subsequently adopted by the House of Commons, which called for the Standing Committee on Finance to study charitable donation incentives. The Committee published its report, Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving in Canada, on February 11, 2013. The Government thanks Peter Braid for this important initiative, and thanks the Committee for its work.

The Standing Committee on Finance heard that there is a need to foster and promote a culture of giving, and that tax incentives can play a role both in increasing the number of new donors and encouraging existing donors to give more.

Economic Action Plan 2013 responds to the Committee’s report by proposing a new temporary First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC) designed to encourage new donors to give to charity.

The FDSC will increase the value of the federal Charitable Donations Tax Credit by 25 percentage points if neither the taxpayer nor their spouse has claimed the credit since 2007. The FDSC will apply on up to $1,000 in cash donations claimed in respect of any one taxation year from 2013 to 2017.

This new credit will significantly enhance the attractiveness of donating to a charity for young Canadians who are in a position to make donations for the first time and—by helping to rejuvenate and expand the charitable sector’s donor base—will have an immediate impact in supporting the sector.

This measure is expected to cost $25 million in each of 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The FDSC Will Substantially Increase the Value of the Charitable Donations Tax Credit (CDTC) for First-Time Donors

Tax Relief for New Donors—Example

Katherine and Marc are a couple living in Timmins, Ontario, who recently joined the labour force. They have decided to make a charitable donation of $500 for the first time to a registered charity of their choice. As new donors, they will be able to take advantage of the First-Time Donor’s Super Credit (FDSC) and claim additional tax assistance of $125 on their donation.

Chart 3.5.4 Federal-Provincial Tax Assistance on a Donation of $500 to a Registered Charity for an Individual Living in Ontario, 2013Chart 3.5.4 - Federal-Provincial Tax Assistance on a    Donation of $500 to a Registered Charity for an Individual Living in Ontario,    2013. For more details, see previous paragraph.
Source: Department of Finance.

The Government will redouble its ongoing efforts in the areas identified by the Committee in their recommendations:

  • With respect to monitoring charitable giving trends and characteristics, Statistics Canada publishes annual data on the amounts Canadians donate to charity, as well as a demographic breakdown and trends in giving.
  • With respect to public awareness, the Canada Revenue Agency provides education and information related to charitable giving.
  • With respect to social finance, as noted below, the Government will bring together key players in the non-profit and private sectors to develop investment-worthy ideas and tap the potential of the social finance marketplace to promote economic growth and prosperity.
  • With respect to red tape reduction, the Government has taken action, as part of the Small and Rural Charities Initiative, by restructuring the Registered Charity Information Return to minimize the time small and rural charities need to complete the form.
  • Finally, with respect to transparency and accountability, the Government has taken steps to combat fraud and abuse in the charitable sector and enhance transparency and accountability around the political activities of charities.

Consistent with recommendations put forward in the Standing Committee’s report and the need for restraint in the current fiscal context, the Government will work with the charitable sector, including Imagine Canada, to encourage more donations by a greater number of Canadians and further enhance public awareness, reduce red tape, and increase transparency and accountability in the charitable sector.

Support for Social Finance

Economic Action Plan 2013 reinforces the need to help facilitate bringing partners together to tap the potential of the social finance marketplace.

In communities across the country, Canadians are finding innovative approaches to tackling local challenges by building partnerships across sectors and leveraging new ideas and sources of funding. In Budget 2011 and Economic Action Plan 2012, the Government highlighted the potential of social finance to strengthen government-community partnerships.

In November 2012, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development launched a pioneering, web-based public policy engagement process, the National Call for Concepts for Social Finance, to seek ideas from individual Canadians and not-for-profit and private sector organizations to help the Government identify new ways to address social and economic issues. The Call for Concepts issued a challenge to Canadians: propose solutions to complex social issues that are funded through social finance instruments. The response to the Call has exceeded expectations—over 150 submissions from across the country were received that address key priorities for Canada’s long-term prosperity, such as supporting youth at risk, reducing homelessness and improving employment outcomes for persons with disabilities.

