Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on the Budget 2018 Canada Workers Benefit
As you know, we tabled our third budget earlier this week. This is the third chapter in our ambitious plan to help middle class families and those working hard to join the middle class.
In recent years, the cost of living has gone up steadily while wages have remained flat. People are working harder than ever, but it’s tight at the end of the month and it’s increasingly difficulty to make ends meet. That’s why our government chose to put people first and invest directly in families, in our communities. Since the start of our mandate, one of our greatest priorities has been to help Canadians who need it the most and to ensure that everyone hasa real and fair chance at success.
Among other things, we introduced and improved the Canada Child Benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of families to pay for the high costs associated with having kids. Today, there are an estimated 300,000 children who are no longer living beneath the poverty line; that’s 40% less than in 2013. We have also taken a step in the right direction by lowering taxes on middle-class Canadians and increasing the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors. These are measures that make a real difference in the lives of families. Measures that translate into school supplies for children, a well-deserved retirement for seniors and bills paid for parents.
When families have more money in their pockets to save and invest, we all win; folks have more money to invest in our economy and contribute to our country’s growth. Today, Canada is growing at the fastest rate in the G7 and it’s partly because we chose to invest in families with measures like the Canada Child Benefit and the middle-class tax cut. Our plan is working and we’re ready to take it a step further with our latest budget. We know that there is still much work to be done to ensure that all Canadians have a fair and equal shot at success.
With Budget 2018, we decided to introduce the Canada Workers Benefit; this new refundable tax credit will replace the Working Income Tax Benefit, which provides additional assistance to low-income workers. We decided to rename and reform the current benefits system to better reflect the needs of workers who are trying to gain a foothold in the labour market. At the end of the day, the new benefit will be simpler, more accessible and more generous than before.
At the present time, many Canadians are technically eligible for the benefit, but they’re not receiving it because the application process is long and complicated. Many Canadians are not receiving a tax credit they are entitled to. Beginning in 2019, the government will empower the Canada Revenue Agency to determine automatically whether a person is eligible for the program. The new benefit will be paid directly to Canadians who qualify and, in that way, will be truly fulfilling its purpose. By improving the accessibility and scope of the program, we believe that by 2020, the new benefit will help to lift 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.
Under the new Canada Workers Benefit which will replace the Working Income Tax Benefit, we will increase the maximum benefits and the income level at which the benefit is phased out completely. This will give folks the extra help they need to get back on their feet and continue their hard work.
Let me give you an example of what this looks like in practice. In 2019, a low-income worker earning $15,000 a year could receive up to $500 more from the Canada Workers Benefit than they would under the Working Income Tax Benefit in 2018. This is more hard-earned money that can help put food on the table today or be invested in future opportunities. And by allowing the CRA to automatically determine whether tax filers are eligible for the benefit, we will ensure that more Canadians in need receive the tax credit they’re entitled to. This is especially helpful to people who live far from service locations, live with reduced mobility, or who don’t have internet access.
Over the next year, the government will also work on improving the delivery of the CWB. Our goal is to provide better support to low-income Canadians throughout the year rather than through an annual refund after filing their taxes. And of course, we will work with the Province of Quebec to ensure that the new CWB is implemented effectively and truly reflects the needs of Quebecers.
We know that our plan to help the middle class and those working hard to join it is working. We know that our approach is the right one. That said, we are also aware of all the work that lies ahead of us to ensure that all Canadians have a real and fair chance at success. Poverty is still the day-to-day reality of too many families, and we know that women, youth and Indigenous people are those represented, are among those who live in poverty.
The new Canada Workers Benefit will allow more people to get the help they need to enter the workforce and stay there. Our government is determined to develop sound policies that will help Canadians achieve their potential, today and in the future. We are proud to continue investing directly in Canadians who are already working very hard to make ends meet and to help them build a better tomorrow.