Finance minister warns ‘soft landing’ not guaranteed for Canadian workers

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland outlined $8.9 billion in financial supports her government has introduced to help Canadians deal with rising inflation.

“We know that Canadians are worried about inflation and that they’re asking what their government is going to do about it,” Freeland said in a media statement. “That’s why we have a new affordability plan — $8.9 billion in new support this year — that is going to put more money in the pockets of Canadians at a time when they need it most.”

The fed’s plan to address inflation and the affordability crisis has five parts: respecting the role of the Bank of Canada, investing in workers, managing the debt, creating good jobs and funding the support programs.

Tackling worker shortages, especially in skilled trades will be a priority.

“In the budget, we set out to invest in the workers,” she said. “That means ensuring our skilled trades workers can afford to travel to the parts of Canada where their services are desperately needed.”

Those workers, Freeland said, need housing and her government’s promise to double the number of homes built over the coming decade will help ensure people can find affordable places to live.

“We have been through two years of remarkable turbulence. Our challenge now is to land the plane — and a soft landing is not guaranteed.”

The measures have already announced in the 2022 budget:

  • Boosting the Canada Workers Benefit by $1.7 billion this year. Individual workers can now receive up to $1,395 a year in benefits, while a family can qualify for up to $2,403 annually. Those amounts would be boosted by $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families.
  • Increasing Old Age Security (OAS) by 10 per cent, providing up to $766 in new support in the first year starting in July for those 75 and older.
  • Providing a one-time Housing Affordability Payment of $500 for low-income Canadians.
  • Reducing the cost of childcare by an average of 50 per cent by year’s end
  • Providing free dental coverage for Canadians earning less than $90,000 a year, beginning with children under 12, in 2022.
  • Increasing benefits indexed to inflation, including OAS, the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), the Canada Pension Plan, the Canada Child Benefit and the GST credit.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh issued a statement after the speech saying that the measures Freeland discussed are coming too late and will not help Canadians who need it now.

“People need real help. They need their government to get money back in their pockets so they can afford basic necessities,” Singh said in the statement. “Instead, the deputy prime minister is on Bay Street today making re-announcements that do nothing to help people today.


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