The Government can help bring partners together to turn these ideas into action. The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development will help facilitate this process and build on the Call for Concepts by bringing together key players in the non-profit and private sectors to develop investment-worthy ideas and tap the potential of the social finance marketplace to promote economic growth and prosperity.

Maximizing Opportunities for International Synergies

In Budget 2007 the Government laid the ground work for its Aid Effectiveness Agenda, which has since been successfully implemented by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through greater efficiency, accountability and focus, particularly in reporting on results and transparency, in order to maximize the impact of public funds.

The Government will continue to provide essential aid to those most in need in developing countries in key areas like maternal, newborn and child health, education, public sector governance and justice reform, and agriculture. Through these efforts, our assistance increasingly plays a catalytic role in fostering economic growth in the developing world and with emerging economies. This assistance is also a critical instrument for advancing Canada’s long-term prosperity and security.

Canada continues to make international development and humanitarian assistance central to our foreign policy, while maintaining a leadership role on the international stage, as evidenced by our G8 2010 Muskoka Initiative on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

The mechanisms through which we are advancing our development objectives are increasingly more multi-faceted and more often now include our bilateral and multilateral relationships, trade and commercial interests, and engagement with Canadian stakeholders, including civil society organizations and the private sector. As the linkages between our foreign policy, development, and trade objectives continue to grow, the opportunity to leverage each of these grows at equal pace.

In 2006, the Government re-merged its foreign affairs and international trade functions, helping to foster natural synergies between the two portfolios that have resulted in improved outcomes for Canadians. This enhanced policy coherence across our foreign and trade objectives has helped Canada to increase economic opportunities through our international engagements. There are similar opportunities for synergies with our development assistance.

In order to maximize this opportunity, the Government will amalgamate the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and CIDA. In addition to maintaining a separate ministerial position, this Government will, for the first time, enshrine in law the important roles and responsibilities of the Minister for development and humanitarian assistance. This enhanced alignment of our foreign, development, trade and commercial policies and programs will allow the Government to have greater policy coherence on priority issues and will result in greater overall impact of our efforts.

The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will continue to serve the same functions as those of CIDA and DFAIT. Poverty alleviation through development assistance and the provision of humanitarian assistance in times of crisis are a tangible expression of Canadian values, which the Government will continue to advance on the international stage. To that effect, core development assistance will remain intact. The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will leverage the synergies resulting from the amalgamation to maximize the effectiveness of the resources available to deliver development and humanitarian assistance.

Supporting the Economic Transition of Communities Economically Linked to the Chrysotile Asbestos Industry

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $50 million over seven years to support the economic diversification efforts of the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos.

Historically, the chrysotile asbestos industry has been a significant employer in the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos in the province of Quebec. Due to the decline of the industry, these communities are now exploring ways to diversify their local economies and create new jobs.

Confirming the commitment made by the Government in September 2012, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $50 million over seven years to Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions to support economic diversification efforts in the communities of Thetford Mines and Asbestos.

Protecting Canada’s Natural Environment

Protecting the health and well-being of Canadians by promoting a clean and sustainable environment is a key government priority. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide funding to continue to preserve Canada’s natural heritage through land and marine conservation, support responsible marine management, and protect against invasive species.

Supporting a Healthy Environment

To maintain a strong economy, Canada requires a healthy environment that provides sustainable resources and supports a high quality of life. The Government is committed to ensuring that Canada’s enviable and pristine environment is protected and strengthened for current and future generations.

Since 2006, the Government has made available more than $17 billion to support the environment, including:

  • More than $4 billion in clean transportation initiatives to support renewable fuels and a cleaner and more efficient transportation system.
  • About $2.5 billion in ecoENERGY initiatives targeting renewable energy, energy science and technology, and energy efficiency.
  • More than $1 billion to support the Clean Air Regulatory Agenda, the Government’s regulatory framework for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving air quality.
  • Nearly $1 billion for the ecoENERGY Retrofit—Homes program to help homeowners make their homes more energy efficient.
  • A $1.5-billion trust fund to help the provinces and territories invest in major projects that clean our air and result in real GHG emission reductions.

