Serving Toronto's most liveable community with the Annex Gleaner

FORUM: A fall economic statement from the Minister of Finance (Dec. 2022)

December 13th, 2022 · No Comments

So far this year, our economic growth has been the strongest in the G7

By Chrystia Freeland

I know that it has felt like one thing after another since COVID first reached our shores. We turned the economy off, and then we turned it back on again. Vladimir Putin illegally invaded Ukraine. And now we are all dealing with the impacts of global inflation at the checkout counter and the gas pump.

Interest rates have been rising as the Bank of Canada steps in to tackle inflation. And that means our economy is slowing down. That is the case in Canada. That is the case in the United States. And that is the case in economies big and small around the world.

This is a challenging time for millions of Canadians. It is a challenging time for many of our neighbours here in Toronto, too. But while we cannot avoid the global economic slowdown, our economy is ready for it—and we have been ensuring that Canadians are prepared for it, too.

The major enhancements we have made to Canada’s social safety net since 2016 will be there for those who need them—including the Canada Child Benefit, the boosted Guaranteed Income Supplement, and enhanced Old Age Security. Critically, the benefits and pensions that so many Canadians count on are indexed to inflation.

And in the Fall Economic Statement I tabled in November, we introduced new measures to strengthen our social safety net and provide important inflation relief to the Canadians who need it most.

We are permanently eliminating interest on the federal portion of Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans. We are delivering dental care to make sure that families don’t need to choose between taking their child to the dentist and putting food on the table.

We are creating a new, quarterly Canada Workers Benefit to deliver advance payments to our lowest-paid—and often most essential—workers, providing up to a total of $2,400 to a couple working full time. This enhancement means the Canada Workers Benefit will now support 4.2 million Canadians who do very important jobs for very little money.

We are providing hundreds of dollars in new, targeted support to low-income renters who are struggling with the cost of housing. And for the Canadians who need it the most, we are doubling the GST Credit for the next six months. Hundreds of dollars have already started to arrive in the bank accounts of 11 million Canadian households to help them cope with higher prices.

We are providing targeted inflation relief because it’s the right thing to do. And we can do it because while we are compassionate, we are also responsible.

In fact, Canada has the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to GDP ratio in the G7. A few hours after I tabled the Fall Economic Statement, Moody’s reaffirmed our AAA credit rating with a stable outlook. And in October alone, employment in Canada rose by 108,000 jobs—meaning there are 513,000 more Canadians working today than before COVID first hit.

Our economy is now 103 per cent the size it was before the pandemic. So far this year, our economic growth has been the strongest in the G7.

All of this shows that our pandemic spending worked. It means we are entering the global slowdown from a position of fundamental economic strength—with more Canadians employed, and with the fiscal firepower we need to respond to whatever the global economy may throw at us.

As we provide important support to the Canadians who need it most today, we are also looking forward—at how we can ensure our economy creates good jobs and prosperity in the years to come.

Which is why, in the Fall Economic Statement, one of our key pillars was a focus on growing Canada’s economy—on making investments that will encourage businesses to grow and create good jobs for Canadians right across the country.

We focused on that because we know the global economy is changing—and because we know that a changing global economy represents a generational economic opportunity for Canadian workers.

We believe this for two reasons. First, the global green transition is the most significant transformation since the Industrial Revolution. And here in Canada, we have a fortunate abundance of the goods and resources that will power that transformation. And second, since Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we have entered a period of friendshoring. Our allies and their leading businesses are moving to build their supply chains through democracies rather than dictatorships, and they are looking to Canada to provide them with the goods and resources they need.

That is why we have been working to make Canada a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing, and the democracy that is prepared to provide our allies with the critical minerals and energy they need.

That is why we are investing in innovation and in helping Canadian businesses take risks and grow in a net-zero world. That is why we are launching a new Canada Growth Fund that will help attract the billions of dollars in private capital required to fight climate change and create good jobs across industries here in Toronto and from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

That is why we are ensuring that Canadian workers have the skills they need to do good jobs, and why we are bringing to Canada more of the skilled workers that our growing country needs.

And that is why we are working to make housing more affordable and to build more of the homes that a growing economy requires—more of the homes that Toronto desperately needs.

Canadians are tough and the Canadian economy is resilient. And that is why we can all be confident we will get through this, just as we have got through so much over these past two and a half years.

The Fall Economic Statement was about helping our most vulnerable friends, family, and neighbours weather the challenges that the global economy is presenting at us. And it was about building a brighter future and an economy that works for everyone.

Chrystia Freeland is MP for University-Rosedale, Minister of Finance, and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.


Tags: Annex · Opinion