Supporting a Strong Middle Class


Over the past year, the federal government has taken further action to make life more affordable for Canadians who need it most. These actions include:

  • Doubling the GST Credit for six months in the fall of 2022;
  • A new Grocery Rebate in July 2023, which provided hundreds of dollars in targeted inflation relief to 11 million Canadians and families;
  • Delivering the first enhanced quarterly Canada Workers Benefit payments on July 28, 2023, to our lowest-paid—and often most essential—workers, with a family receiving up to $2,461 this year;
  • Making it more affordable to go to college and university by permanently eliminating interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, and increasing up-front Canada Student Grants from $2,000 to $4,200 for the 2023 school year;
  • A tax-free payment of $500 to help low-income Canadians who are struggling with the cost of rent;
  • Indexing key benefits to inflation, including the Canada Child Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Credit, the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement; and,
  • Direct, tax-free payments of up to $1,300 per child over two years through the Canada Dental Benefit. The Benefit is available to uninsured families earning less than $90,000 per year to help cover the cost of dental care for kids under 12, and has supported more than 380,000 children to date.

The 2023 Fall Economic Statement continues to deliver on the government's economic plan by introducing new measures to support Canadians, while also making important progress on commitments the government has already made to help make life more affordable for people from coast to coast to coast.

Federal Investments Are Making Life More Affordable

This year, Canadians will continue to benefit from the federal government's plan to make life more affordable. For example:

  • A family with two children in British Columbia, with an income of $88,000 in 2023, could benefit from about $17,700 as a result of reduced child care costs, the Canada Child Benefit, the Canada Dental Benefit, and tax relief from the increased Basic Personal Amount.
  • A single Canadian without children in Alberta, with an income of $23,000 in 2023, could benefit from $2,200 as a result of enhancements to the Canada Workers Benefit, the Grocery Rebate, tax relief from the increased Basic Personal Amount, and increased pollution price rebates (Climate Action Incentive Payments), and up to $750 from the Canada Training Credit if they attended a short-duration training program.
  • A 78 year-old senior in Quebec, with a maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) entitlement could receive more than $2,000 in additional support in 2023, thanks to the Grocery Rebate, the GIS top-up increase for single seniors, and the 10 per cent increase in the Old Age Security pension for seniors aged 75 and up.
  • A low-income student in Nova Scotia could receive more than $5,800 in additional support in 2023 thanks to increased Canada Student Grants and interest-free Canada Student Loans, the Grocery Rebate, and pollution price rebates. If they have a disability or dependants, they could receive an additional $12,800 in specialized student grants, plus an extra $640 per dependant, and up to $20,000 towards devices that support their learning. After graduating, all their federal student loans will remain interest-free, with full repayment assistance available until their income surpasses $40,000 per year.

Delivering Affordable, High-Quality Early Learning and Child Care
Since being announced in Budget 2021, the federal government's Canada-wide system of affordable early learning and child care has delivered real results for middle class families across Canada. Six provinces and territories—Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, and Nunavut—are already providing regulated child care for an average of just $10-a-day or less, and all other provinces and territories remain on track to deliver $10-a-day child care by March 2026—significantly ahead of schedule.

Strengthening Competition to Help Stabilize Prices in Canada

To further enhance competition in Canada, the federal government is amending the Competition Act and the Competition Tribunal Act to ensure Canadians have more choice in where they take their business. 

  • The government is proposing amendments to the Competition Act in order to:
    • Strengthen the tools and powers available to the Competition Bureau to enable it to crack down on abuses of dominance by bigger companies, including those intended to keep out competition, such as predatory pricing;
    • Further modernize merger reviews, including by empowering the Competition Bureau to better detect and address "killer acquisitions" and other anti-competitive mergers;
    • Enhance protections for consumers, workers, and the environment, including by prohibiting misleading "greenwashing" claims and improving the focus on worker impacts in competition analysis;
    • Empower the Commissioner of Competition to review a wider selection of anti-competitive collaborations and seek meaningful remedies to ensure that harmful conduct, which impedes fair market pricing, is not repeated; and,
    • Broaden the reach of the law by enabling more private parties to bring cases before the Competition Tribunal and receive payment if they are successful.
  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement also proposes amendments to the Competition Tribunal Act to ensure legal cost awards during case adjudication do not prohibit a robust defence of competition.

