Support for Families Act

An Act to amend the Income Tax Act and the Universal Child Care Benefit Act and to make related amendments to another Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Joe Oliver  Conservative

Status

Second reading (House), as of March 27, 2015
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

Part 1 implements the income tax measures announced on October 30, 2014. It amends the Income Tax Act to increase the maximum annual amounts deductible for child care expenses, to repeal the child tax credit and to introduce the family tax cut credit.

Part 2 amends the Universal Child Care Benefit Act to, effective January 1, 2015, enhance the universal child care benefit by providing $160 per month for children under six years of age and by providing a new benefit of $60 per month for children six years of age or older but under 18 years of age.

It also amends the Children’s Special Allowances Act to, effective January 1, 2015, increase the special allowance supplement for children under six years of age from $100 to $160 per month and introduce a special allowance supplement in the amount of $60 per month for children six years of age or older but under 18 years of age.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

June 15th, 2015 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Brad Butt Conservative Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure today to rise in the House to speak at third reading stage of Bill C-59, economic action plan 2015 act, No. 1.

At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Minister of Finance, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, on his first budget, a very comprehensive budget, one that I am very proud to be a member of a team and a government to support in the House. I wish him well for many more balanced and successful budgets in the future.

This bill would legislate key elements of economic action plan 2015, which include measures to support jobs and growth, help communities prosper and ensure the security of Canadians. The bill also includes the measures that were contained in Bill C-57, the support for families act, and Bill C-58, the support for veterans and their families act.

However, perhaps the most significant part of the bill is that it would return Canada to a balanced budget and would enshrine in law balanced budget legislation reflecting our government's responsible fiscal management policy, which is creating jobs and putting more money back in the pockets of Canadians. A balanced budget allows the Government of Canada to cut taxes further for Canadian families, individuals and businesses.

My riding of Mississauga—Streetsville has the second highest number of families with children living at home in all of Canada. That is why our government's family tax cut and benefits plan really hits home in my community.

Our government will increase the universal child care benefit for children 6 and under to $160 per month, and extend the benefit for children aged 7 to 17 by $60 per month. This initiative puts thousands of dollars a year back into the pockets of families in my riding, and allows parents to make their choices for their children on how that money will be spent. It is important to note that the increase to the UCCB is retroactive to January 1, 2015 and that the new benefit will start to flow for families this July.

Further, our government is instituting a family income-splitting program that would allow a higher income spouse to, in effect, transfer $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket, effective for the 2014 tax year. Some families would save as much as $2,000 a year in total family tax paid, yet another example of how we are putting more money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadian families.

Economic action plan 2015 would also increases the child care expense deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age 7, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged 7 to 16, and up to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the disability tax credit.

Millions of Canadians have taken advantage of the very popular tax-free savings account. TFSAs are an excellent way for Canadians to save tax free and have that money available in the future for their personal needs. Many Canadians have maxed out at the old $5,500 a year limit, and many would contribute more if allowed. I am very pleased to report that economic action plan 2015 would raise the maximum contribution limit to $10,000, effective in 2015 and subsequent years.

Bill C-59 would also reduce the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds to permit seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings to better support their retirement income needs.

The bill would also create the home accessibility tax credit to assist seniors and disabled Canadians offset renovation costs to make their homes safer and more accessible so they could live independently and remain in their homes.

Mississauga—Streetsville is home to many seniors who tell me they want to age gracefully in place, remain in their cherished home as long as possible and be able to make modifications to improve their living conditions. The home accessibility tax credit is welcome news in my community.

Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion is located in the village of Streetsville. I am a member and I visit the legion regularly to support its initiatives. I have met with veterans there and I was honoured to present World War II “V” pins to dozens of these brave Canadians. That is why I am pleased economic action plan 2015 would ensure that veterans and their families receive the support they need by providing a new retirement income security benefit to moderately and severely disabled veterans. It would expand access to the permanent impairment allowance for disabled veterans and would create a new tax-free family caregiver relief benefit to recognize the very important role of caregivers.

This government values and supports the brave women and men who have served in our Canadian Forces and we will ensure that our veterans get the full support they need and deserve.

During pre-budget consultations and meetings, I had the opportunity to meet with groups like ALS Society of Canada, the MS Society of Canada and others about the compassionate care benefit provided under the employment insurance system.

Bill C-59 would extend compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks of coverage to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill and dying family members. This change would benefit thousands of families across Canada when they need the financial and emotional support the most.

