Government Acts to Strengthen Canadian Economic Fundamentals

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The following is available on the Canada Newsroom:

Ottawa, June 18, 2008

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today welcomed the support of the Senate and the House of Commons for the passage of Bill C-50, legislation that will help strengthen the Canadian economy. The bill received Royal Assent today, allowing for the implementation of important elements of Budget 2008. Key measures in the bill include the Tax-Free Savings Account, initiatives to modernize Canada’s immigration system, increased funding for more front-line police officers and public transit across Canada, and increased support for post-secondary students.

“Our government is providing responsible leadership in challenging times by focusing on the priorities of Canadians, cutting taxes, and investing in people, knowledge and communities,” said Minister Flaherty. “Bill C-50 is a balanced, focused and prudent bill that will strengthen our economic fundamentals and better position Canada to compete in this highly competitive global economy.”

The key measures included in Bill C-50 will:

* Allow Canadians to invest up to $5,000 a year in a new Tax-Free Savings Account beginning in 2009. Investment income earned within the account, including capital gains, will not be taxed and withdrawals will be tax-free.

* Modernize the immigration system with a $22-million investment over two years, growing to $37 million per year by 2012–13, including legislation to speed up the processing of permanent resident applications, ensuring shorter wait times and making Canada’s immigration system more competitive.

* Provide $400 million to provinces and territories to recruit 2,500 new front-line police officers.

* Invest $500 million in 2007–08 through provinces and territories for public transit infrastructure.

* Support Canadian students with a $350-million investment in 2009–10, rising to $430 million by 2012–13, in a new consolidated Canada Student Grant Program that will reach 245,000 college and undergraduate students per year when it takes effect in the fall of 2009.

* Commit an additional $123 million over four years starting in 2009–10 to streamline and modernize the Canada Student Loans Program, including expanding online services to enable students to manage their student loan accounts online.

* Improve the management and governance of the Employment Insurance (EI) program through the creation of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board, an independent Crown corporation with a legislated structure which ensures that EI premiums are dedicated exclusively to the EI program.

* Improve the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program for the benefit of small and medium-sized businesses.

* Invest $60 million per year to ensure low-income seniors who work can realize greater benefits from their earnings through an increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption.

* Support people in need with $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada to support innovative projects to help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness.

* Build on Canada’s knowledge and people advantage in genomics with an additional $140 million for Genome Canada.

“Our responsibility as a government is to create an environment that rewards hard work, encourages investment and attracts and nourishes the best and brightest minds in the world,” said Minister Flaherty. “Bill C-50 builds on the progress our government has made to strengthen our economic fundamentals and improve the quality of life for all Canadians.”

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance

SOURCE: Canada Newsroom


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