Right to Repair

Every day, Canadians are frustrated by throwing out items because they can't find proper repairs. From appliances, to yard equipment, to electronics, throwing out these valuable goods wastes money and creates unnecessary waste for landfills.

  • In support of Canadians' right to repair, the federal government will also amend the Competition Act to prevent manufacturers from refusing to provide the means of repair of devices and products in an anti-competitive manner.

Making Groceries More Affordable

The federal government is taking action to help stabilize food prices for Canadians and deliver relief at the checkout counter. New measures announced this fall to help make groceries more affordable include:

  • Amending the Competition Act through the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act to enhance competition in the grocery sector, which will help bring down costs and ensure Canadians have more choice in where they buy their groceries.
  • Securing commitments from Canada's five largest grocery chains, which represent 76 per cent of the grocery market, to help stabilize prices for Canadians.
  • Establishing a Grocery Task Force, which is supervising the big grocers' work to stabilize prices, as well as monitoring and investigating other practices in the grocery sector, such as "shrinkflation."

Cracking Down on Hidden Junk Fees

The federal government is taking further action to crack down on the junk fees that Canadians deal with every single day.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement announces that:
    • The government will provide an update by Budget 2024 on the steps that it is taking to reduce the non-sufficient funds fees charged by banks. These fees, which can currently be as high as $50, disproportionately impact low-income Canadians or those who may not have access to overdraft protection due to their credit history.
    • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission will conduct a prompt investigation of international mobile roaming charges, and will provide an update and concrete next steps in 2024.
    • The government will work with the Canadian Transportation Agency to amend the Air Passenger Protection Regulations to ensure that airlines seat all children under the age of 14 next to their accompanying adult at no extra cost.
  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement also announces that the Office of Consumer Affairs will support ongoing efforts to crack down on junk fees across Canada, including by supporting independent research on this issue.

Removing the GST from Psychotherapy and Counselling Services

Therapy and counselling play an important role in the lives and mental health care of millions of Canadians, but they can also be expensive. To ensure that Canadians can receive the support they need, the federal government is taking action to make these essential services more affordable for Canadians.

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement proposes to exempt professional services rendered by psychotherapists and counselling therapists from the GST/HST.

A New Employment Insurance Adoption Benefit

Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits are key supports for new parents. Currently, adoptive parents can access EI parental benefits. Too often, adoptive parents are left with too little time to meet the demands of the adoption process, attach, and welcome their child into their new home. 

  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement proposes to introduce a new 15-week shareable EI adoption benefit, at an estimated cost of $48.1 million over six years, starting in 2023-24, and $12.6 million ongoing. The benefit is expected to provide approximately 1,700 Canadian families each year with additional time and flexibility as they welcome a new child in their home. Surrogate parents will also be eligible for this benefit.
  • The 2023 Fall Economic Statement also proposes to make amendments to the Employment Insurance Act, as well as corresponding changes to the Canada Labour Code, to ensure that workers in federally regulated industries have the job protection they need while receiving the EI adoption benefit.

Enhancing Low-Cost and No-Cost Bank Accounts

To make banking more affordable and meet the evolving banking needs of Canadians, the federal government has directed the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada to work with banks to improve the features of low- and no-cost accounts to reflect the realities of modern banking, such as providing additional debit transactions, online bill payments, and e-transfers with no extra fees.

An Independent Ombudsman for Canadians Dealing With Their Banks

For too long, banks have been able to choose who adjudicated complaints that Canadians have had with their bank. Canadians deserve an impartial advocate that will work on their behalf, which is why the government recently designated the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI) as the single external complaints body for Canada's banking sector. An independent and transparent not-for-profit organization, OBSI will have jurisdiction to resolve complaints at all Canadian banks starting November 1, 2024.

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