This week, our government released Budget 2023. A budget is really a decision-making process. Decisions must be made about the best way for our country to move forward, how to address the needs of Canadians, where to make wise investments, and ultimately where and how much to spend.
Canadians have been clear: they want good jobs, clean air, and an economy where everyone has a fair chance at success. Locally, I listened to concerns about inflation and interest rates, healthcare and respect for ageing Canadians, affordable and accessible housing, climate change and the environment, and support for people living with disabilities. I shared these with the Minister of Finance. I had also reached out regarding the excise tax, that is now being temporarily capped at 2 percent for one year on all alcoholic products.
Canada’s economy has made a remarkable recovery after the COVID recession. Last year, Canadians delivered the strongest economic growth in the G7. Compared to pre-pandemic levels, an additional 830,000 Canadians are working today, and we have recovered 126% of jobs lost to the pandemic — compared to just 114% in the United States. Our unemployment rate is near record low, and today, there are more Canadians with good jobs than ever before.
But people are concerned about what lies ahead. That is why we will stay focused on helping to make life more affordable for Canadians, strengthening our universal public health care system, and building a clean economy that will create good jobs across the country.
This budget introduces targeted relief to those who need it most. For example, the “grocery rebate” will help nearly 11 million low-income Canadians, with families receiving a one-time payment of up to $467. There is an investment of $13 billion over five years to implement a dental care plan for families earning less than $90K.
As Minister Freeland noted in her speech: “We will ensure that every Canadian can rely on a world-class, publicly funded health care system — one that is deserving of its place at the very heart of what it means to be Canadian. And just as we are reinforcing the public health care system we have today, we are also expanding its reach.
“Since December, our investments have helped more than 240,000 Canadian children receive the dental care they need. And today, I am so proud to announce the creation of the new Canadian Dental Care Plan.
“By the end of 2023, we will begin rolling out a dental care plan for what will eventually be up to nine million uninsured Canadians. That will mean no Canadian, ever again, will need to choose between taking care of their teeth and paying the bills at the end of the month.”
Budget 2023 also proposes $20 billion in tax credits to promote investments in green technologies. We recognize the economic transformation taking place and the investments being made by our global friends and partners in developing clean economies and net zero industries. Canada has the people, the resources, and the will to emerge as leaders in this economic transformation. And as we build on our ability to lead, we must also recognize and build critical supply chains through democracies like our own. These are significant opportunities we will invest in so that Canadians benefit with well-paying careers.
Budget 2023 has vision, it has purpose, and it speaks to destiny. I share in the optimism expressed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, and encourage you to read her speech – and learn even more about Budget 2023.