Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks on the new Canada Workers Benefit in Toronto
Hello everyone. I want to thank all of you for joining us today. I especially want to thank my colleagues, Julie Dabrusin, local MP, for all the work she does for the people here in Toronto-Danforth and all Canadians, but also Nate, Rob, Alan… Adam, great to see you guys here. It’s a pleasure to back in Toronto to talk about the next chapter of our plan to help folks get ahead.
As you all know, since the beginning of our mandate, our focus has been on helping the middle class and those working hard to join it. That’s because we know that they are the backbone of this country and the key to its success. A strong economy begins with a strong middle class and better opportunities for people working hard to join it. So our government put forward an ambition plan. A plan that puts people first and delivers real, meaningful change for hard-working families across the country. We introduced the new Canada Child Benefit, which gives parents more money to help with the costs of raising kids. We also asked the richest Canadians to pay a bit more in taxes so that the middle class could pay a bit less. Now parents have more money, not only to make ends meet but to invest in our economy and contribute to our country’s growth.
In fact, it’s partly because of well-designed policies like the Canada Child Benefit and lower taxes for the middle class that Canadians have more money to invest and grow the economy. Thanks to their hard work, Canada recorded the highest rate of growth among G7 countries in 2017. That is proof that our ambitious plan is working and that our approach is the right one.
That said, we still have a lot of work to do. We have many more people and families to help, opportunities to create, and gaps to close. I’m pleased to say that we took another big step in the right direction last week with our latest budget. Budget 2018 puts a special focus on ensuring that all Canadians have the skills and opportunities they need to participate fully and equally in our economy. In that vein, we announced we would replace the Working Income Tax Benefit with the new Canada Workers Benefit. We decided to strengthen and redesign this refundable tax credit for low-income workers to better reflect the needs of hard-working Canadians. We listened closely to advice from anti-poverty activists, frontline workers, and of course, the lived experiences of Canadians themselves.
I know all my friends here had the same experiences I had a number of times as we went door-to-door, talked to Canadians, people who came forward and said: “You know that Canada Child Benefit is making a huge impact in a lot of peoples’ families. I see it in my neighbourhood, I see people benefit, but I’m struggling, and I don’t have kids, how is this government going to help us out?” Well, that’s where the Working… the Canada Workers Benefit comes in. It creates opportunities and incentives and rewards people for staying and getting into the workforce.
And, under the old system, far too many eligible workers were missing out on claiming this benefit and weren’t getting the help to which they were entitled. This was especially true for folks who live far from service locations, or don’t have Internet access, or lived with reduced mobility. People who can come into WoodGreen and have that support are getting amazing support here, through this incredible community organization, but there are too many people across the country who weren’t accessing or even aware that there is a benefit for them. People who didn’t even know about the benefit or couldn’t apply for it, didn’t apply for it in their tax form. So in short, the program’s reach was limited from what it could be, and the new Canada Workers Benefit will change that. By allowing the Canada Revenue Agency to determine whether tax filers qualify for the benefit, eligible Canadians will automatically receive the help that they need. More than 300,000 Canadians will benefit from this change alone.
I will also add that over the next year the government will work on improving the delivery of the Canada Workers Benefit. Our goal is to provide better support to low-income Canadians throughout the year, rather than just through an annual refund after filing their taxes. As part of these changes, approximately 2 million Canadians will receive more help from the Canada Workers Benefit than what exists today under the Working Income Tax Benefit. The new benefit will be simpler, more generous and more accessible, and it will help lift 70,000 Canadians out of poverty by 2020. This is part of our government’s commitment to help the most vulnerable Canadians get ahead by entering and remaining in the workforce, and we’re proud to deliver on our promise.
Last week, we unveiled the new Canada Workers Benefit, which will replace the Working Income Tax Benefit. By increasing the maximum benefit and the income level at which the benefit is phased out, the new Canada Worker Benefit will be more generous than before. The government also intends to invest almost $1 billion in additional funding each year to further enhance the new benefit. This means that workers will have more money in their pockets to meet the needs of their families, and a little more time to get back on their feet. This new benefit is part of our efforts to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance to succeed.
Let me give you an example of what the new Canada Workers Benefit will mean for folks here in the GTA, and across the country. In 2019, someone 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 extra money that could be used to plan for their future and help with daily costs, like groceries and rent. It’s also an additional incentive to enter and stay in the job market.
With the new Canada Workers Benefit. we’re taking another step towards a stronger economy and a more equal country. My government is proud to support Canadians in times of need and help them get ahead in the new economy. We’re very excited about this program and the tremendous results it will yield for hardworking Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Once again, on behalf of my colleagues, Adam, Rob, Julie and Nate, I want to thank you for joining us here today at WoodGreen’s. I want to thank Ann and Steve for welcoming us here and doing amazing work in the community. Work that we’re happy to support and actually spread across the country as well.