Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance from Appearance at the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance to Discuss Bills C-8 and C-19


May 31, 2022

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Thank you, Mr. Chair, and members of the committee, for inviting me to speak on Bill C-8, the Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, and Bill C-19, the Budget Implementation Act.

The budget I tabled last month—and the subsequent Budget Implementation Act—were released against the backdrop of the Canadian economy’s remarkable and rapid recovery from the COVID recession.

But we still have challenges we need to tackle.

Inflation, a global phenomenon, is contributing to higher food and energy prices here at home and around the world.

That is why the investments outlined in Budget 2022—and through Bill C-19—are focused on growing our economy and making life more affordable for Canadians.

And they build on the measures included in Bill C-8 that will provide important support to Canadians and Canadian businesses, while also making sure we are ready for any future outbreaks.

So, let me just start by briefly highlighting some of the key measures in Bill C-8.

This bill will expand the Eligible Educator School Supply Tax Credit, which will put money directly into the pockets of teachers shortly after Royal Assent. It will also extend the Northern Residents Deduction, which will provide certainty to Northerners who have filed their tax returns.

By investing up to $100 million through the Safe Return to Class Fund, Bill C-8 will improve ventilation in classrooms and make schools safer for our children. And it will ensure that provinces and territories have the rapid tests they may need for any new waves of COVID-19.

I know that time is short, Mr. Chair, and so let me just briefly go through some of the key measures in Bill C-19 that I hope Senators will support.

Bill C-19 will legislate a two-year ban on foreign investors in Canadian housing and will make all assignment sales of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential housing taxable for GST and HST purposes.

It will double the Home Accessibility Tax Credit’s annual limit to $20,000, which will help make home upgrades like wheelchair ramps more affordable for seniors and people with disabilities.

It will introduce a Labour Mobility Deduction for tradespeople to provide tax relief on eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses. This will be important at a time when we are facing labour shortages across the country.

And Bill C-19 will enable the government to implement 10 days of paid sick leave in the federally regulated private sector by the end of this year.

It will put money back in the pockets of Canadians more regularly, by moving the Climate Action Incentive payments to quarterly payments.

It will implement a tax on private jets, yachts, and luxury cars.

Bill C-19 will help provinces and territories tackle surgery backlogs by providing a $2 billion top-up to the Canada Health Transfer. It will also provide up to $750 million to support municipalities as they address their pandemic-driven transit shortfalls.

It will speed up the creation of a public registry of federally-incorporated companies to before the end of 2023.

Bill C-19 would also make Canada the first G7 country to allow the government to cause the forfeiture and disposal of assets held by sanctioned people and entities, and this is particularly important given the war in Ukraine, and the very high costs of rebuilding we can already foresee.

And I’d like to particularly thank Senator Omidvar for her hard work and foresight in championing similar measures through her Bill, S-217.

Bill C-19 contains changes to the Parliament of Canada Act to provide increased resources for the Senate and Senators—a measure of particular relevance to this committee.

Senators raised an issue with the 2021 Budget Implementation Act that led to an inconsistent clause reference in the Old Age Security Act. This issue raised by you is corrected in Bill C-19, and I’d like to thank the Senate for noticing that.

Mr. Chair, these are a few of the examples of how Bill C-8 and Bill C-19 would make a real difference in the lives of Canadians, and I hope that all of the Senators here will support their swift passage.

Thank you, and I am happy to take your questions.

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