Minutes ago, the Federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable Bill Morneau, tabled Federal Budget 2019.
Mr. Morneau presents a budget based on economic fundamentals that are broadly in line with the estimates in the 2018 Fall Economic Statement and recent annual budgets. Key Federal economic indicators include:
- GDP is projected to grow by 1.8% 2019 and 1.6% 2020, before increasing in subsequent years.
- The Government will run deficits of $19.8 billion in 2019-20 and $19.7 billion in 2020-21, before those figures decrease significantly in subsequent years.
- The Federal debt-to-GDP ratio will be reduced annually over the entire fiscal horizon.
- The Government collected higher than expected tax revenue over the last two fiscal years, and expects that to continue.
High profile spending initiatives and policy proposals in the Budget include:
Skills Development and Innovation: $1.7 billion in funding over five years for a new Canada Training Benefit. Making the Global Talent Stream (a pilot program inaugurated in Budget 2016) permanent and eliminating the income threshold for accessing the 35% refundable tax credit under the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program.
Regulatory Reform: Introduction of the first of three ‘Regulatory Roadmaps’ to create more user-friendly and simpler federal regulations. Initial funding will target the Canadian Food Inspections Agency, Health Canada, and Transport Canada.
Infrastructure: A one-time transfer of $2.2. billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to municipalities and First Nations and a $6 billion national plan for near-universal internet connectivity.
Pharmacare: A proposal to work with the provinces and stakeholders to create the Canadian Drug Agency – a central body to carry out drug evaluation and price negotiation on behalf of Canadians and their drug plan providers.
Housing Affordability: Creation of a First-Time Home Buyer Incentive to allow the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation to bolster buyer down payments and increasing the limit on the Home Buyers’ Plan (RRSP withdrawal) to $35,000.