The bill would also implement very important measures for supporting jobs and growth. Our government would reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019, lowering taxes for job-creating small businesses and their owners by $2.7 billion between now and 2019-20. This is very good news for members of the Streetsville Business Improvement Association and other companies operating in Mississauga—Streetsville. Predictable lower taxes each and every year is an important signal to the small business community.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to announce several investments in Mississauga, through the Federal Economic Development Corporation of Southern Ontario. These strategic investments assist leading edge companies grow and expand, create new high-wage jobs, and contribute to research and innovation.

Economic action plan 2015 would see the budget deficit reduced from $55.6 billion during the height of the recession and now with a $1.4 billion projected surplus. All Canadians should be thanked and should be proud for their hard work and their support of this government as we return Canada to balanced budgets.

I ask all members of the House to carefully read Bill C-59 and the important initiatives contained within it, and to rise to support the bill so we can continue to ensure Canada is strong, proud and free.

Finance—Main Estimates 2015-16Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 25th, 2015 / 8:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Chair, can the minister confirm that the drafting error can be found in ways and means Motions Nos. 16 and 17, as well as in Bill C-57?

Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1Government Orders

May 14th, 2015 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-59 today, the Conservatives' latest omnibus budget bill.

Bill C-59 comes from an old tired government that has completely lost touch with Canadians.

It is clear that today, as I share my time with the member for Ottawa—Vanier, we both agree that the government has to do more to create jobs and growth.

This morning we received yet another reminder of that. Thousands of workers—in fact, 1,500—at Bombardier in Montreal and Toronto are to be let go. This is not an isolated incident. It is part of a long-term trend of stagnant economic growth and a flatlined labour market.

In fact, we have 169,000 fewer jobs for young Canadians today than in 2008. We have twice the number of long-term unemployed in Canada, the people who are unemployed for over a year. In fact, in my riding and part of the riding next door, Kings County, Hants County, and Annapolis County, in that Stats Canada catchment area, unemployment has gone from 4.8% in 2008 to 11.6% today. There are 10,000 fewer jobs in Kings County, Hants County, and Annapolis County than in 2008.

Too many Canadians have been laid off or face having to replace full-time work with part-time jobs. This legislation does next to nothing to help those Canadians. Canada needs a government with a plan to help create jobs and growth. The Canadian economy has not just stalled; it is in reverse. According to Stats Canada, our economy has actually been shrinking in 2015.

Unfortunately, this legislation does not have a plan for jobs and growth and does not do anything to strengthen Canada's struggling middle class. Instead, the Conservatives have bundled together a large number of unrelated measures that simply do not belong in a budget bill. I would like to give a few examples.

Bill C-59 makes retroactive changes to exempt long gun registry data from Canada's information and privacy laws. That seems like an odd provision in a budget bill. What is more worrisome is that this morning the Information Commissioner revealed the real reason behind this, that she has recommended laying charges against the RCMP, almost two months ago, for withholding and destroying data in the gun registry.

Apparently the RCMP jumped the gun and destroyed the data while legislation to repeal the registry was still before Parliament. That shows a shocking disregard for Parliament, but it is also against the law.

How did the Conservative government react? Richard Nixon would have been proud of the Prime Minister. Instead of listening to the Information Commissioner and laying charges, the Conservatives decided to retroactively rewrite the law. They are using Bill C-59 to go back in time and to make legal what was illegal. In the words of the Information Commissioner, Bill C-59 “sets a perilous precedent against Canadians' quasi-constitutional right to know”.

Bill C-59 also includes other measures that have no business being in a budget bill. It introduces new rules on the use of secret evidence in court as well as the use of biometric information in immigration applications. It establishes the parliamentary protective service and new security force on Parliament Hill. It makes piecemeal changes to the Copyright Act. None of these items belong in a budget bill. None of them have to do with the fiscal framework of the country.

The Conservatives have bundled them together in a single bill in order to limit scrutiny and ram these measures through Parliament in a matter of weeks. The process is sloppy. It leads to mistakes, and inevitably with the government, it will use another omnibus bill to correct the errors from the last omnibus bill. It is a never-ending cycle of Conservative incompetence and disrespect for Parliament.

One example is in the area of income splitting. Bill C-59 includes the Conservatives' fourth attempt at passing the correct income-splitting rules. Canadians already know that this income-splitting scheme is unnecessarily complex. Now we have to follow an 85-step process just to apply.

