Making Life More Affordable


March 28, 2023

Since 2015, the federal government’s focus has been on investing in the middle class, growing the economy, strengthening Canada’s social safety net, and making life more affordable for Canadians. Investments have included:

  • Supporting about 3.5 million families annually through the tax-free Canada Child Benefit, with families this year receiving up to $6,997 per child under the age of six, and up to $5,903 per child aged six through 17;

  • Increasing Old Age Security (OAS) benefits for seniors age 75 and older by 10 per cent as of July 2022, which is providing more than $800 in additional support to full pensioners;

  • Reducing fees for regulated child care by 50 per cent on average, delivering regulated child care that costs an average of just $10-a-day by 2026—with six provinces and territories reducing child care fees to $10-a-day or less by April 2, 2023—and strengthening the child care system in Quebec with more child care spaces;

  • Strengthening the Canada Pension Plan; and,

  • Enhancing the Canada Workers Benefit for our lowest-paid—and often most essential—workers.

However, inflation is still making it difficult for many Canadians to make ends meet and put food on the table. That’s why Budget 2023 delivers new, targeted inflation relief for the most vulnerable Canadians to help support them with the cost of living.

A New Grocery Rebate

Groceries are more expensive today, and for many Canadians, higher prices on essential goods are causing undue stress. In Budget 2023, the federal government is providing new, targeted inflation relief to the Canadians hardest hit by rising food prices.

  • Budget 2023 proposes to introduce a one-time Grocery Rebate, providing $2.5 billion in targeted inflation relief for 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians and families. The Grocery Rebate will provide eligible couples with two children with up to an extra $467; single Canadians without children with up to an extra $234; and seniors with an extra $225 on average.

Cracking Down on Junk Fees

In Budget 2023, the federal government is taking action to crack down on junk fees, including unexpected, hidden, and additional fees, to continue to ensure businesses are transparent with prices, and to make life more affordable for Canadians.

  • Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to work with regulatory agencies, provinces, and territories to reduce junk fees for Canadians. This could include higher telecom roaming charges, event and concert fees, excessive baggage fees, and unjustified shipping and freight fees.

Cracking Down on Predatory Lending

Predatory lenders can take advantage of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, including low-income Canadians, newcomers, and seniors—often by offering very high interest rate loans. Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to:

  • Introduce changes to the Criminal Code to lower the criminal rate of interest from the equivalent of 47 per cent APR (annual percentage rate) to 35 per cent APR, in line with the lowest cap among provinces, in Quebec. The government will also launch consultations on whether the criminal rate of interest should be further reduced.

  • Adjust the Criminal Code’s payday lending exemption to require payday lenders to charge no more than $14 per $100 borrowed, in line with the lowest cap among provinces, in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Supporting Canadians’ Right to Repair

When it comes to broken appliances or devices, high repair fees and a lack of access to specific parts often mean Canadians are pushed to buy new products rather than repairing the ones they have. This is expensive for people and creates harmful waste.

  • Budget 2023 announces that the government will work to implement a right to repair, to make it easier and cheaper for Canadians to repair, rather than replace, their home appliance and electronics. The government will launch consultations this summer, including on the right to repair and the interoperability of farming equipment, and work closely with provinces and territories to advance a right to repair, and make life more affordable for Canadians and protect our environment.

Common Chargers for Electronic Devices

Every time Canadians purchase new devices, they need to buy new chargers to go along with them, which drives up costs and increases electronic waste.

  • Budget 2023 announces that the government will work with international partners and other stakeholders to explore implementing a standard charging port in Canada for phones, tablets, cameras, laptops and other electronic devices, with the aim of lowering costs for Canadians and reducing electronic waste.

Automatic Tax Filing for Low-Income Canadians

The government is taking steps to ensure more low-income Canadians can easily file their tax returns in order to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

  • Since 2018, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has delivered a free and simple File My Return service, which allows eligible Canadians to auto-file their tax return over the phone after answering a series of short questions. Budget 2023 announces that the federal government will increase the number of eligible Canadians for File My Return to two million people by 2025—almost triple the current number.

  • Budget 2023 also announces that, starting next year, the CRA will pilot a new automatic filing service that will help vulnerable Canadians who do not currently file their taxes receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

Making Life More Affordable for Students

The federal government knows that the higher cost of living still means that students still need support to afford an education and pursue their dreams. Budget 2023 proposes to enhance student financial assistance for the school year starting August 1, 2023. This includes:

  • Increasing Canada Student Grants by 40 percent—to provide up to $4,200 for full-time students;

  • Raising the interest-free Canada Student Loan limit from $210 to $300 per week of study; and,

  • Waiving the requirement for mature students, aged 22 years or older, to undergo credit screening in order to qualify for federal student grants and loans for the first time.

This will allow post-secondary students to access up to $14,400 in enhanced Canada Student Financial Assistance for the upcoming school year. Students with disabilities and dependants will also receive an increase in Canada Student Grants. Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, which do not participate in the program, can receive federal funding to provide their own comparable support.

Lowering Credit Card Transaction Fees for Small Businesses

To support hardworking owners of small businesses, the federal government has been working closely with the payment card industry and small businesses to lower credit card transaction fees.

  • In Budget 2023, the government is announcing that it has secured commitments from Visa and MasterCard to lower fees for small businesses, while also protecting reward points for Canadian consumers offered by Canada’s large banks.

More than 90 per cent of credit card-accepting businesses will see their interchange fees reduced by up to 27 per cent from the existing weighted average rate. These reductions are expected to save eligible small businesses in Canada approximately $1 billion over five years.

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