* Originally published in The Lance, March 14, 2018 *
On February 27, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the 2018 federal budget, in which we take the next steps towards building an equal, competitive, sustainable, and fair Canada—where science and innovation spur economic growth.
As noted before, our plan is working. Over the last two years, our economy has grown, creating nearly 600,000 jobs and driving the unemployment rate down to near 40-year lows.
So what does Budget 2018 have for you? To start, it provides another increase in federal transfer payments to Manitoba, up $289.6 million from last year to $4 billion in 2018-2019, which includes an increase to the Canada Health Transfer and the Canada Social Transfer.
Budget 2018 introduces the new Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), which builds on the former Working Income Tax Benefit. This tax benefit will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers, and encourage people into the workforce. The CWB is more generous and accessible, and it will benefit approximately 68,000 Manitoba workers annually in 2019, up 13,000 from 2018. In addition, Budget 2018 proposes changes that will allow the Canada Revenue Agency to automatically determine eligibility for those who do not make a claim, ensuring that those who can receive the CWB will receive it.
To support young families and gender equality in both the workplace and the home, the Government is introducing a new Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit that provides an additional five weeks of EI parental benefits when both parents agree to share parental leave – or an additional eight weeks for those who choose the extended parental benefit option.
A healthy community needs a healthy environment. That is why we are making one of the most significant commitments to nature conservation in Canada’s history with investments totaling $1.3 billion over five years to protect our ecosystems, landscapes and biodiversity, including species at risk. This complements investments made in Budget 2017, including $25.7 million in the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program.
In addition, Budget 2018 represents the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history, investing $3 billion in the next generation of Canadian research and researchers. This includes $1.7 billion over five years to the granting councils and an increase of over 25 per cent to their annual fundamental research budgets in three years’ time. Another $1.3 billion over five years will provide researchers with access to the state-of-the-art tools and facilities they need to carry out their work at Canadian universities, polytechnics, colleges and research hospitals.
The above measures complement previous investments we have made, including early learning and childcare ($46.8 million over 3 years for Manitoba), home care and mental health ($31 million in 2018-19 for Manitoba), infrastructure ($1.7 billion over 10 years for our province), the enhanced Canada Child Benefit, and the National Housing Strategy.
For more information on Budget 2018, visit www.budget.gc.ca.