Chapter 3 – A Strong Canada at Home and in the World
As we mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we celebrate generations of Canadians who have come together to build our country, brick by brick, block by block, from coast to coast to coast. We are a country of millions of immigrants and refugees, and Indigenous Peoples, bound by a spirit of daring, hard work and ingenuity.
In Budget 2017, the country moves ahead with confidence, driven by innovation, and the ardent belief that a Canada built by all should benefit all. We know a growing and optimistic middle class has long been at the heart of our success, and that a strong and thriving middle class will continue to lead the way: finding new frontiers, creating new opportunities for women and men, and—above all—building a country that works for everyone.
That is why, in Budget 2017, the Government endeavours to level the playing field for all Canadians: individuals, families and communities—from Windsor to Resolute. We aim to break down the barriers that put a drag on our economy and prevent Canadians from reaching their fullest potential.
For too long, First Nations, Inuit and Métis—among the fastest-growing groups of our population—have been left out of our country's tremendous success. The Government has embarked upon a journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, and will continue to take great strides. That means ensuring Indigenous Peoples have the clean water, health care, and resources and opportunities they need to flourish.
Similarly, Canada must continue to empower more women to break glass ceilings and fully participate in our economy, whether at the management table, on a construction site or in the science lab. Budget 2017 takes unprecedented steps towards identifying and removing the barriers that disproportionately affect women; it also includes measures to address violence against women, while improving access to continued education, upskilling, home care and caregiver support.
Additionally, our veterans deserve every opportunity to put their skills and valuable experience to work in civilian life. Those who have suffered injury, and their families, must receive the additional support they need to make this transition with dignity and ease. They were there for us, and now we must be there for them.
Budget 2017 looks forward with a sense of vigour and optimism, guided by a spirit of boundless opportunity. These qualities built our present and will forge our future. But to truly face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, we must tear down the barriers that have for so long blocked too many Canadians from reaching their fullest potential. We must realize that we cannot build our future without helping others build theirs. We must build an economy—and country—that benefits everyone. That starts with a strong, vibrant and growing middle class.
Canada did not happen by accident, and it won't continue without effort. As we look forward to Canada's next 150 years, we join Canadians in renewing our commitment to this hard but vital work.
Stronger Health Care and a Healthier Canada
Canada's publicly funded health care system is a source of great pride for all Canadians. It is an essential foundation for a strong, fair and prosperous nation.
The federal government—along with its provincial and territorial partners—recognizes the need to strengthen the health care system to adapt, innovate and address the many new challenges that Canadians face each and every day.
The Government is committed to ensure our health care system is there to meet the needs of Canadian families now and into the future. In 2017–18, the Government will provide over $37.1 billion to the provinces and territories, under the Canada Health Transfer. This year's funding—an increase of approximately $1.1 billion from last year—will provide long-term, predictable and growing funding to our provincial and territorial partners. Over the next five years, the Canada Health Transfer amounts provided to provinces and territories are expected to total approximately $200 billion to support the health and well-being of Canadians.
The Canada Health Transfer is the largest major transfer to provinces and territories. It supports the principles of the Canada Health Act: universality, comprehensiveness, portability, accessibility and public administration.
In 2017–18, the Canada Health Transfer will provide $37.1 billion to the provinces and territories. It will grow in line with a three-year moving average of nominal gross domestic product growth, with funding guaranteed to increase by at least 3 per cent per year.
In addition to the growing Canada Health Transfer, the Government has offered to provide the provinces and territories an additional $11 billion over 10 years to support better home care and mental health initiatives. This investment will make Canada's health care system more responsive to the needs and expectations of all Canadians, and begin to close long-standing gaps in the availability of care.
Home Care and Mental Health
The demand for home care services is growing. Today, approximately15 per cent of hospital beds are still occupied by patients who could and would prefer to receive their care at home, or would be better off in a community-based setting. In addition, a majority of those Canadians who have taken on the responsibility to care for their loved ones are still in the workforce—and most are women.
Scientific research has made great strides to improve our understanding of mental illness and its prevalence. Today, we know that an overwhelming number of Canadians will be affected—directly or indirectly—by mental illness at some point in their lives. Science has also shown that it is essential for those struggling with mental illness to have access to timely and appropriate mental health services. Yet, in certain regions, wait times to see a mental health specialist are up to 18 months. This is not good enough. If not prevented, or effectively treated early, mental health issues can have lasting health implications.
That's why Budget 2017 proposes to invest $6 billion over 10 years for home care, and $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. These targeted investments have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of all Canadians. Through this funding, Canadians can expect improved access to home, community and palliative care services; more support for informal caregivers; and better access to mental health support for as many as 500,000 young Canadians under the age of 25 who cannot currently receive even basic mental health services.
The Government will work collaboratively to ensure that the funding will build on and enhance existing provincial and territorial efforts to improve care for Canadians. The funding provided will also include an emphasis on reporting to ensure that any new investments translate into improved health outcomes for Canadian families.
"Reimagining a more effective, responsive mental health system will require long-term investments in a range of services, from prevention and early intervention to access to psychotherapy and community-based services. Thus far, the response to the federal commitment is heartening, with many provinces and territories allocating funds to areas with the largest payoff."
The federal government recognizes that health care delivery is primarily provincial and territorial jurisdiction and applauds the hard work done on the ground by the provinces and territories to deliver the health care that Canadians deserve and expect.
Over the past number of months, the Government has engaged with the provinces and territories in constructive and spirited negotiations to further improve the health and well-being of all Canadians. To date, the provincial and territorial governments of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec have accepted the federal offer of the significant new targeted funding that will see each province and territory receive its share of the $11 billion investment in home care and mental health. This arrangement recognizes the unique circumstances of and the asymmetrical relationship with the Province of Quebec.
This stable, predictable and long-term funding over the next 10 years represents a major step towards better health care and health outcomes for Canadians across the country. The Government is committed to working with all provinces and territories to improve home care and mental health services in support of all Canadians.
Budget 2017 will provide an immediate down payment on investments in home care and mental health through a new targeted legislated transfer to provide 2017–18 funding to the provinces and territories that have accepted the federal offer. Governments are working to develop agreements on performance indicators and mechanisms for annual reporting to citizens, as well as a detailed plan on how the funds will be spent, over and above existing programs. These will be consistent with the pan-Canadian approach envisaged in the federal offer in December 2016.
What Success Will Look Like
- More patients receiving better care at home or in the community.
- Shortened wait times for mental health services to help children and young persons under the age of 25 in need of support.
- Improved accountability to Canadians through reporting on new home care and mental health investments in the health care system.
Prescription Medications and Health Innovation
While Canadians are rightly proud of their universal public health care system, international assessments from such organizations as the Commonwealth Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that our system lags behind other major peer countries in several areas. For example, the costs Canadian families pay for prescription medications are too high and too few Canadians have access to digital health care.
To promote a more innovative health care system, Budget 2017 proposes measures that include:
- Improving access to prescription medications, lowering drug prices and supporting appropriate prescribing through an investment of $140.3 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, with $18.2 million per year ongoing, for Health Canada, the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.
- Addressing health data gaps, supporting improved decision-making and strengthening the reporting on health system performance through an investment of $53.0 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, with $15.0 million per year ongoing, for the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
- Expanding e-prescribing and virtual care initiatives, supporting the continued adoption and use of electronic medical records, helping patients to access their own health records electronically, and better linking electronic health record systems to improve access by all providers and institutions through an investment of $300 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, for Canada Health Infoway.
- Continuing to accelerate innovations in all provinces and territories through an investment of $51.0 million over three years, starting in 2019–20, with $17.0 million per year ongoing, for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement.
While the health care system has served Canadians well, innovations are required to better meet the needs of patients as changes in demographics, health needs and the use of technology continue to evolve.
Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy
Canada faces a serious opioid crisis. We see its consequences in the rates of addiction, overdoses and deaths across the country. This is a complex health and social issue with devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities. The response to this crisis needs to be comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based.
On December 12, 2016, the Minister of Health announced the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, which will replace the current National Anti-Drug Strategy. The strategy formally restores harm reduction as a key pillar alongside prevention, treatment and enforcement. The Government is also committed to ensuring that its policies under the strategy are based on a strong foundation of evidence.
In support of the new strategy—and to help address the misuse of opioids that has become a significant public health and safety concern—the Government also introduced legislation to better equip both health and law enforcement officials to reduce the harms associated with drug and substance use in Canada.