Now it turns out that the process is so confusing that even the tax experts writing the rules got them wrong the first three times they came to Parliament. On Monday night, a finance official admitted that there is an error in the income-splitting rules.

The Conservatives made a mistake that is shortchanging some families by as much as $750 on their 2014 tax return. It is affecting Canadian families that qualify for both income splitting and the tuition, education, and textbook tax credits.

This error was in the ways and means motion that the House of Commons passed last November. It was there again in the ways and means motion that the House passed on March 25. It showed up a third time in Bill C-57.

This budget bill represents the Conservative government's fourth attempt to get it right. This is the Conservatives' flagship policy. Income splitting is not just unnecessarily complex; it is also unfair, unreliable, and bad for growth. It is unfair because it excludes 85% of Canadian households from any benefit whatsoever. It does nothing to help some of Canada's most vulnerable parents, single parents, or low-income families.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer issued a report showing that high-income families are far more likely to qualify for income-splitting benefits. In fact, families in the top quintile of income are the most likely to qualify. The PBO's report also shows that the average benefits under income splitting rise with family income. Families earning at least $180,000 per year get the highest average benefit. Yet these are exactly the people who need the help the least.

Income splitting is also unreliable. Just because people qualify for it one year does not mean they will benefit the next. The benefit can vanish whenever circumstances change. For example, a family can become disqualified when primary earners lose their job or see their pay drop.

Finally, the PBO has shown that it would actually weaken Canada's economic growth rather than strengthen it. The PBO estimates that income splitting will lead to the equivalent of 7,000 fewer full-time jobs in the Canadian economy.

The Liberals, and the Liberal Party of Canada, have a plan that is fair, simple, and good for the economy. We would replace the Conservatives' income-splitting scheme and a complex array of benefits with a single tax-free monthly cheque that is easier to receive and means more money in the pockets of low- and middle-income families.

Under the Liberal plan for fairness, a typical two-parent family with two children, earning $90,000 per year would receive $490 every month, tax free. That is $2,500 more per year than under the current Conservative plan. A Liberal government would also make the tax system fairer and cut the middle class tax rate by 7%. That is a $3 billion tax cut for those who need it the most.

We would ask the wealthiest Canadians to help, to pay a little more so the middle class can pay less. Canada's middle-class families are tapped out. They are struggling to make ends meet. They have not had a pay raise or a real tax cut to benefit their families in a long time.

Fairness means giving more to the middle class and those working hard to join it. The Conservatives, on the other hand, are only helping those who need the help the least.

Canadians now have two fundamentally different choices. The Conservatives offer tax breaks to the wealthy. We, as Liberals, believe in a country that works for everyone. We believe we can do more for those who need it the most by doing a little less for those who do not need the help.

The Conservatives are out of touch with the challenges faced by middle-class families. They are out of ideas on how to strengthen the economy. Canadians know it is time for change. It is time for a Liberal government with a plan for fairness for Canada's middle class. We will present to Canadians a plan for jobs and growth, investing in infrastructure, investing in people and skills for the jobs of today and the jobs of tomorrow.

Our priority is clear, we must strengthen those at the heart of our economy, middle-class Canadians who have not had a decent raise in 30 years. We cannot have a sustained long-term economic recovery without a strong middle class.

Liberals will continue to present solutions to grow our economy and to help Canada's struggling middle class. We will give Canadians a real choice for hope for a better future and a plan to actually lead us to that future in October when Canadians have an opportunity to choose a better government.

TaxationStatements By Members

May 13th, 2015 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ted Hsu Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' new income splitting is not just unfair; it is so complex even tax experts writing the legislation got it wrong no less than three times.

To apply for income splitting, Canadians must follow an 85-step process. I saw what looked like an error in how it was calculated, so I asked about it at the budget bill briefing Monday night. In response, a Finance official confirmed that some families were being shortchanged on their 2014 tax return by as much as $750.

The error affects families that qualify for both income splitting and education-related tax credits. The error was in ways and means motions that passed on November 4 and March 25, and in BillC-57.

The budget bill is the Conservatives' fourth attempt at getting the legislation right. The Liberals' plan for fairness is much simpler. We will replace income splitting and a complex array of programs with one bigger, fairer, tax-free monthly cheque on which Canadian families can rely.

Support for Families ActRoutine Proceedings

March 27th, 2015 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Eglinton—Lawrence Ontario

Conservative

Joe Oliver ConservativeMinister of Finance

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-57, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act and the Universal Child Care Benefit Act and to make related amendments to another Act.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)