Five things to know about the government’s plan to tackle affordability in Canada

Government ministers are keen to push the bills through the House of Commons quickly so checks can be delivered by December – a particularly difficult month for many cash-strapped families.

The Liberals kicked off the fall session of Parliament on Tuesday by tabling two new spending bills of more than $4.5 billion that they hope will lower the rising cost of living for income Canadians. modest.

Here are five things to know about the government’s new affordability plan:

1. Liberals hope to double GST credits

About 11 million people who already qualify for GST credits will get double the relief for about six months under the proposed bill. If adopted, single people without children will receive up to $234 more, and couples with two children will receive up to $467 more this year. Seniors would receive an average of $225 more on average, according to government estimates.

2. Some children are entitled to dental care dollars

Children under 12 whose families have an annual income of less than $90,000 are eligible for a new dental benefit if they do not already have dental insurance. The federal government says eligible families will receive up to $650 per child per year, depending on their income.

While the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will ask for details of dental appointments and expect parents to keep receipts to show how the money was spent, the government says that he won’t come calling if the families don’t spend every penny like he did. intended.

If the CRA finds that people intentionally misled them or used the funds improperly, they could still be subject to a fine of up to $5,000.

The benefit is only a temporary measure while the federal government works on a more comprehensive, long-term dental program.

3. A little help is coming for people whose rent is eating away at their paycheck

One of the proposed bills would also create a one-time $500 supplement to the Canada Housing Benefit. The check would be offered to families with incomes below $35,000 or singles earning less than $20,000, who also spend at least 30% of their income on rent.

The idea is to make rent more affordable for low-income tenants struggling with the cost of living.

4. Timing of payments will depend on how quickly bills become law

The bills contain about $4.5 billion in spending, of which $3.1 billion was not already provided for in the 2022 budget.

Government ministers are keen to push the bills through the House of Commons quickly so checks can be delivered by December – a particularly difficult month for many cash-strapped families.

They can be sure the bills will pass with the help of the NDP, which has called for all three measures, but how quickly that happens may ultimately depend on the opposition Conservatives, who are challenging the Liberals’ method of struggle with affordability.

5. Politicians argue over whether spending will make inflation worse

New Tory leader Pierre Poilievre has spoken out against the Liberals, arguing that their plan is “printing more money, borrowing more money and throwing gasoline on the inflationary fire the Prime Minister has created”.

At a news conference, Associate Finance Minister Randy Boissonnault countered by saying the spending is “not an inflationary measure” because it goes to people who are struggling and have no savings in their pockets. which to draw.

He said the new spending was a fraction of the overall Canadian economy, which was about $2.6 trillion. “So it’s like throwing a stone into the lake – the lake doesn’t flood. And that’s what we’re very careful about doing.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 20, 2022.

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