More recently in February 2017, the Government announced $65 million over five years as part of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy for national measures to respond to the opioid crisis and implement its Opioid Action Plan. The Government also provided $10 million in urgently needed support to the Government of British Columbia and $6.0 million to the Government of Alberta to address their opioid-related public health emergencies.
In addition, Budget 2017 proposes to support the national measures associated with the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy through an investment of $35 million over five years, for a total of $100 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, with $22.7 million per year ongoing, for Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. These significant investments build on important, concrete actions the Government has taken to respond to this crisis—including the step taken to make naloxone more accessible.
As an overall benefit to the health care system, drug information systems and e-prescribing can help reduce prescription errors and abuse, alert pharmacists to potentially harmful drug interactions and help patients take their medications as prescribed.
With respect to the opioid crisis, moving from paper-based prescribing to e-prescribing can help reduce the abuse of controlled substances like prescription opioids. E-prescribing enables providers to make use of enhanced security features that technology affords. For example, prescribers can transmit prescriptions for a controlled substance to pharmacies securely without the risk of alteration, copying or diversion.
As part of the Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis, announced on November 19, 2016, Canada Health Infoway committed to reduce the harm and costs of opioid-related fraud and misuse with the launch of PrescribeITTM, Canada's national e-prescribing service. PrescribeITTM's secure electronic transmission will ensure that prescriptions cannot be altered or forged and will provide value-added data to physician regulators, policy-makers and others.
Public Education Programming and Surveillance for Legalized Cannabis
The Government of Canada remains committed to keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, and the profits out of the pockets of organized crime. As part of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, Health Canada will support marijuana public education programming and surveillance activities in advance of the Government's plan to legalize cannabis by directing existing funding of $9.6 million over five years, with $1.0 million per year ongoing.
The current system of tax relief for caregivers is confusing and difficult to navigate, and does not serve Canadian families well. Budget 2017 proposes to simplify the existing system by replacing three existing tax credits with a single new Canada Caregiver Credit (see Chapter 4 for details).
This new, non-refundable credit will provide better support to those who need it the most: individuals caring for dependent relatives with infirmities (including persons with disabilities). The Canada Caregiver Credit will be more accessible and will extend tax relief to more caregivers—particularly those Canadians who provide care to dependent relatives who do not live with their caregivers. This measure will provide $310 million in additional tax relief over the 2016–17 to 2021–22 period.
Territorial Health Investment Fund
Due to the high cost and logistical difficulties of delivering specialized health services to small, isolated communities, the territories face unique challenges in providing quality health care across the north. As a result, the territories often rely on costly air medical transport to ensure citizens have access to all medically necessary services.
Since 2014, the Territorial Health Investment Fund has been in place to support the transformation of territorial health systems to improve access to health services in the territories—particularly in the areas of mental health, chronic disease and children's oral health—and reduce reliance on medical transport outside the region.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $108 million over four years, starting in 2017–18, to renew and expand the Territorial Health Investment Fund. Of this amount, $25.6 million will be allocated to Yukon, $28.4 million to the Northwest Territories and $54 million to Nunavut. This funding will support territorial efforts to innovate and transform their health care systems and ensure northerners have access to the health care they need.
Supporting Canada's High-Performance Athletes
The Government of Canada is a proud supporter of amateur sport and is the single largest contributor to sport in Canada. Each year, the Government provides over $190 million to support sport development, sport excellence and hosting for the Canada Games and international single sport events.
Canadians are proud of the achievements of their high-performance athletes who represent Canada on the world stage. This past summer, the entire nation cheered on the accomplishments of our Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The performances of our athletes are inspiring to all Canadians, especially young Canadians, and encourage everyone to enjoy the benefits of sport and recreation activities.
To help support Canada's high-performance athletes, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $25 million over five years, with $5 million per year ongoing, to the Athlete Assistance Program. This program provides grants to high-performance Canadian athletes in the form of a living and training allowance, plus tuition and special needs assistance. This investment will increase annual funding to $33 million, an 18 per cent increase in current funding.
Furthering Partnerships With Indigenous Peoples
"The Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples of Canada have begun our own new walk together. And together we've taken the first steps in what we all know is going to be a multi-generational journey."
Indigenous Peoples represent one of the fastest-growing groups in Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis continue to make important and diverse contributions within Canada, and will play a vital role in the future success of our country. Investing in Indigenous communities forms a significant part of our work toward reconciliation and it will benefit all Canadians.
Building on an historic investment of $8.4 billion over five years in support of education, clean water and reconciliation, Budget 2017 proposes investments to:
- Build, repair and improve infrastructure on-reserve and in Inuit communities (see Chapter 2).
- Establish a new Indigenous framework for early learning and child care (see Chapter 2).
- Provide support for post-secondary education, skills development and training for Indigenous Peoples (see Chapter 1).
- Deliver better health outcomes for First Nations and Inuit.
- Advance reconciliation.
- Support strong Indigenous communities both on- and off-reserve.
Taken together, the proposed investments in Budget 2017 for First Nations, Inuit and Métis total $3.4 billion over five years and address areas of critical need. This includes the investments set out in Chapter 1 that will support the post-secondary education and training needs of Indigenous Peoples that will allow them to better access employment opportunities and improve their quality of life.
In addition, the Government continues to work collaboratively with First Nations to establish a new fiscal relationship that provides First Nations communities with sufficient, predictable and sustained funding. The Government and the Assembly of First Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in August 2016 committing to work in partnership to develop the new fiscal relationship.
Budget 2016 announced an unprecedented funding increase of $2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on-reserve. This includes support for the transformation of the education system on-reserve with the aim of improving education outcomes for First Nations children.
On December 16, 2016, the Government of Canada and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre announced the historic signing of an Education Governance Agreement for the creation of the Manitoba First Nations School System. This unique First Nations-designed school system, with funding and autonomy comparable to provincial school divisions, will be fully operational for the 2017–18 school year.
This agreement supports First Nations-led education transformation and reflects Canada's commitment to support a high-quality and culturally relevant First Nations education system, developed and led by First Nations. The Government will continue to work with other First Nations to develop similar system transformations that will contribute to better futures for First Nations youth.
What Success Will Look Like
The investments proposed in Budget 2017 will lead to:
- Better access to health care on-reserve and improved health outcomes for First Nations and Inuit.
- Improved mental wellness for First Nations and Inuit, particularly youth.
- A reduction in the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system and corrections.
- Increased opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to pursue post-secondary education and training.
Evidence has shown that Indigenous women systemically tend to be more vulnerable than non-Indigenous Canadians. For example, Indigenous women are more likely to be single mothers, they are more likely to have a low income, they are significantly overrepresented in the corrections system, and they are more likely to be the victims of violence. Budget 2017 investments in restorative justice, corrections and policing and the initiative to establish an Indigenous framework for early learning and child care will provide much-needed support to some of Canada's most vulnerable people.
Healthier First Nations and Inuit Communities
Over recent decades, health outcomes have continued to improve for First Nations and Inuit, but they lag behind those of the broader Canadian population. Access to health services is a particular challenge for those living in remote and isolated communities. In addition, First Nations and Inuit experience rates of mental health challenges far beyond what is seen in other populations.
Budget 2016 announced $270 million over five years, starting in 2016–17, for the construction, repair and improvement of health facilities on‑reserve.
The construction of a health centre in Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick has already been completed. It is the community's first facility dedicated to health programming and will more than double the previous health space—which had to be shared with the band's administrative office. The new centre will provide an expanded range of community health services, including maternal and child health, health promotion, disease prevention, immunization, and mental health and addictions services.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $828.2 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to improve the health outcomes of First Nations and Inuit. This funding will make it easier for First Nations and Inuit to receive timely medical care—including mental health services. This amount includes $15 million in proposed funding for harm reduction measures that form part of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy (see the section "Stronger Health Care and a Healthier Canada" in this chapter).
In order to give every family the best possible start in life, the proposed funding will also expand maternal and child health services for First Nations and Inuit families with children under the age of 6.
The Maternal Child Health Program is a successful home visiting program by nurses and family visitors designed to provide support to mothers and families with children ages 0-6. The program provides information, education and support for parenting skills, healthy child development, positive lifestyle changes, pre-conception health, improved maternal reproductive health and access to social supports, while integrating cultural values, customs and beliefs.