The Government is committed to reducing Canada’s total GHG emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020 and is halfway to meeting its target—a target that is inscribed in the Copenhagen Accord. The Government is also following a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to align with the United States to achieve GHG emission reductions. To date, stringent regulations to reduce GHG emissions in the electricity and transportation sectors have been implemented. In addition, work is also underway to develop regulations for the oil and gas sector.

Our environmental approach is comprehensive and will continue to include actions that create a cleaner, healthier environment, improve the lives of Canadians, and support the development and deployment of new environmental and cleaner energy technologies.

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $20 million in 2013-14 for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to continue to conserve ecologically sensitive land under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Each federal dollar will be matched by two dollars in new funding from other sources.

The Government is committed to the preservation and protection of Canada’s natural environment. The Nature Conservancy of Canada is a not-for-profit, private land conservation organization that works with companies, communities, landowners and others to protect Canada’s most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Budget 2007 provided $225 million to the Conservancy to protect ecologically significant land over six years under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. This investment is expected to leverage over $600 million and conserve 531 properties totalling more than 800,000 acres.

Building on the Government’s strong record of conservation, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide an additional $20 million for the Nature Conservancy of Canada to continue to conserve ecologically sensitive land in 2013-14 under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. Each federal dollar will be matched by two dollars in new funding from other sources, leveraging additional funds for the conservation of Canada’s natural environment. The Government is also working on the development of a National Conservation Plan. Further details will be announced in the coming year.

Improving the Conservation of Fisheries Through Community Partnerships

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $10 million over two years to improve the conservation of fisheries by supporting partnerships with local groups.

The fisheries sector provides employment opportunities in many remote and rural communities across Canada. Conservation of fisheries habitat is an important component of efforts to ensure the ongoing viability of the sector. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $10 million over two years to support partnerships with local groups to implement a variety of projects that would improve the conservation of fisheries habitat.

Salmon Conservation Stamp

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to dedicate all funds collected through the sale of the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation.

The protection of salmon habitat is an important factor contributing to the long-term sustainability of both recreational and commercial Pacific salmon fisheries.

The Pacific Salmon Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, established in 1987, dedicated to promoting the conservation, restoration and enhancement of Pacific salmon habitat for the benefit of present and future generations. The Foundation helps fund community-led projects to rehabilitate streams and rivers. The Foundation is able to leverage significant support from a number of its partners. For each $1 raised through the Salmon Conservation Stamp, $10 is leveraged for local community projects through monetary and in-kind donations.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to dedicate all revenues collected from the Salmon Conservation Stamp to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The Foundation currently receives roughly $300,000 per year from the Government. This proposal would increase the contribution by roughly $1 million per year. This will allow the Foundation to fund additional projects to improve Pacific salmon habitat, in partnership with communities, First Nations and non-profit organizations.

Enabling Responsible Marine Management

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $4 million in 2013-14 for conservation measures in support of Canada’s marine-based ecosystems.

Canada’s oceans represent a public resource that provides important economic and cultural benefits to all Canadians. Traditional marine activities, such as fisheries and shipping, are expanding and new activities, such as offshore energy production, have emerged. As the steward of Canada’s oceans, the Government has invested over $70 million since 2007 through the Health of the Oceans Initiative to protect fragile marine environments.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $4 million in 2013-14 to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada to support marine conservation activities. Funding will support the designation of the Scott Islands in British Columbia as a Marine National Wildlife Area, the development of guidelines to assist marine users to ensure their activities conform with conservation objectives in Marine Protected Areas, and the identification of priority conservation areas to facilitate the planning of marine activities.

Protecting Against Invasive Species

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $4 million over three years to continue the monitoring and enforcement of ballast water regulations and to support an increase in ballast water inspection capacity in Arctic waters.

Canada’s ballast water regulations set out mandatory safe handling practices for the ballast water used by ships to maintain vessel stability. Without proper handling, the millions of tonnes of ballast water discharged at Canada’s ports and harbours each year could introduce foreign species into Canada’s waters, damaging our ecosystems and creating economic losses for those who depend on marine activities for their livelihood. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $4 million over three years for Transport Canada to continue to monitor and enforce ballast water regulations. This funding will also support enhanced ballast water inspection capacity in the North, in anticipation of increased vessel traffic in Canada’s Arctic waters.

