Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance at the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance regarding Bill C-32


December 7, 2022                                                             

Mr. Chair, it is my pleasure to appear before all of you to discuss Bill C-32—the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act.

I want to briefly outline some of the key measures in Bill C-32 that I hope Senators will support.

First, we are permanently eliminating interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, which will save young people an average of $410 per year. And we have allocated the funds so this can happen for recent graduates in Quebec, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, too.

We are cutting taxes for Canada’s growing small businesses from 15 per cent to 9 per cent. This is the delivery of a key commitment we made in the spring.

We are permanently increasing the corporate income tax rate of banks and life insurance groups by 1.5 per cent, and we are implementing the Canada Recovery Dividend—a one-time, 15 per cent tax.

Bill C-32 also delivers on our plan to make housing more affordable.

We are creating a new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account, which will help Canadians make a down payment faster by allowing first-time home buyers to save up to $40,000 towards their first home.

We’re delivering a Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit of up to $7,500, so that families across Canada can afford to have a grandparent or a family member with a disability move in if they want to.

By ensuring that profits from flipping properties held for less than 12 months are fully taxed, we will help make sure that homes are for Canadians to live in—not a frequently flipped investment asset.

And we’re helping Canadians save on closing costs by doubling the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit to provide up to $1,500 to offset the closing costs.

One of the pillars of the Fall Economic Statement was about growing our economy and creating good jobs—and this legislation helps deliver on that.

We are delivering a new 30 per cent Critical Mineral Exploration Tax Credit that will help make Canada a global leader in an essential industry.

And we are launching the Canada Growth Fund, which will help bring to Canada the billions of dollars in new private investment required to reduce our emissions, grow our economy, and create good jobs at the same time.

Mr. Chair, Senators of the committee: Canada has the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to GDP ratio in the G7. A few hours after I tabled the Fall Economic Statement, Moody’s reaffirmed our AAA credit rating with a stable outlook.

Our economy is now 103 per cent the size it was before the pandemic, and so far this year, our economic growth has been the strongest in the G7.

In October alone, employment in Canada rose by 108,000 jobs. We have recovered 117 per cent of the jobs lost to COVID compared to just 105 per cent in the United States.

And, as the Financial Post noted this week, more working Canadians are women than ever before. 82 per cent of women in their prime working years had jobs in November. That is the highest number on record.

This is our national early learning and child care system at work. And I think it is only going to get better as the fees continue to fall.

I know this is a challenging time for a lot of people, but I also know that Canadians are tough and the Canadian economy is resilient.

And that is why we can all be confident we’ll get through this, just as we have gotten through so much over these past two-and-a-half years.

Thank you very much. I’m happy to take your questions.

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