Budget 2017 also proposes to provide new funding for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program—an important program that provides First Nations and Inuit with coverage for a range of medically necessary services that are not covered by other plans. This funding will make it easier for individuals and families to access culturally appropriate health care and mental health professionals, and it will expand the medical transportation benefit to ensure that expecting mothers do not have to travel alone if they require medical transportation outside the community to deliver their babies.
|Chronic and infectious diseases||50.2|
|Maternal and Child Health||83.2|
|Home and palliative care||184.6|
|Non-Insured Health Benefits Program||305.0|
|Drug strategy—harm reduction measures||15.0|
Since Budget 2016, the Government has announced funding of $69 million over three years, starting in 2016–17, to address pressing mental health and wellness needs. In Budget 2017, the Government is proposing an additional $204.2 million over five years to increase support for mental health services for First Nations and Inuit: $118.2 million for mental health programming; and $86 million for the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program to expand access to mental health professionals and—for the first time—make available the services of traditional healers to address mental health needs.
Building Strong Indigenous Communities
A Renewed Nation-to-Nation Relationship
A renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples will not happen overnight. While important first steps have been taken, the Government recognizes the hard work with Indigenous partners that lies ahead and remains committed to act.
In December 2016, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of new permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations and self-governing First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and self-governing Inuit groups, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. The Prime Minister and key Ministers will meet annually with these groups to develop policy on shared priorities and monitor progress. On February 9, 2017, the Prime Minister, key Ministers and Inuit leaders signed a declaration to create a new Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee that will work to renew the relationship and promote prosperity for the Inuit. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $13.7 million over two years to support the establishment of these permanent mechanisms.
As part of the Government's commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, a Working Group of Ministers has been established that will be responsible for a review of laws, policies and operational practices to ensure that Canada is: meeting its constitutional obligations with respect to Indigenous and treaty rights; adhering to international human rights standards, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and supporting the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action.
Budget 2017 proposes to provide $3.1 million over three years, starting in 2017–18, to the Privy Council Office, to establish a secretariat that will support the Working Group on the Review of Laws and Policies related to Indigenous Peoples.
Budget 2017 also proposes to invest $84.9 million over the next five years, and $28.3 million per year ongoing, to build the governance capacity of the Métis National Council and its five provincial Governing Members. This will lay the foundation for a new relationship with Métis Peoples and support collaborative work with the federal government on moving toward Métis self‑government and self-determination. Funding will also support Métis identification registries and the review of existing programs and services.
In addition, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $24 million per year, on an ongoing basis, to support the timely resolution of specific claims, in order to address past grievances related to historic treaties and other obligations.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has challenged all Canadians with its Calls to Action to help address the legacy of Canada's residential school system and advance the goal of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The Government has committed to address each of the Calls to Action that fall under its purview. The proposed measures in Budget 2017 will build on the progress made to date and directly respond to the Calls for Action through:
- Substantial investments in First Nations and Inuit health care.
- Support for post-secondary education, skills, training and employment development.
- Increased funding to support the preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages.
- Programing to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system and corrections.
In addition, the Prime Minister announced in December 2016 that the Government will enact an Indigenous Languages Act, co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection and revitalization of Indigenous languages.
Taking Steps to Preserve, Revitalize and Enhance Indigenous Languages and Cultures
The restoration of Indigenous languages and cultural traditions is fundamental to recognizing Indigenous identity and strengthening Indigenous communities. For this reason, Budget 2016 provided $55 million per year on an ongoing basis to support language and cultural programing in primary and secondary schools on-reserve. More recently, the Prime Minister announced that the Government will enact an Indigenous Languages Act, to be co-developed with Indigenous Peoples, with the goal of ensuring the preservation, protection and revitalization of Indigenous languages in this country.
Budget 2017 is proposing to invest $89.9 million over the next three years to support Indigenous languages and cultures. This includes:
- $69 million to significantly enhance the Aboriginal Languages Initiative. This new funding will support a range of activities such as developing learning materials, funding language classes and culture camps, and archiving Indigenous languages.
- $14.9 million for Library and Archives Canada to support the digitization of existing Indigenous language and cultural materials. Funding would also support the development of an Aboriginal Oral Testimonies Project to document Indigenous heritage.
- $6 million for the National Research Council Canada to develop, in collaboration with Indigenous stakeholders, information technology to preserve oral histories by converting speech to text, and creating other interactive educational materials.
The Government will continue to work with Indigenous Peoples on the development of a long-term comprehensive strategy to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures, centred on the principle of Indigenous control.
The Aboriginal Languages Initiative supports activities that provide Indigenous Peoples with a sense of connectivity to their culture, their language and their community. With support from the Initiative, the St. Mary's First Nation in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has developed an adult language immersion program in Maliseet, a critically endangered Indigenous language. Participants receive oral instruction in Maliseet, both inside and outside of the classroom, and travel to numerous locations along the Saint John River that have both cultural and historical significance to Maliseet people.
The enhancement of the Aboriginal Languages Initiative in Budget 2017 will support many other projects like this across the country and make an important contribution to cultural and linguistic revitalization.
Investing in Indigenous Youth and Sport
Sport is a powerful vehicle to support the health and well-being of Indigenous youth. The promotion of culturally relevant sport is also an important means to strengthen Indigenous identity and cultural pride.
To support this objective, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $18.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and ongoing funding of $5.5 million every four years thereafter, to support Indigenous youth and sport. This investment will increase support for culturally relevant sport programming for Indigenous youth and children at the community level. It will also help to strengthen Indigenous leadership and ensure the national sport system is more inclusive of Indigenous Peoples through training and collaboration with the National Sports Organizations. This investment will also establish stable, ongoing funding for the North American Indigenous Games—the largest sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous Peoples in North America. This high-profile event brings together over 5,000 participants to participate in traditional and mainstream sporting events and allows Indigenous youth to develop and showcase their athletic abilities while celebrating their heritage.
Promoting the Use of Restorative Justice Practices
The Government also remains committed to investing in the Indigenous Justice Program—formerly the Aboriginal Justice Strategy—which provides funding for community-based programs that use restorative justice approaches as an alternative to the mainstream justice system and corrections.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $55.5 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $11.1 million per year ongoing, to provide long-term and stable investment in the program.
While Indigenous Peoples only comprise roughly 4 per cent of the population of Canada, they represent a quarter of the incarcerated population. Combined with increased investments to support the reintegration of Indigenous offenders, Budget 2017 represents an important step towards reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system and corrections.
The current Aboriginal Justice Strategy has 197 community-based programs. In 2014–15, the program had about 9,000 referrals—that's 9,000 individuals whose lives were positively affected by the program.
For example, Aki*, a 16-year-old girl from Saskatoon, was found spray painting local businesses. She was arrested and charged with mischief. Aki was referred to the Aboriginal Justice Strategy by the Crown Prosecutor working on her case. This meant that instead of facing a judge, Aki successfully completed a victim-offender mediation process, where both Aki and the local business owners came to a mutually-agreed-upon solution. She also completed some subsequent program obligations. Once Aki completed her program, she had an opportunity to directly address the people who were affected by her actions while also staying out of juvenile detention and ensuring that she has no criminal record.
Today, Aki is doing well—she is in high school, consistent with broader experience in the program she has not reoffended, and she is seeking employment. Aki continues to use the program when she needs extra support on her new path.
The revised Indigenous Justice Program recognizes that Indigenous offenders face unique challenges, and it allows for participants to address some of those underlying issues and turn their lives around, like Aki.
* Name has been changed to protect the confidentiality of the individual.
Rehabilitating and Reintegrating Past Offenders
To help communities rehabilitate and reintegrate past offenders, we need to close the gaps in services for Indigenous Peoples in the criminal justice system. A focus on reintegration will improve the ability of these individuals to meaningfully participate in their communities and get stable employment, and will reduce their likelihood of reoffending.
Budget 2017 proposes to help reverse the trend of Indigenous overrepresentation in Canada's criminal justice system, and to help previously incarcerated Indigenous Peoples heal, rehabilitate and find good jobs by providing $65.2 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $10.9 million per year thereafter.
Policing Services in First Nations Communities
The First Nations Policing Program provides incremental investments to support policing in Indigenous communities. Budget 2017 proposes to provide an investment of $102 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, to address the most immediate needs of Indigenous police forces, while the Government examines ways to increase the effectiveness of this program.
Supporting Indigenous Participation in Fisheries
Sustainable fisheries businesses create many well-paying jobs in coastal and remote Indigenous communities. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $250 million over five years, and $62.2 million ongoing, to Fisheries and Oceans Canada to renew and expand the successful Pacific and Atlantic integrated commercial fisheries initiatives and to augment Indigenous collaborative management programming. These measures will create more jobs in Indigenous communities and will create opportunities for Indigenous women and families to succeed, while supporting the sustainability of aquatic resources and ocean habitats.