Sustaining the Great Lakes

Established under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty between the United States and Canada, the International Joint Commission (IJC) is an independent, quasi-judicial body that has an important role in protecting the shared waters of the Great Lakes. In March 2012, the Commission received the results of a study of water levels and flows in the upper Great Lakes, including Georgian Bay. The IJC is currently reviewing the study’s findings and will report its recommendations to the Governments of Canada and the United States in the near future. Once the recommendations are available, the Government will carefully review them and determine next steps.

Expanding Tax Support for Clean Energy Generation

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to expand eligibility for the accelerated capital cost allowance for clean energy generation equipment to include a broader range of biogas production equipment and equipment used to treat gases from waste.

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 2013 proposes to expand Class 43.2 to include:

  • biogas production equipment that uses pulp and paper waste and wastewater, beverage industry waste and wastewater, and separated organics from municipal waste; and
  • all types of cleaning and upgrading equipment that can be used to transform biogas, landfill gas or digester gas into biomethane.

It is estimated that these measures will reduce federal revenues by about $1 million in total over the next two years.

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to amend the Nuclear Safety and Control Act to facilitate the recovery of costs for licences issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

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 facilitate the recovery of costs with respect to the nuclear licences issued by the Commission, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes a technical amendment to the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

Building Strong Aboriginal Communities

The Government is committed to helping Aboriginal communities prosper and become more self-sufficient. The January 2012 Crown-First Nations Gathering bears witness to our commitment to work with First Nations to move forward on an agenda of shared priorities to unlock First Nations potential and build stronger communities. More recently, the Prime Minister agreed to a high-level dialogue on the treaty relationship and comprehensive land claims to make progress on the shared goal of healthier, more prosperous and self-sufficient First Nations communities.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes measures to continue to ensure specific claims are resolved fairly and in a timely manner, strengthen opportunities for on-reserve economic development, improve safety for Aboriginal people, and enhance access to health care services on reserve, including specialized mental health services.

Resolving Specific Claims

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $54 million over two years to ensure that specific claims are addressed promptly.

The Government is committed to achieving fair and timely resolution of First Nations’ claims for compensation relating to Canada’s obligations under historic treaties or the way it managed First Nations funds or assets. The Justice at Last initiative, developed with First Nations and announced by the Government in 2007, has achieved success in accelerating the resolution of specific claims. Since then, Canada has responded to more than 500 claims that were waiting to be assessed, and has settled 84 claims totalling more than $1.7 billion through negotiated agreements with First Nations. To build on this success, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $54 million over two years to ensure that specific claims continued to be addressed promptly, providing resolution to First Nations claimants. The certainty provided through fair and final settlements provides economic benefits for First Nations, industry and area communities.

First Nations Land Management Regime

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $9 million over two years for the expansion of the First Nations Land Management Regime to create further opportunities for economic development on reserve.

Unlocking the economic potential of First Nations was identified as a priority in the January 2012 Crown-First Nations Gathering Outcome Statement. Enabling communities to enact their own land management laws can help unlock the significant economic development potential of reserve lands. Delivering on the commitment to take action in this area, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes a two-year investment of $9 million for the expansion of the First Nations Land Management Regime, to provide additional First Nations with the opportunity to enact their own laws for the development, conservation, use and possession of reserve lands. This will add 33 First Nations to the regime, including the 8 announced earlier this year. Currently, there are 61 First Nations across the country taking advantage of this opportunity.

This builds on the Budget 2011 announcement to reallocate up to an additional $20 million over two years to the regime. With the investments being proposed today, over 90 First Nations are expected to be operating under the First Nations Land Management Regime by 2017, more than double the number in 2006. The Government will also continue to pursue a range of other avenues to activate the economic base in First Nations communities.

First Nations Policing Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms $33 million over two years to support policing in First Nations and Inuit communities, and $3 million over two years for additional police officers in First Nations police services to focus on contraband tobacco.

