Today, the Federal Government released Budget 2021; as predicted, the Budget focused on the Government’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery. During remarks to the House of Commons, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland characterized her first budget with three key priorities:
- Providing help for COVID-19 including purchasing vaccines, and supporting provincial healthcare;
- Getting Canada out of the COVID-19 recession through swift recovery of lost jobs, and supporting the hardest hit sectors; and
- Creating a resilient, more fair and more prosperous Canada — including improving social infrastructure like early learning, childcare, and income top ups.
The largest line item in the Budget was a commitment of $30B for a national childcare program over the next five years; $8.3B annually thereafter. A long-standing issue, the plan will create childcare spaces for Canadian families at an estimated $10 per child. Access to childcare remains an issue for skilled trades workers, who don’t fit the 9-5, Monday-Friday work schedule and we will continue to work with the government to ensure childcare means childcare for all workers.
There were some items notably missing from the Budget including new, significant investments in infrastructure, a national pharmacare program, federal health transfers to the provinces, a wealth tax and a universal living wage. Over the next several days, Members of Parliament will review, debate and discuss the Budget before the vote takes place. CBTU will closely follow these debates in the next few days to see if the Budget passes or fails. Should the Budget pass, the expected election will likely happen late summer/early fall rather than this spring.