Launching an Indigenous Guardians Pilot Project to Promote Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands
Indigenous Peoples are leaders in environmental stewardship, sustainable development, and the management of natural resources on their lands. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $25 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to support a pilot Indigenous Guardians Program. Over the coming months, the Ministers of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and Environment and Climate Change will develop a proposal for the pilot. This initiative will give Indigenous Peoples greater responsibility and resources to manage their traditional lands and waterways and will facilitate partnership with Indigenous communities in monitoring ecological health, maintaining cultural sites, and protecting sensitive areas and species. Not only will this initiative benefit shared natural and cultural heritage, it will grow economic and social prosperity.
Tailored Programs and Services to Support Indigenous Peoples Living in Urban Centres
More than half of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada live in urban centres. The Urban Indigenous Strategy—formerly the Urban Aboriginal Strategy—supports Indigenous service centres in major urban areas that provide a one-window approach to programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. These centres are tailored to meet the needs of women and men that live in particular communities. For example, these centres can offer training and skills programs, day care programs, parenting programs, and other specific programs that help meet the needs of urban Indigenous Peoples and support their transition to life in the city. Budget 2017 proposes to continue to invest in the program with funding of $118.5 million over five years.
The Government of Canada is committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples through a renewed nation-to-nation relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership as the foundation for transformative change. Progress to date toward this goal includes:
- Constructing, planning or renovating nearly 6,000 housing units on-reserve.
- Fully lifting 18 long-term boil water advisories, with 201 projects underway that will lead to the elimination of remaining long-term advisories by March 2021.
- Moving forward on 125 school projects in 105 communities serving more than 135,000 people.
- Initiating urgent repairs and renovations for 209 child care centres that will be completed in 2017.
- Launching exploratory tables to discuss innovative approaches to address rights to advance self-determination.
- Working with five First Nations to successfully transition from the election provisions of the Indian Act to the First Nations Elections Act.
- Engaging with First Nations to improve education on-reserve from kindergarten to grade 12, resulting in a December 2016 agreement to establish a First Nations School System in Manitoba.
- Improving the welfare of First Nations children by providing funding for First Nations Child and Family Services and to support implementation of Jordan's Principle.
- Launching engagement on the design of a National Council for Reconciliation.
- Initiating annual summits with the Prime Minister, key Ministers and First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership to establish policy priorities as part of new permanent bilateral mechanisms with these groups.
The historic investment of $8.4 billion over five years made in Budget 2016 marked an important first step in advancing reconciliation. Budget 2017 proposes to build on this momentum with investments in a range of critical areas, notably infrastructure and health care. As a result, by 2021–22, total federal government spending on programs for First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada will increase from over $11 billion in 2015–16 to over $14 billion in 2021–22, an increase of 27 per cent.
New Fiscal Relatonship With First Nations
The Government committed to work to establish a new fiscal relationship that gives First Nations communities sufficient, predictable and sustained funding. In August 2016, the Government and the Assembly of First Nations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together on this new fiscal relationship. The Government also continues to work in partnership with self-governing First Nations. The new fiscal relationship will form the foundation for positive impacts in the daily lives of First Nations peoples.
Greater Support for Canada's Veterans and Their Families
Canada's women and men in uniform have served our country with bravery, honour and dignity—putting their lives at risk to protect the values we cherish most. Our veterans deserve our greatest recognition and respect for their service.
The Government is committed to ensuring that it delivers the programs and services our veterans—and their families—need for a seamless and successful transition from military to civilian life.
Last year, Budget 2016 invested $5.6 billion over six years to give more money to veterans with injuries or illnesses incurred during military service. In particular, Budget 2016:
- Raised income replacement under the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 per cent of pre-release salary for veterans who require rehabilitation or cannot return to work.
- Expanded access to higher grades of the Permanent Impairment Allowance to better support veterans who have had their career options limited by a service-related illness or injury.
- Increased compensation for pain and suffering by increasing the Disability Award to a maximum of $360,000 in 2017.
These measures represent a significant investment that will ensure that disabled veterans who are unable to return to the workforce because of their injuries receive higher lifelong financial support.
Budget 2016 also restored critical access to services for veterans by:
- Reopening nine service offices across the country, opening an additional service office and expanding outreach to veterans in the north.
- Hiring additional case managers to reduce the client-to-case manager ratio to no more than 25:1 to help veterans make successful transitions to civilian life.
The Government has been actively consulting with the veterans' community—from coast to coast to coast—to better understand the problems and challenges facing Canadian veterans and their families throughout their lives.
Building off these constructive conversations, Budget 2017 proposes measures to:
- Help veterans transition from military service to civilian life.
- Better support the families of ill and injured veterans, including caregivers.
- Invest in mental health services and care for veterans at risk.
These measures are informed by mandate commitments, stakeholder consultations, as well as the work of the Veterans Ombudsman. A recent status update from the Ombudsman highlighted the achievements of his office, noting that:
"Out of the 57 recommendations that were developed in collaboration with Veterans' advocates and organizations, 37 have been fully or partially implemented and 20 are waiting to be addressed. Six of the items in the Minister of Veterans Affairs' Mandate Letter are based on my recommendations, and three of these were addressed in Budget 2016."
What Success Will Look Like
- More veterans getting the skills, training and education they need for civilian employment.
- Better support for families of ill and injured veterans, including caregivers.
- Partnerships with third-party organizations to lead and pilot innovative projects for veterans.
- Better knowledge of how to prevent, assess and treat mental health issues.
Further Enhancing Lifelong Financial Support for Our Ill and Injured Veterans
Budget 2016 took an important step to significantly boost the Disability Award, the Earnings Loss Benefit and the Permanent Impairment Allowance for veterans—as recommended by the Veterans Ombudsman. Nevertheless, the financial supports for disabled veterans remain unnecessarily complex. Canada's veterans deserve a simple, straightforward and understandable benefits system that better meets their needs.
The Government of Canada will take further action to simplify these programs to better meet the needs of veterans. Specifically, the Government will move forward with its plan to fulfill its commitment to re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for injured veterans. This will provide an option for injured veterans to receive their Disability Award through a monthly payment for life, rather than in a one-time payment. This change to the Disability Award is something that the veterans' community has long advocated for and the Government remains committed to delivering. The Government has made considerable progress in its work to develop the pension for life option and will announce further details this year.
Moving forward, the Government will continue to work with the veterans' community to examine the best way to streamline and simplify the system of financial support programs currently offered to veterans.
Closing the Seam—Supporting Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans
During cross-country consultations, veterans and stakeholders consistently reported that their programs and benefits are complex, confusing and stressful to navigate. For example, Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans do not know if post-traumatic stress disorder support should come from the Department of National Defence (DND) or Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), or who they should go to if they require family support. To confuse matters further, there are often overlapping programs that exist between DND and VAC and as a result, too many Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans face long wait times or fall through the cracks.
To address this, VAC and DND have engaged in a joint effort to examine the best way to streamline and simplify the dual support systems at VAC and DND.
Budget 2017 announces that the Government will be undertaking a transformation of both DND and VAC programs to ensure our women and men in uniform have a better transition from the Canadian Armed Forces to VAC. The Government will initiate a convergence action plan that will see VAC and DND addressing the overlap and gaps that currently exist for Canadian Armed Forces members released from the military. The plan will also simplify benefits so that veterans will have a streamlined, client-centric process that is easier to navigate, gets veterans their services quicker and helps them transition to civilian life.
These efforts will contribute significantly to building a new relationship of trust with Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans and their families.
A New Veterans' Education and Training Benefit
After putting themselves in harm's way in service to our country, our women and men in uniform deserve a successful transition to civilian life. A smooth transition is vital for the overall well-being of our veterans and their families.
To help, Budget 2017 proposes to amend legislation to create a new Education and Training Benefit. In short, this benefit would provide more money for veterans to go to college, university or a technical school after they complete their service, through an investment of $133.9 million over six years, starting in 2016–17, and $10.3 million per year ongoing.
The new program would begin in April 2018 for veterans honourably released on or after April 1, 2006. Veterans with 6 years of eligible service would be entitled to up to $40,000 of benefits, while veterans with 12 years of eligible service would be entitled to up to $80,000 of benefits.