The Government provides support for First Nations and Inuit policing in almost 400 communities as part of its ongoing commitment to keep streets and communities safe—the safety and security of all Canadians is a top priority. The First Nations Policing Program supplements provincial and territorial policing services for First Nations and Inuit communities. Budget 2011 provided $30 million over two years for this program. The Government recently announced that it will be extending additional support to the program. Economic Action Plan 2013 confirms stable multi-year funding, with an additional $33 million over two years to support policing services in First Nations and Inuit communities. The Government will continue to work with partners in this area, including provinces and territories, to explore ways to provide the most cost-effective and sustainable policing options, as part of its ongoing commitment to keeping our streets and communities safe.

In addition, $3 million over two years is proposed for ten additional police officers in First Nations self-administered police services to focus on contraband tobacco.

Aboriginal Justice Strategy

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $11 million in 2013-14 to support the Aboriginal Justice Strategy.

Through the Aboriginal Justice Strategy, the Government helps Aboriginal people assume greater responsibility for the administration of justice in their communities in an effort to address rates of crime, victimization and incarceration among Aboriginal people. To achieve these objectives, the Strategy assists provinces, territories and Aboriginal communities to support community-based, culturally sensitive and effective alternatives to the mainstream justice system for non-violent property or lesser offences. Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government proposes to continue to invest in the Strategy by providing $11 million in 2013-14.

Renewal of the Family Violence Prevention Program

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $24 million over two years for the Family Violence Prevention Program.

Family violence is an issue that can affect Canadians from all walks of life and can have tremendous costs, particularly for children, so it is important to ensure that help is near. Families in First Nations communities that are remote and isolated may face particular challenges in accessing protective and support services. The Family Violence Prevention Program funds shelter services and violence prevention programming on reserve. Economic Action Plan 2012 provided $12 million for the program in 2012–13.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to continue funding at this level through a two-year investment of $24 million. This investment will contribute to improving safety on reserve.

Preventing Violence Against Women

The Government is committed to addressing the problem of violence against women and girls by coordinating federal activities, refocusing ongoing funding and protecting Aboriginal women.

  • The Family Violence Initiative provides annual funding of $7 million to reduce family violence through the coordinated activities of 15 federal organizations.
  • Through the Women’s Program, Status of Women Canada provides $19 million annually to community-based projects that address the economic and social situation of women. Budget 2007 invested $10 million annually to enhance and refocus the activities of the program on key areas, including combating violence against women and girls. Since 2007, more than $54 million has been provided to projects addressing violence against women and girls.
  • In 2010, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research provided $6 million over five years to fund three new regional centres for the study of gender-based violence and strategies for its prevention.
  • The Family Violence Prevention Program supports the operation of over 40 shelters as well as violence prevention programming for First Nations on reserve. Since 2007, the Government has invested an additional $12 million annually in the program.
  • Budget 2010 invested $25 million over five years to address the high number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Investments support: the creation of a new national centre to support investigations; a national “tip” Web site for missing persons; enhancements to the Canadian Police Information Centre to capture additional missing persons data; amendments to the Criminal Code; and a list of best practices to help law enforcement, Aboriginal communities and justice partners in the future. Funding also helps to provide better victims’ services, awareness programs and community safety plans for Aboriginal communities.

Improving Health Services to First Nations Communities

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $48 million over two years to improve health care on reserve.

Accessible, reliable and quality health care is important for the health and safety of communities and families across Canada. Increased use of technologies such as TeleHealth can make a significant contribution to improving the accessibility, reliability and quality of care in remote and isolated communities, by linking front-line health providers in these communities with doctors and other practitioners whose expertise would not otherwise be so readily accessible. Ensuring health facilities on reserve are able to provide care in line with national standards is also important for improving health outcomes by ensuring people get the right care at the right time.

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes an investment of $48 million over two years to improve the quality of health services in First Nations communities to build upon Budget 2008 investments for nearly
300 tele-health and videoconferencing sites to support better health care. This new investment will ensure better use of available technologies in health facilities on reserve by maintaining existing investments in connectivity and expanding electronic health services in remote and isolated First Nations communities. It also proposes to increase the number of accredited health care facilities in First Nations communities, beyond the 75 First Nations health facilities accredited through Budget 2008 investments, to ensure services are provided in line with national standards.

