Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the residents of my riding of Davenport, whom I am honoured and blessed to represent in this venerable House on Bill C-14.
I will be speaking specifically to some of the important measures that are included in Bill C-14, an act to implement certain provisions of the economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 30, 2020 and other measures.
Since the onset of COVID-19, the Government of Canada has remained steadfast in its commitment to do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to help Canadian businesses weather the storm. The recently tabled fall economic statement outlined the government's actions to date and proposed new measures to support Canadians through the COVID-19 pandemic. These investments are a down payment on a growth plan of roughly three to four per cent of GDP, or between $70 billion and $100 billion over three years, to jump-start Canada's economy once the virus is under control.
Bill C-14 is an important step in the government's plan. It would urgently move forward with measures from the fall economic statement that would provide immediate assistance to families with young children, students and businesses, and measures that would help protect the health and safety of Canadians.
For example, the bill would ensure that Canadians whose Canada emergency response benefit claim has been delayed could receive the income support that they are eligible for after the end of this year. This bill would also amend the Food and Drugs Act to help prevent and alleviate future drug shortages by allowing the government to make regulations to require that pertinent information on potential shortages and activities related to food, drugs and other items be provided to the Minister of Health, when necessary.
The fall economic statement also moves forward with a plan to set new national standards for long-term care, in recognition of the tragic deaths from COVID-19 that we saw in the spring, in the fall and right now. It seeks to establish a $1 billion safe long-term care fund that would help provinces and territories protect seniors and our most vulnerable. In particular, Bill C-14 would provide funding of up to $505.7 million over the coming months to support long-term care facilities, including funding to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, outbreaks and deaths in supportive-care facilities.
Our federal government also recognizes that the emotional and mental health effects of the pandemic on Canadians will continue as we face the second wave and public health measures continue to be in place. Indeed, half of Canadians report that their mental health has worsened during COVID-19. Bill C-14 would provide funding to improve vital access to virtual care and mental health tools. This would include important investments to bolster distress centres and provide further support for the Wellness Together Canada portal, which connects Canadians to peer-support workers, social workers, psychologists and other professionals to help address mental health and substance use issues. These investments would help ensure that Canadians have the mental health support they need when they need it the most.
In addition to the $505.7 million for long-term care, this bill would provide funding of up to $395.6 million to support a range of initiatives to help Canadians cope during the pandemic and to continue our fight against the virus, including the following: mental health and substance use programming, innovative approaches to COVID-19 testing, virtual care and mental health tools, medical research, treatments and therapeutics, vaccine funding and development, border and travel measures, and isolation sites.
As the members of the House know well, the spring saw many challenges, as everything shut down across the country to reduce the spread of the virus. Suddenly, kids were out of school, day cares were closed and many families with young children had to find temporary alternatives to their regular child-care arrangements. These challenges often meant higher, unanticipated costs for Canadian families with children.
Our federal government is committed to helping the many families who have been struggling with a wide range of expenses as a result, from providing care to buying tools for at-home learning, such as books and computers, and often more costly temporary child-care arrangements.
That is why the federal government is proposing, through Bill C-14, to provide immediate relief for low- and middle-income families with young children who are entitled to the Canada child benefit or CCB. For these families, we are proposing to provide up to $1,200 in 2021 for each child under the age of six. This would represent an almost 20% increase over the existing maximum annual CCB payment and would have a meaningful impact on families in need of this support during the pandemic.
This support would automatically be delivered to families who are entitled to the CCB, and have a net income at or below $120,000, through four tax-free payments of $300. Families entitled to the CCB who have a net income above $120,000 would receive four tax-free payments of $150, for a total benefit of $600. The first of these payments would be made within a week or two of the passage of Bill C-14, as I understand, with subsequent payments occurring in April, July and October of 2021.
This temporary assistance would directly benefit about 1.6 million families and about 2.1 million children during a period when families are still grappling with the financial impacts they are facing as a result of this pandemic.
We must also recognize how young people continue to suffer from economic impacts due to COVID-19. When the pandemic struck, many students had to leave school. Internships and summer jobs became scarce as Canadians did the right thing and stayed at home. The government is working to ensure that the pandemic does not derail the futures of students. We are determined to take a number of measures to help youth continue in their careers and in their schools.
In addition to proposed measures from the fall economic statement that would provide more opportunities for young people to gain work experience, our government is also proposing support to ease the financial burden on recent graduates. This important measure, which has received praise from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, would bring $329.4 million in relief to up to 1.4 million Canadians who are looking for work or are in the early stages of their careers.
It would also help graduates from low- and middle-income families, who tend to have higher overall debt levels, as well as recent graduates with disabilities, given that 37% of borrowers who identified as a person with disabilities participated in the repayment assistance plan of the Canada student loans program in 2017-18.
In conclusion, it is clear that Canadians need our support to weather the storm as we continue to fight against COVID-19. That is why I implore all hon. members to join me in swiftly passing Bill C-14 to enable the government to move forward with implementing these important measures from the fall economic statement, to protect the health and safety of Canadians, to support students and recent graduates, and to help families with young children in need.