Enhancing Career Transition Services
In addition to providing more money for veterans to go back to school, Budget 2017 proposes to amend legislation to enhance the Career Transition Services Program. This measure would equip veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members, survivors, and veterans' spouses and common-law partners with the tools they need to successfully navigate and transition to the civilian workforce. The services offered would be expanded to include coaching and job placement assistance, all of which would be provided through a national contractor starting in April 2018. The investment would total $74.1 million over six years, starting in 2016–17, and $4.5 million per year ongoing.
How Veterans Will Benefit
David is a 32-year-old Canadian Armed Forces member who will be released in the summer of 2018 after 12 years of service in the Regular Force as an ammunition technician. He is planning on going back to school full-time for a three-year college course to become a civil engineering technician. He will receive an education benefit of $20,000 per year for each of those three years. Depending on his family income, David could also be eligible to receive student grants and loans through the Canada Student Loans Program. In addition, David can access employment services such as career counselling and job-search training under the Career Transition Services Program to assist him in re-entering the labour force following the completion of his studies.
Caregiver Recognition Benefit
Informal caregivers—who are often family members—play an integral and irreplaceable role in supporting ill and injured veterans after they leave service. Yet the sacrifices informal caregivers make for their loved ones are not being properly recognized.
Budget 2017 proposes to amend legislation and invest $187.3 million over six years, starting in 2016–17, and $9.5 million per year ongoing, to create the Caregiver Recognition Benefit for modern-day veterans. This benefit would replace the existing Family Caregiver Relief Benefit and would provide a more generous non-taxable $1,000 monthly benefit payable directly to caregivers to better recognize and honour the vital role they play.
Eliminating Vocational Rehabilitation Time Limits for Veterans' Survivors and Spouses
When a soldier serves in the Canadian Armed Forces, their family serves with them.
Military families deal with anxieties and challenges that most Canadians will never have to face, with spouses, common-law partners and family members often sacrificing job and educational opportunities. These burdens are compounded when veterans die as a result of a service-related injury, or when veterans have permanent service-related injuries that prevent them from returning to work.
Currently, vocational rehabilitation programs are available to eligible survivors and spouses, but there is a one-year time limit for application from the death of a veteran or when a veteran is determined to be permanently disabled. The veterans' community has shared that this time limit does not recognize the fact that it can take more than one year to adjust to the death or permanent disability of a veteran. Quite simply, survivors and spouses need more flexibility to use the supports that are available to them. The one-year time limit represents added stress for military families experiencing traumatic transitions.
To recognize this and to ensure that military families have the time they need to adjust to new and difficult circumstances, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $23.8 million over six years, starting in 2016–17, and $2.1 million per year ongoing, to eliminate the one-year time limit for eligible spouses and survivors as of April 1, 2018 so that they are able to apply to the Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance Program whenever they are prepared to return to work.
Expanding Access to the Military Family Resource Centres for Medically Released Veterans' Families
Military families are faced with long separations from loved ones, the spectre of relocation and the inherent risk that accompanies all those who serve. Canada has a long history of supporting its military families, and the Military Family Resource Centres are an important part of that effort.
The Military Family Resource Centres provide the kind of help and support that the families of the women and men in active military service need most. For example, it connects families to mental health and wellness programs and it helps military spouses find jobs or acquire new skills.
To recognize the vital role played by the families of veterans living with physical and mental health issues as a result of their service, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $147.0 million over six years, starting in 2016–17, and $15.0 million per year ongoing, to expand access to the Military Family Resource Centres for the families of veterans medically released from April 2018 onwards. This would increase the availability of the Military Family Resource Centres for medically released veterans from 7 locations under the current pilot to all 32 locations across the country.
In addition, in order to better support veterans and their families, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $22.4 million over three years, starting in 2017–18, in an outreach strategy to ensure they are informed of the range of supports available to them.
Creating a Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Related Mental Health Conditions
Our women and men in uniform are often exposed to traumatic stress, which can lead to psychological injuries. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very serious mental health issue, which negatively affects our veterans and their families.
In order to improve the well-being of our veterans living with PTSD, Budget 2017 proposes to create a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. The Centre would have a strong focus on the creation and dissemination of knowledge on prevention, assessment and treatment of PTSD and related mental health conditions for veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $17.5 million over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $9.2 million per year ongoing, to ensure the Centre has the tools it needs to make a difference in the lives of our veterans.
Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund
Veterans' organizations are often best placed to understand the needs of veterans and develop innovative programs to improve their quality of life.
Building on this, the Government proposes to establish a Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund that would support the creation of innovative services and support specifically tailored to improving the quality of life for our veterans. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $13.9 million over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $3.5 million per year ongoing, to Veterans Affairs Canada to foster innovation across the public, private and academic fields. This Fund would select proposals put forward by organizations to conduct research and develop or implement a wide range of innovative programs that will make a real difference in the lives of Canada's veterans and their families.
Veteran Emergency Fund
There may be times when veterans and their families do not have immediate access to the food, shelter or medication they need. To help these families when they need it the most, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $4 million over four years, starting in 2018–19, and $1.0 million per year ongoing, to help Veterans Affairs Canada address the urgent situations faced by Canada's veterans and their families.
Upholding Canada's Place in the World
In Canada, we have made the choice to build an economy that works for everyone. We strive to provide equal opportunities to women and men while being open to the world—welcoming new ideas, creative ways of thinking and a diversity of cultures.
Canada will continue its commitment to free trade, which has helped build our strong, optimistic middle class, and delivered sustainable economic growth.
Over the past year, Canada has strengthened relationships with our top trading partners and is taking final steps to put in place the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), opening up the second-largest single market in the world to Canadian goods and services.
Canada is active on the world stage, working for peace, security and prosperity through:
- A meaningful and more effective contribution to stabilization in the Middle East.
- Continued engagement in Latvia as part of North Atlantic Treaty Organization assurance and deterrence measures to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.
- International assistance focused on women and girls to strengthen their empowerment and protect their rights.
- Major contributions to the Global Fund Replenishment, to help fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
- The resettlement of more than 40,000 Syrian refugees as of January 2017.
As a global leader, Canada has a responsibility to demonstrate the benefits of a more open, interconnected world, and to implement policies that will create more opportunities for Canadians and people around the world.
Canada-United States Relationship
The relationship between Canada and the United States is unique and unparalleled. This deep, long-standing partnership is founded in shared geography, common values and interests, and one of the largest, most comprehensive trading relationships in the world. It extends from the national level, to the provincial and municipal, to countless ties of friendship, family, sport, culture and commerce between individuals. On countless occasions, Canadians and Americans have stood shoulder to shoulder in defence of our shared values, both at home and around the world.
Our economic links are greatly beneficial to both Americans and Canadians, supporting growth and millions of middle class jobs on both sides of the border. A majority of U.S. states count Canada as their largest export market, with more than $2 billion in two-way trade flowing across the border each day—much of that in the form of U.S. manufactured goods purchased by Canadians. Together with our American partners, we are building a 21st century border through initiatives that will expedite the legitimate—and vital—flow of people, information and goods across our shared border.
Canada and the United States share the goals of mutual energy security, a robust and secure energy grid, and up-to-date, resilient energy infrastructure. We continue to work closely with our American counterparts on clean energy innovation, including by supporting major energy infrastructure projects that further economic growth while protecting and preserving the environment. We will continue to build on the long-standing environmental cooperation between Canada and the U.S. to address climate change, as well as enhance the quality of our air and water. Likewise, we continue to work towards a new softwood lumber trade agreement that will be fair and helpful to consumers and businesses on both sides of the border.
The Government of Canada has also reorganized some internal operations and deployed new resources to cross-border files. Our whole-of-government approach is founded on a commitment to free, fair trade, protecting Canadians' economic interests and upholding Canadian values.
In sum, the partnership between Canada and the United States is unique and a model to the world. We are committed to preserving and strengthening cross-border ties, for the benefit of our mutual prosperity and security.
Growth and Development in Asia
Canada's success depends on trade. Strong trade relationships create more opportunities for middle class Canadians to succeed and prosper. The Government is prioritizing trade and investment with key markets in Asia, including China, India, and Japan, to deepen Canada's ties with Asia and bolster commerce.
Last September, the Prime Minister and Alibaba Group Executive Chairman Jack Ma launched the "Canadian Pavilion" on Alibaba's online shopping site. The Pavilion connects many Canadian companies to the over 400 million consumers in the Chinese market who use Alibaba, helps brand Canadian products and services, promotes Canadian culture and tourism, creates new business opportunities for Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises and other partners, and is evidence of the large—and growing—appetite for Canada in Asia.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $256 million over five years for Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in order to build our multilateral engagement with countries around the world. Canada's membership at the AIIB will support inclusive, sustainable economic growth in Asia and beyond, by promoting investments in high quality infrastructure projects, including in transportation and energy. This will enhance crucial trade links, support economic growth and offer Canadian firms new commercial opportunities.