Economic Action Plan 2013 also proposes continuing funding for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, which provides eligible First Nations and Inuit people with a range of medically necessary supplementary health benefits that are not already provided through other public or private health insurance plans.

Enhancing Mental Health Services in First Nations Communities

Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes $4 million over two years to increase the number of mental health wellness teams serving First Nations communities.

Mental health and suicide are pressing issues that touch the lives of people living on reserve. The need for a culturally appropriate continuum of mental health services was identified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Mental Health Strategy for Canada. Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes funding of $4 million over two years to enhance community-based mental health services for First Nations by increasing the number of mental health wellness teams and specialized services available in First Nations communities.

In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada will reallocate $2 million to improve data collection and reporting of mental illness and mental health, as recommended in the Mental Health Strategy for Canada, to improve knowledge and foster collaboration.

These investments complement the over $100 million annually being provided for Aboriginal mental health programs and services.

Supporting Aboriginal Peoples

Economic Action Plan 2013 adds to the over $11 billion each year the Government of Canada invests in programs and services for Aboriginal peoples, which includes annual investments such as:

  • Over $8 billion in priority areas such as First Nations elementary and secondary education, on-reserve infrastructure and housing, post-secondary education, claims settlements and governance support, as well as programs for the North, which has a significant Aboriginal population.
  • Over $400 million to support Aboriginal skills development and training.
  • Over $2.4 billion for First Nations and Inuit health including primary health care in on-reserve communities, as well as non-insured health benefits.
  • Over $120 million to support 163 policing agreements in approximately 400 First Nations and Inuit communities.
  • Over $100 million for Aboriginal fisheries programs.

These investments benefit Aboriginal peoples in real ways. For example, since 2006 over 30 new First Nations schools have been built and over 200 have been renovated, and over 10,000 homes have been built for First Nations families.

Table 3.5.1
Supporting Families and Communities
millions of dollars
  2013-14 2014-15 Total
Support for Families      
Expanding Tax Relief for Home Care Services 5 5 10
Palliative and End-of-Life Care 1 1 2
Tariff Relief for Canadians Consumers 76 76 152
 
Subtotal—Support for Families 82 82 164
Investing in Communities      
Housing for Canadians in Need      
  Homelessness Partnering Strategy   119 119
  Investment in Affordable Housing   253 253
  Investment in Nunavut Housing 30 70 100
Supporting and Honouring Veterans      
  Enhancing Veterans Affairs Canada's Funeral and Burial Program 63 2 65
Road to 2017 1 2 3
Investments in Arts and Culture      
  Massey Hall Revitalization 8 8
Expanding Library Services for the
Blind and Partially Sighted
3   3
First-Time Donor’s Super Credit 25 25 50
Supporting the Economic Transition of Communities Economically Linked to the Chrysotile Asbestos Industry 3 5 8
 
Subtotal—Investing in Communities 133 476 609
Protecting Canada's Natural Environment      
Nature Conservancy of Canada 20   20
Improving the Conservation of Fisheries
Through Community Partnerships
5 5 10
Salmon Conservation Stamp 1 1 2
Enabling Responsible Marine Management 4   4
Protecting Against Invasive Species 2 2 3
Expanding Tax Support for Clean Energy Generation   1 1
 
Subtotal—Protecting Canada’s Natural Environment 32 9 41
Building Strong Aboriginal Communities      
Resolving Specific Claims 27 27 54
First Nations Land Management Regime 2 7 9
First Nations Policing Program 18 18 36
Aboriginal Justice Strategy 11   11
Renewal of the Family Violence Prevention Program 12 12 24
Improving Health Services to First Nations Communities 24 24 48
Enhancing Mental Health Services in First Nations Communities 2 2 4
 
Subtotal—Building Strong Aboriginal Communities 95 90 185
Total—Supporting Families and Communities 342 657 999
Less funds existing in the fiscal framework 76 422 498
Less funds sourced from internal reallocations 1 11 12
Net fiscal cost 265 224 489
Note: Totals may not add due to rounding