Tuesday’s federal budget landed with a promise to spend responsibly while devoting much-needed government money to health care, the green economy and helping people deal with the rising cost of living.
Here’s what the government announced to fulfil those pledges:
- “Shallow recession” — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s budget predicts the Canadian economy will shrink over the coming months, but only by a relatively little bit: 0.4 per cent of GDP, with annual growth rising again to just 0.9 per cent of GDP in 2023. Notably, the budget does not deliver on the government’s promise to reform the employment insurance system.
- $497 billion — That’s how much government spending is earmarked for the next fiscal year. Most of that is for government operating expenses and direct program expenses ($124 billion), elderly benefits ($76 billion), and health transfers to the provinces and territories ($49 billion).
- $40.1 billion — That’s the expected federal budget deficit for 2023-24. Last fall, the government projected the year’s deficit would be $10 billion smaller, at $30.6 billion.
- No balance in sight — Gone is the projection from last fall that government books would be balanced by 2027-28. Instead of a modest surplus of $4.5 billion that year, the budget now projects the federal government will post a $14-billion deficit. But government officials say that’s fine, because the debt-to-GDP ratio — the Liberals’ preferred metric for fiscal prudence — is expected to track down from 43.5 per cent in 2023-24 to 39.9 per cent in 2027-28.
- $29.3 billion — That’s how much new spending Budget 2023 pledges over the next five years on improving health-care systems ($22.2 billion) and expanding the nascent dental care program that was a key part of the government’s parliamentary deal with the NDP (just over $7 billion).
- $20.9 billion — That’s the new spending going to an array of programs meant to spur Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. More than $10.5 billion of that is earmarked to subsidize business spending on clean technology manufacturing and hydrogen energy projects.
- $3 billion — That’s how much the government expects to rake in by increasing the minimum amount of tax the very rich must pay.
- $7 billion — The amount of money the government says it can save over the next four years by forcing federal departments to reduce spending by three per cent, without touching benefit payments, transfers to provinces and spending on the Canadian Armed Forces and Indigenous communities.
- $2.5 billion — That’s how much Ottawa is earmarking to extend the doubling of the GST credit for an additional six months. The government is calling the measure a “grocery rebate,” which could see eligible couples with two children receive up to $467, single Canadians without kids up to $234, and seniors up to an extra $225.
Stuff you might have missed
- $151.9 million over three years to protect endangered whales and their habitats, the North Atlantic Right Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga, and the B.C.’s Southern Resident Killer Whale.
- $15.3 million over three years to create an online portal for Canadians to access information on their exposure to flooding.
- A new leave for federally-regulated workers to help parents experiencing pregnancy loss, including parents planning to adopt or have a child through surrogacy.
- A new requirement for federally-regulated pension funds to disclose their exposure to cryptocurrencies.
- A pledge to work with international stakeholders and other partners to think about implementing a “standard charging port” in Canada, with a goal of slashing the costs and electronic waste associated with buying different chargers for different devices.
- $53.8 million to help the government recover overpayments of COVID-19 emergency benefits.
- Moon car: The budget pledges $1.2 billion over 13 years for the Canadian Space Agency to develop and provide a “lunar utility vehicle” for astronauts on future missions to the moon.
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