As the first North American country to apply for membership at the AIIB, Canada is demonstrating our strong engagement in multilateral institutions, and will commit to playing a unique and constructive role in supporting the Bank's operations and governance. The Government will introduce federal legislation to operationalize Canada's membership at this institution in 2017.
Canada-European Union (EU) Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
In February 2017, the European Parliament voted to approve the implementation of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which was signed by leaders last October. CETA sets a new bar for progressive trade agreements that create good-paying middle class jobs, give consumers more choice and protect both workers and the environment.
Canada and the EU will now complete their respective legislative and regulatory processes that will bring virtually all significant parts of the Agreement into force by the spring of 2017. This agreement sets the stage for an even stronger relationship with the EU, which will create greater opportunities for the middle class in Canada and in Europe by opening our respective markets. This will give Canadian firms a competitive edge in the EU, the world's second-largest single market, helping to drive demand for Canadian goods.
The ratification and implementation of this agreement will provide Canada with access to the EU's more than 500 million consumers. Canadian workers throughout the country stand to benefit significantly from increased access to this 28-country market, which generates $20 trillion in annual economic activity. It will also help reinforce the importance of trade and open markets as a way to create more opportunities—both at home and around the world.
A Comprehensive Approach to International Assistance
Canada has a history of providing help to the world's poorest and most vulnerable. Canadians understand that a more peaceful, stable world is a safer world for Canada, too.
In 2016, the Government of Canada initiated a comprehensive review of its international assistance support. The review searched for ways to improve the impact and effectiveness of Canada's foreign aid spending. The forthcoming policy framework will outline how Canada can best refocus its international assistance on the poorest and most vulnerable and help realize tangible progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
As part of this new approach to international assistance, the Government of Canada will provide $650 million in funding to address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights in the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities. This represents a doubling of Canada's current funding commitment, and will give more women access to the quality health care, modern contraception, and sexual education and prevention services they need to retain control over their bodies, and exercise their rights.
Beginning in 2017, the Government will work to implement new changes that will modernize our approach to deliver better results, improve transparency and foster greater innovation.
Innovative Development Finance
Canada has always embraced innovative approaches to bring the greatest benefit to people facing challenges and hardship around the world. To this end, the Government will launch a new Development Finance Institution, capitalized at $300 million, that will support sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries.
The Development Finance Institution will promote economic growth, create jobs, advance women's economic empowerment and reduce poverty in areas where alternative financing is scarce. The Development Finance Institution will be established as a wholly owned subsidiary under Export Development Canada and it will expand Canada's ability to make an impact where it is needed the most.
The Government will also introduce legislative amendments to transfer certain World Bank Group development programs currently under the Minister of Finance to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Improving Market Access for the World's Least Developed Countries
For over 30 years, Canada has offered duty-free access for products imported from least developed countries (LDCs) as a means of promoting economic growth where its need is greatest. These duty-free benefits are subject to certain origin rules to ensure that benefits actually go to the LDCs.
Budget 2017 proposes changes to these origin rules to allow more apparel products imported from LDCs into Canada—particularly from Haiti—to benefit from duty-free treatment. This measure will result in an estimated $17 million in forgone tariff revenues for the Government over five years.
Helping Build a Safer and More Prosperous World
Canada is committed to playing a strong and constructive role to create a safer and more prosperous world.
As a leading member of NATO, Canada has always deployed our troops and equipment when and where they are needed most. In July 2016, the Prime Minister announced Canada would lead a robust multinational NATO battlegroup in Latvia as part of the Alliance's enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe—Canada's largest sustained military presence in Europe in more than a decade— at a cost of $348.6 million over three years. In addition, Canada has renewed Operation UNIFIER, its support for Ukraine's efforts to maintain sovereignty, security and stability, at a cost of $29 million per year for two years.
The Government has also committed to restoring Canada as a leader in international peace operations with the United Nations. Up to 600 well-trained Canadian military personnel have been pledged for possible deployment as part of a broader whole-of-government approach that includes political, security, development and humanitarian responses to conflict situations.
In 2017, Canada will also join the international Arms Trade Treaty. This agreement ensures that countries have effective systems in place to control the international trade of weapons so that they are not used to support terrorism, organized crime, gender-based violence or human rights abuses. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $13 million over five years to allow Canada to implement this treaty and further strengthen its export control regime.
These initiatives build on significant government efforts to promote peace through security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance—including more than $1.6 billion over three years, starting in 2016–17. This investment in peace and stability was committed in February 2016 to respond to the ongoing crisis in Iraq and Syria, and its impact on the region.
Canada's contribution to a more peaceful world not only helps the millions of people affected by conflict, it also provides greater security and economic growth for Canadians here at home. In addition, our contribution to peacekeeping will give Canada an important opportunity to share some of our core values—including gender equality and women's empowerment—with different parts of the world. As a result, the world's most vulnerable, especially women and children, will be better protected from conflict and sexual and gender-based violence.
Protecting the Integrity of Canada's Asylum System
Canada's asylum system must strike a balance between providing protection to those fleeing persecution and ensuring that the system is not abused through fraudulent claims. To help ensure the integrity of Canada's asylum system, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $29.0 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $5.8 million per year thereafter, to make permanent the Reviews and Interventions Pilot Project.
This initiative allows Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to intervene during asylum hearings in order to ensure the integrity and credibility of the information provided, which helps protect the asylum system from fraudulent claims.
Better Legal Aid Services for Asylum Seekers
As an open society, Canada offers protection to asylum claimants who fear persecution and who are unwilling or unable to return to their home country.
Immigration and refugee legal aid services provide legal advice, information and representation to eligible asylum claimants. These services both help asylum seekers establish their claims at the Immigration and Refugee Board, and contribute to fair and timely decisions. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $62.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $11.5 million per year thereafter, to enhance the delivery of immigration and refugee legal aid services, in partnership with the provinces and territories.
The sufferings of the Yazidi peoples in northern Iraq and Syria at the hands of Daesh—in particular, the abduction and enslavement of Yazidi women and girls—have generated international concern and condemnation. To provide protection to this vulnerable group, on February 21, 2017, the Government announced that it would resettle approximately 1,200 survivors of Daesh, including vulnerable Yazidi women and children and their families, in 2017. The Government is providing funding of $27.7 million over three years, starting in 2017–18, for this initiative.
Building on Canada's Global Cooperation
In an increasingly interconnected world, having a stable and thriving global economy is a key ingredient to help the middle class and those working hard to join it.
Canada will continue to play a leading role in the development of international policy actions to support a prosperous global economy as co-chair of the Group of 20 (G20) Working Group on the Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth—a role that Canada has held since the launch of the Framework in 2009.
Furthermore, the Bretton Woods institutions (the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group) are essential anchors for promoting stronger global economic growth and financial stability, and advancing critical poverty reduction objectives. The Government will introduce legislative amendments to update the Bretton Woods and Related Agreements Act to facilitate Canada's ongoing effective membership in these vitally important international institutions.
Whenever and wherever required—including within the Bretton Woods institutions—Canada will continue to advocate for women and girls to have equal rights and representation, and fair access to all leadership positions and opportunities.
Delivering a Modern, More Agile, Better-Equipped Military
The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring the Canadian Armed Forces has the tools it needs to defend Canada and North America, and to contribute with our allies to a wide spectrum of operations globally.
Canada is moving forward with significant capital investments in our military. A modern fighter jet fleet is essential for defending Canada and Canadian sovereignty—especially in our northern skies. The Government has announced a plan to replace Canada's legacy fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft. It will launch an open and transparent competition to replace the fleet within its current mandate, and explore the acquisition of 18 new Super Hornet aircraft to supplement the CF-18s until the permanent replacement arrives. The Government is also procuring a new fleet of fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, which will offer significant capability improvements in search and rescue missions across Canada's vast and challenging territory, including the Arctic.
There is also tangible progress in the recapitalization of the naval fleet through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. A competitive process was launched and Irving Shipbuilding International was chosen to build the next generation of combat ships for the Royal Canadian Navy. Construction is already underway on two Harry DeWolf Class Arctic/Offshore Patrol Vessels and a competition has been launched to choose the design for the Canadian Surface Combatant.
