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Statement by Century Initiative in Response to the 2024 Federal Budget

April 16, 2024

Today’s federal budget addressed several urgent priorities for Canadians – none more critical than housing and infrastructure. Century Initiative has advocated for a “war-time effort” when it comes to building the homes, transit, and community spaces Canadians need.

To that end, we are encouraged by the government’s plans to convert public land into homes, top up of the Apartment Construction Loan Program, and invest $6 billion through the Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund. Collectively, these measures make a powerful statement about Canada’s potential to address one of the largest predictors of quality of life and a major barrier to productivity.

The success of these investments, like many other programs announced in today’s budget, will be dependent on a national talent recruitment and retention strategy, with particular emphasis on construction workers. To that end, we are encouraged by new investments in apprenticeships and skilled trades awareness and readiness.

Other priorities that we were pleased to see addressed include:

·      Support for children and families through the National School Program and the launch of a Youth Mental Health Fund;

·      $1 billion commitment in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care, recognizing that not enough spaces have been created to match demand (a major limitation for many families’ participation in the workforce, particularly for women); and

·      Expansion of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan to include temporary residents, understanding that a more robust planning process is critical to the integrity of our immigration system.

At the same time, we recognize that Canada’s ability to grow well is dependent on a strong, productive, and sustainable economy. To that end, we remain concerned about Canada’s growing level of public debt. Further, we need a plan to encourage growth and scale for businesses so that they can offer competitive pay and increase their capital and R&D investments.

In particular, we were disappointed by the lack of a more substantial update on the federal government’s review of the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit, one of Canada’s central supports for the innovation economy. And like many of our peers, we worry that excessive tax hikes risk further damaging Canada’s investment climate.

In the coming days, we will be more comprehensively reviewing and analyzing the budget with a focus on long-term planning and a vision for a bigger, bolder, more prosperous Canada. Leave us a comment if any policies in particular have grabbed your attention!