Message From Tony
I am pleased to share highlights of the Fall Economic Statement in this newsletter including this statement from The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
This Fall Economic Statement provides an update on our economic plan—and builds upon it. Inflation is coming down, wages are going up, and private sector economists now expect Canada to avoid the recession that many had predicted.
Over a million more Canadians are employed today compared to before the pandemic. In the first half of this year, Canada received the third-most foreign direct investment of any country in the world—and the highest per capita in the G7. The IMF projects Canada to likewise see the strongest economic growth in the G7 next year. Our economic plan is working.
But the rapid global increase in interest rates is having an impact on both the global economy and our own— and Canadians are feeling the squeeze. That is why this Fall Economic Statement is narrowly focused on two key challenges.
The first key challenge is supporting the middle class at a time when some prices are still high and mortgage renewals are looming. That is why we are introducing new targeted measures to help stabilize prices, make life more affordable, and protect Canadians with mortgages. And we are making a conscious decision to avoid pouring fuel on the fire of inflation—thus doing our part to ensure that interest rates can fall as soon as possible, which is the number one priority for millions of Canadians today.
The second challenge is both the largest and the most urgent. Building the homes a growing Canada requires demands a great national effort—and it is an effort that our federal government is leading. Building on the significant action we have already taken—including this fall alone—this Fall Economic Statement takes further concrete steps to get more homes built, faster, and to help make housing more affordable across the country.
We approach this task with the purpose, drive, and intensity it deserves, and we will continue to take action to address this most pressing challenge for as long as it takes. Our response to these challenges is built upon our responsible fiscal plan.
Following the unwinding of emergency supports, Canada’s rate of fiscal consolidation has been the fastest in the G7 since the depths of the pandemic, and we maintain both the lowest deficit and net debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country. With further reductions in public sector spending, this Fall Economic Statement takes further action to ensure Canada’s finances remain sustainable—and that we can continue to responsibly invest in Canadians for years to come. I am incredibly optimistic about what the years to come will mean for Canadians.
At the heart of the promise of Canada is the conviction that, no matter who you are—no matter what you look like or who you love or where you were born—every day represents a new opportunity. That if you work hard, you can share in the remarkable possibilities of our remarkable country—with a good career that pays you well, and with a home you can afford. Building a Canada that delivers on the promise of the greatest country in the world will be our work for these next two years—and beyond. Canada is not and has never been broken.
We are the imperfect but remarkable creation of generations of Canadians who did their part to build a better country—in good times and in tough times, calloused hand by calloused hand. Generations of Canadians who fought fear and cynicism with hope and hard work. Generations of Canadians who fought, day after day, to keep Canada moving forward. And generations of Canadians who believed—just as I do, today—that better is always possible
Fall Economic Statement
Our government is taking steps to make housing more affordable, support the middle class, and uphold our fiscal responsibility.
On Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, tabled the 2023 Fall Economic Statement (FES), outlining our plan to continue building a strong economy that works for everyone.
Making Housing More Affordable
Our government is investing billions of dollars to accelerate our work to build more homes, faster, and make housing more affordable. Some key measures highlighted this year include:
- The new Canadian Mortgage Charter, which will ensure that Canadians at financial risk can access tailored mortgage relief to make it easier to become and remain a homeowner
- Cracking down on non-compliant short-term rentals and supporting municipal enforcement of short-term rental restrictions.
- Removing the GST from new co-op rental housing through the enhanced GST Rental Rebate to incentivize the construction of much-needed rental homes.
- Providing $15 billion in additional loan funding to the Apartment Construction Loan Program, which will support more than 30,000 new housing units across Canada.
- Speeding up financing approvals by streamlining and simplifying application processes through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
- Breaking down barriers to labour mobility within Canada, with priority for construction workers and health care professionals, and prioritizing construction workers for permanent residency.
- Investing $1 billion into the Affordable Housing Fund, previously known as the National Housing Co-Investment Fund, to build more than 7,000 new homes by 2028.
We also highlighted our progress through the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF). To-date, we’ve signed 10 agreements with municipalities, worth over $1.6 billion, to build over 21,000 homes, and more on the way. The HAF is expected to exceed its initial target to fast track at least 100,000 new homes over four years.