These projects represent an important contribution towards the Government's goal of delivering a modern, more agile and better-equipped military.
For the purposes of fiscal planning, funding to support large-scale capital projects for defence is set aside in the fiscal framework and managed on an accrual basis. Total funding available to National Defence for large-scale projects is $83 billion over the next 30 years. To ensure that funding is available when key capital acquisitions are to be made, funding that is not yet allocated to specific projects, or that cannot be spent due to unforeseen delays in planned projects, may be moved forward into the future when it will be needed.
The reallocation of $8.48 billion of funding from the 2015–16 to 2035–36 period to future years is required to accommodate two key capital projects: the procurement of fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, and the modernization of light armoured vehicles that were originally scheduled to receive only partial upgrades. While there is sufficient funding available for these projects, the expected profile of large-scale capital funding does not align with the timing of expenditures associated with these projects.
The Government will soon release a new defence policy for Canada, following substantive public consultation and extensive analysis. It will be more rigorously costed than any previous defence policy. It will commit the level of investment required to restore the Canadian Armed Forces to a sustainable footing with respect to finances, capital and people, and equip the Forces to meet the challenges of the coming decades.
Over the past year, the Government of Canada undertook an unprecedented open and transparent process to create a new defence policy that will set out how the Government will support and employ the Canadian Armed Forces to defend Canadian interests and contribute to a more peaceful world.
Between April and July 2016, the Department of National Defence conducted public consultations, receiving nearly 20,200 submissions through an online portal, while engaging directly with defence experts, industry representatives, academia, Indigenous leaders, and international allies and partners. The input received from these consultations has been reviewed and is being used to inform the development of Canada's new defence policy.
As part of this process, the Government is considering the funding that will be required to implement the Defence Policy Review. A key objective will be to provide the military with stable and predictable budgets that will enable effective long-term planning. A comprehensive overview of long-term funding for the Department of National Defence will be provided when the policy is released in the coming months.
Safety and Security for Canadians
Canada is fundamentally a safe and peaceful country. It is a big part of what makes Canada a great place to invest, grow a business and raise a family. At the same time, emergencies and threats to Canada—and to Canadians—can occur at any time.
To ensure that Canada remains a safe and secure place to live, and to protect the interests of all Canadians, the Government is committed to taking action. This includes taking steps to address gender-based violence, modernizing Canada's corrections system, strengthening the family justice system, building a strong judiciary, ensuring access to federal court decisions, addressing delays in access to federal courts, protecting Canada's critical infrastructure, and honouring our community heroes.
A New National Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence
For too many Canadians, violence is a real—sometimes daily—threat. This is especially true for women. Although there has been a decline in overall violence in Canada over the past 30 years, women are still more likely than men to experience the most severe forms of spousal violence, one of the most commonly reported forms of violence against women in Canada.
Violence affects people from all backgrounds, with Indigenous women, children and youth, and LGBTQ2 and gender non-conforming people at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence.
Statistics on gender-based violence are complex, in many cases because of the stigma experienced by survivors and how these cases are handled by the criminal justice system. Some forms of gender-based violence are on the rise and others have shown no decrease—but overall, available data shows a decline in the rate of gender-based violence. Improved data is necessary to better understand the prevalence and impact of sexual assault in Canada.
- Underreporting is common for survivors of sexual assault. Available data shows that rates of sexual assaults have remained constant; however, there could be an underestimation of the problem.
- Over a two-year period, police reports of child pornography more than doubled—from 2,818 to 4,314 incidents.
- Recent media investigations have shed light on unfounded sexual assault cases, indicating that the national dismissal rate could be as high as one out of every five sexual assault allegations.
- Women and girls are more likely to be victims of human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and are the predominant victims of violent cybercrime incidents, particularly those involving sexual violation.
Budget 2017 proposes to invest $100.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $20.7 million per year thereafter, to establish a National Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence. The Strategy will create a centre of excellence within Status of Women Canada, to better align existing resources to address gender-based violence, and include measures that will be implemented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defence. The Government is committed to helping ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to live in safe, supportive and inclusive communities.
Additional details on the Strategy will be announced in the coming months.
To ensure that the Government continues to advance the rights of the LGBTQ2 community, the Government will establish an LGBTQ2 Secretariat within the Privy Council Office (PCO). The new secretariat will support the work of the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 issues in delivering on his mandate to provide advice on the development and coordination of the Government's LGBTQ2 agenda. This work includes engaging with LGBTQ2 organizations from across the country to promote equality, protect the rights of LGBTQ2 Canadians and address discrimination against them—both historical and current. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $3.6 million over three years, starting in 2017–18, to PCO to support the Government's initiatives on LGBTQ2 issues.
Modernizing Our Corrections System
In response to recommendations made by the Auditor General of Canada, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and the Coroner's Inquest Touching the Death of Ashley Smith, the Government is making targeted investments to modernize Canada's corrections system, address Indigenous overrepresentation in Canada's prisons (see Part 2 of this chapter) and provide greater mental health supports for vulnerable offenders.
Improving Mental Health Supports for Inmates
Over 70 per cent of male offenders and more than half of women offenders have identified mental health issues. To ensure that offenders with mental health needs receive proper care, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $57.8 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $13.6 million per year thereafter, to expand mental health care capacity for all inmates in federal correctional facilities.
Recognizing Our Community Heroes
The Government recognizes the central role that public safety officers play in keeping Canadians safe. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $80 million over five years, starting in 2018–19, and $20 million thereafter, to support the establishment of a tax-free Community Heroes benefit to be implemented in cooperation with provinces, territories and municipalities. This benefit will support the families of public safety officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
Strengthening the Family Justice System
To better support Canadian children and families experiencing separation and divorce, and to ensure that fair and timely services are available to families no matter where they live, Budget 2017 proposes to provide the Department of Justice with an additional $107.8 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, and $21.1 million per year thereafter. This funding will support new and innovative ways to deliver provincial and territorial family justice services as well as the use of technology to increase access to justice, and will help ensure the financial well-being of children through improved enforcement of family support obligations, such as child support and spousal support payments.
Building a Strong Judiciary
Canadians expect judges to be ethical, responsible and sensitive to the evolving needs of Canadian society. The Canadian Judicial Council is a federal organization mandated to provide support to federally appointed judges through the promotion of judicial independence, judicial education and guidance on judicial ethics. The Council also reviews complaints made against Superior Court judges regarding judicial conduct.
Budget 2017 proposes to provide the Canadian Judicial Council with $2.7 million over five years, and $0.5 million per year thereafter, to support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct. This commitment will include targeted investments to upgrade information technology infrastructure, so that information can be managed accurately and effectively.
Canadians from all walks of life should have confidence in the quality of Canada's judges and the justice system. As Canada welcomes more new Canadians, as family structures change, and as identity and gender issues come to the fore, Canadian judges must be sensitive to and informed about the evolving nature of Canadian society. Support for the Canadian Judicial Council will ensure that more judges have access to professional development, with a greater focus on gender- and culturally-sensitive training.
The investments in Budget 2017 will help to build a stronger, better-informed judiciary, and help improve access to justice for all Canadians.
Budget 2017 also proposes to amend legislation to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission.
Strengthening Access to the Canadian Justice System
Canadians expect a justice system that is accessible to everyone, in both official languages. Recognizing the equal status of both linguistic groups within Canada, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $2 million over two years, starting in 2017–18, to the Courts Administration Service to enhance federal courts' ability to make decisions available in both English and French.
The Government of Canada is committed to addressing delays at Canada's Superior Courts. Budget 2017 proposes funding of $55 million over five years, and $15.5 million per year thereafter, and legislative amendments to create 28 new federally appointed judicial positions. Some of these positions will help address immediate demographic pressures in Alberta and Yukon, and a pool of positions will help ensure that Canadians have timely access to justice in other provinces and territories.
Ensuring Parliament Serves Canadians in Their Preferred Official Language
Canadians have a right to communicate with, and be served by, Parliament in their preferred official language, ensuring that all citizens are able to fully participate in the Parliamentary process. In order to improve Parliamentary translation services, Budget 2017 proposes to invest $7.5 million per year ongoing, starting in 2017–18. This investment will ensure that Parliamentarians and Canadians continue to be served in the official language of their choice.
Protecting Canadians and Canada's Critical Infrastructure
Canadians deserve to feel safe and protected in their communities and in their homes. To that end, the Government proposes to make investments that will make our community gathering places and our vital transportation and energy networks more secure, and improve safety protocols for food and for hazardous materials. Collectively, these investments will help protect the security and well-being of all Canadians.
