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FORUM: Navigating a strong fiscal recovery (May/June 2023)

August 8th, 2023 · No Comments

Battling inflation and the challenge to create a clean economy

By Chrystia Freeland

Canada has made a remarkable recovery from the COVID recession.

Our economic growth was the strongest in the G7 in 2022, and 900,000 more Canadians are employed today than before the pandemic. The Bank of Canada predicts inflation will fall to 3 per cent this summer and 2.5 per cent by the end of the year. Our unemployment rate is near its record low, and, supported by our Canada-wide system of affordable early learning and childcare, the labour force participation rate for working-age women has reached a record high of 85.7 per cent.

The 2023 federal budget, which I introduced in March, builds on this important progress—and addresses both the challenges and opportunities facing Canada in the months and years to come.

Our budget is a fiscally responsible plan that will mean new, targeted inflation relief for the Canadians who need it most, stronger public health care and affordable dental care across Canada, and historic investments to build Canada’s clean economy and create good jobs for Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

The budget delivers a new Grocery Rebate to 11 million Canadians and Canadian families to help make up for higher prices at the checkout counter—providing up to an additional $467 for eligible couples with children; an additional $234 for single Canadians without children; and an average of an additional $225 for seniors.

We are also taking action to crack down on junk fees, such as extra event and concert fees or telecom roaming charges, lowering credit card transaction fees for small businesses, and delivering a range of new measures to make life more affordable for people across Canada.

Our budget will also ensure that all of us 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. 

We are delivering a historic $198.3 billion investment in public health care—including $76.83 billion to Ontario—to reduce backlogs, expand access to family health services, and enable provinces and territories to provide the high quality and timely health care Canadians expect and deserve. 

And just as we are reinforcing the public health care system we have today, we are also expanding its reach with a new Canadian Dental Care Plan for Canadians with a family income of less than $90,000. The Canadian Dental Care Plan will cover up to nine million Canadians by 2025—meaning that you will no longer be able to tell how much money someone makes, or how much money their parents make, by their smile.

Over the long term, Canada must also navigate two fundamental shifts in the global economy.

First, in what is the most significant economic transformation since the Industrial Revolution, our friends and partners around the world—chief among them, the United States—are investing heavily to build their clean economies and the net-zero industries of tomorrow. Second, following Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine, our allies around the world are accelerating efforts to friendshore their economies by building their critical supply chains through democracies like our own. 

Today, and in the years to come, Canada must either meet this historic moment—this remarkable opportunity before us—or we will be left behind as the world’s democracies build the clean economy of the 21st century. 

That is why our budget makes transformative investments to build Canada’s clean economy, fight climate change, and create new opportunities for Canadian businesses and Canadian workers.

This includes significant measures that will make Canada a clean electricity superpower and deliver cleaner and more affordable energy to Canadians and Canadian businesses, bring investment to our communities and create good-paying jobs, and ensure that Canadian workers are able to produce and provide the goods and resources that Canadians and our allies need.

As we make these important investments, we are also upholding Canada’s proud tradition of fiscal responsibility by ensuring Canada maintains the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. By exercising fiscal restraint, we are ensuring that we can continue to invest in Canadians and in the Canadian economy for years to come—just as we have done since 2015.

The budget is our plan to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more secure Canadian economy—for everyone.

We have the remarkable good fortune to live in the greatest country in the world. And that is why our budget invests in the possibility for every single Canadian to share in the incredible opportunities that Canada provides—and in the new era of prosperity that we will build together. 

Chrystia Freeland is member of parliament for University-Rosedale, deputy prime minister, and minister of finance for Canada.


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