Supporting the Middle Class
With the FES, we’ve tabled a series of new, targeted measures to continue supporting Canadians at a time when some prices are still too high. Some of these include:
- Strengthening competition in Canada, which means lower prices and more choice, by reforming legislation to crack down on unfair practices that drive up costs.
- Ensuring that Canada’s five largest grocery chains keep their commitments to stabilize prices.
- Removing the GST from psychotherapy and counselling services to make mental health care more affordable and accessible.
- Cracking down on junk fees by working with the Canadian Transportation Agency, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and the Office of Consumer Affairs.
- Ensuring that all parents have the support they need by providing 15 weeks of shareable benefits to new adoptive parents through the new Employment Insurance Adoption Benefit.
- Providing new paid leave for workers in federally-regulated sectors who experience pregnancy loss.
- Enhancing low-cost and no-cost bank accounts to reflect the realities of modern banking.
- Continuing to work toward delivering the Canadian Dental Care Plan to support up to 9 million uninsured Canadians.
- Delivering new major investment tax credits on a priority basis.
We’re staying focused on supporting Canadians—taking concrete action on their priorities, strengthening the middle class and with the Fall Economic Statement, delivering the next phase of our economic plan.
Transforming Federal Buildings into New Homes
In the face of Canada’s housing crisis, we’re taking action by accelerating and streamlining the process of converting surplus federal properties across the nation into new homes.
Earlier this month, we announced that 6 surplus federal properties will be developed into more than 2,800 new housing units. By March 2024, Canada Lands Company will help deliver the following surplus federal properties to build more homes for Canadians:
- 516 homes in Calgary, Alberta
- 711 homes in Edmonton, Alberta, including 93 affordable homes
- 34 homes in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
- 1,617 homes in Ottawa, Ontario, including 221 affordable homes
Canada Lands Company is now on track to support the construction of more than 29,200 new homes over the next 6 years. They have also announced a new minimum affordable housing target of 20% across projects to realize more affordable housing.
We will continue working with provincial, territorial, municipal, and Indigenous governments to build more homes, faster, to make housing more affordable for Canadians, and ensure everyone, including the most vulnerable, can find a safe and affordable place to call home.
Banning the Use of Replacement Workers
The Government of Canada believes in free and fair collective bargaining. The use of replacement workers can distract from negotiations, it can prolong disputes, and it can damage labour relations for years to come.
Earlier this month, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Labour, tabled Bill C-58. This bill proposed to ban the use of replacement workers in federally regulated workplaces during a strike or a lockout.
The only exception to the ban is if there are threats to healthy and safety, or threats of serious property and environmental damage that could not be managed by the employer’s existing workforce. Employers who use replacement workers outside of this exception can be reported and investigated by the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).
Additionally, Bill C-58 proposed changes to strengthen the maintenance of activities process. This would require employers and unions to come to an agreement early in this bargaining process to determine what work needs to continue during a strike or lockout, if any. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the CIRB would step in and decide what activities need to be maintained within 90 days.
If passed into law, this legislation would improve labour relations, protect workers’ right to strike, limit interruptions to collective bargaining, and provide greater stability to Canadians during federal labour disputes.
Supporting Settlement and Resettlement Service Provider Organizations
As more newcomers arrive in Canada, it is critical that they receive the supports and services that will set them up for success here in Canada, and succeed in fully integrating and contributing to their communities.
We’ve launched the National Settlement and Resettlement Funding Call for Proposals, which will provide funding to settlement and resettlement service provider organizations across Canada, outside of Quebec.
Projects funded through this call will focus on key areas like achieving Truth and Reconciliation objectives, implementing a Francophone Integration Pathway for Francophone newcomers outside of Quebec, and enhancing programming that serves racialized communities, 2SLGBTQI+, and other underrepresented peoples.
Organizations with eligible proposals can receive funding for up to five years. I encourage organizations in Newmarket-Aurora to read about the eligibility requirements to see if you qualify.
The deadline to apply is January 31, 2024.