Protecting Communities at Risk
Hate-motivated crime has no place in Canadian society, and Canadians should feel safe when they gather at places of worship, educational institutions or community centres. Yet sadly recent events illustrate that efforts must be made to increase the safety and physical security of these spaces. Budget 2017 proposes funding of $5.0 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, in support of the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program, which provides funding to not-for-profit organizations to make needed security infrastructure improvements such as the installation of outdoor lighting or security cameras.
Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure
To safeguard Canada's critical infrastructure, including transportation networks, power grids and hospitals, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $1.37 million in 2017–18 to Public Safety Canada for the operations of the Regional Resilience Assessment Program and the Virtual Risk Analysis Cell. The Regional Resilience Assessment Program conducts site assessments that help better defend and protect critical infrastructure facilities and systems across Canada, while the Virtual Risk Analysis Cell provides enhanced information sharing for critical infrastructure operators through an online gateway.
Canadians depend on governments to ensure that Canada's energy infrastructure—in particular, oil and gas pipelines—is built securely and operated safely. The protection of citizens, communities and the environment is at stake. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $17.4 million over three years, starting in 2017–18, to the National Energy Board to enhance its pipeline safety oversight activities. A further $1.9 million will be invested over three years, starting in 2017–18, to provide Canadians with timely access to information on energy, regulations and pipeline safety, and to help the Board respond to increased interest in its activities in a timelier manner. These investments will be fully cost-recovered from industry.
Enhancing Explosives Safety
To ensure the safety of Canadians and Canadian communities, strict controls must be in place to prevent the use of explosives for criminal purposes. To implement stronger regulatory measures and restrictions on commercial explosives and on the chemicals used to create explosives, Budget 2017 proposes to provide $8.7 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to Natural Resources Canada. This initiative will expand the list of regulated chemicals, to better control access to the chemicals used to manufacture home-made explosives, and will help to detect and prevent the sales of explosives that pose a risk to Canadians.
Strengthening Canada's Food Safety System
The health and well-being of Canadian families depends on access to safe and nutritious foods. To help strengthen Canada's world class food safety system, Budget 2016 provided an investment of $38.5 million over two years, on a cash basis, for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to invest in systems that focus on high-risk domestic and imported foods.
To support ongoing efforts to better prevent, detect and respond to food safety risks, Budget 2017 proposes to invest up to $149.3 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, to renew core food safety inspection programming delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Health Canada. This proposed investment would support inspection activities in meat processing facilities, support targeted programming to address the risks associated with listeria contamination, and allow for the ongoing operation of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Inspection Verification Office.
The Government is also taking steps to further enhance the food safety system with stronger and more consistent food safety regulations under the proposed Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Once in force, these regulations would consolidate and streamline requirements from several pieces of existing legislation and introduce outcome-based approaches to food safety requirements, where possible.
|Stronger Health Care and a Healthier Canada|
|Home Care and Mental Health||0||300||850||1,100||1,250||1,500||5,000|
|Prescription Medications and Health Innovation||0||40||78||135||144||147||544|
|Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy||0||14||24||23||24||24||110|
|Emergency Funding to Address Opioid-Related Public Health Emergencies||16||0||0||0||0||0||16|
|Territorial Health Investment Fund||0||27||27||27||27||0||108|
|Supporting Canada's High-Performance Athletes||0||5||5||5||5||5||25|
|Subtotal—Stronger Health Care and a Healthier Canada||16||386||984||1,290||1,450||1,677||5,803|
|Furthering Partnerships With Indigenous Peoples|
|Healthier First Nations and Inuit Communities||0||128||101||165||197||223||813|
|A Renewed Nation-to-Nation Relationship||0||41||40||42||47||52||222|
|Taking Steps to Preserve, Revitalize and Enhance Indigenous Languages and Cultures||0||30||30||30||0||0||90|
|Investing in Indigenous Youth and Sport||0||2||3||4||6||4||19|
|Promoting the Use of Restorative Justice Practices||0||11||11||11||11||11||56|
|Rehabilitating and Reintegrating Past Offenders||0||8||10||18||16||13||65|
|Policing Services in First Nations Communities||0||0||20||20||20||20||82|
|Supporting Indigenous Participation in Fisheries||0||37||43||50||58||62||250|
|Launching an Indigenous Guardians Pilot Project to Promote Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands||0||5||5||5||5||5||25|
|Tailored Programs and Services to Support Indigenous Peoples Living in Urban Centres||0||24||24||24||24||24||119|
|Subtotal—Furthering Partnerships With Indigenous Peoples||0||285||287||369||384||415||1,740|
|Greater Support for Canada's Veterans and Their Families|
|A New Veterans' Education and Training Benefit||84||10||10||10||10||10||134|
|Enhancing Career Transition Services||51||6||4||4||4||4||74|
|Caregiver Recognition Benefit||145||8||8||8||9||9||187|
|Eliminating Vocational Rehabilitation Time Limits for Veterans' Survivors and Spouses||13||2||2||2||2||2||24|
|Expanding Access to the Military Family Resource Centres for Medically Released Veterans' Families||60||29||26||24||16||15||169|
|Creating a Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Related Mental Health Conditions||0||0||1||2||6||9||18|
|Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund||0||0||3||3||3||3||14|
|Veteran Emergency Fund||0||0||1||1||1||1||4|
|Subtotal—Greater Support for Canada's Veterans and Their Families||353||55||55||54||52||55||624|
|Upholding Canada's Place in the World|
|Growth and Development in Asia||0||53||52||51||50||49||256|
|Improving Market Access for the World's Least Developed Countries||0||3||3||3||3||3||17|
|Helping Build a Safer and More Prosperous World||0||3||3||3||3||3||13|
|Protecting the Integrity of Canada's Asylum System||0||6||6||6||6||6||29|
|Better Legal Aid Services for Asylum Seekers||0||14||14||12||12||12||63|
|Building on Canada's Global Cooperation||0||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Reallocating Defence Funding to Support Large-Scale Capital Projects||-197||-17||-102||-14||-91||-512||-933|
|Subtotal—Upholding Canada's Place in the World||-197||63||-24||61||-18||-440||-555|
|Safety and Security for Canadians|
|A New National Strategy to Address Gender-Based Violence||0||19||20||21||21||21||101|
|Support for the Prime Minister's Special Advisor on LGBTQ2 Issues||0||1||1||1||0||0||4|
|Modernizing Our Corrections System||0||6||12||12||14||14||58|
|Recognizing Our Community Heroes||0||0||20||20||20||20||80|
|Strengthening the Family Justice System||0||22||22||22||21||21||108|
|Building a Strong Judiciary||0||1||1||1||1||1||3|
|Strengthening Access to the Canadian Justice System||0||9||10||11||13||15||57|
|Ensuring Parliament Serves Canadians in Their Preferred Official Language||0||8||8||8||8||8||38|
|Protecting Communities at Risk||0||1||1||1||1||1||5|
|Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure||0||1||0||0||0||0||1|
|Enhancing Explosives Safety||0||1||2||2||2||2||9|
|Strengthening Canada's Food Safety System||0||37||37||25||25||25||149|
|Subtotal—Safety and Security for Canadians||0||112||140||129||124||126||631|
|Total—Chapter 3: A Strong Canada at Home and in the World||172||900||1,443||1,903||1,992||1,833||8,243|
|Less funds existing in the fiscal framework||0||-188||-406||-452||-447||-477||-1,969|
|Less funds to be recovered||0||-11||-11||-11||-5||-5||-44|
|Less funds sourced from departmental resources||0||-3||-3||-1||-1||-1||-10|
|Net Fiscal Cost||172||699||1,023||1,438||1,539||1,350||6,220|
Note: When changes are made to veterans' benefit plans, there is a difference between the total spending expected by the Government based on current projections of demand for programs ("cash basis") and the budgetary expense (outlined above) associated with the increase in benefits for eligible recipients. This is because public sector accounting standards require that the present value of all increased future benefits to eligible recipients for past service be recognized up front. This accounting treatment applies to the following measures:
- The Education and Training Benefit ($61.9 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, on a cash basis).
- The Career Transition Services Program ($20.4 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, on a cash basis).
- The Caregiver Recognition Benefit ($21.8 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, on a cash basis).
- The Vocational Rehabilitation Program ($6.7 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, on a cash basis).
- The Military Family Resource Centres ($34.3 million over five years, starting in 2017–18, on a cash basis).
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