moved that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, it is my sincere pleasure to join this debate on Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have done everything necessary to protect Canadians’ health and safety, to help businesses weather the storm and to position our country for a strong recovery. After 14 months of uncertainty and hardship, Canadians continue to fight COVID-19 with determination and courage.
Right now we are being hit hard by the third wave, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. More and more Canadians are getting vaccinated. The recovery is around the corner. The bill before us today would implement our plan to finish the fight against COVID-19, create jobs, grow the economy and ensure a robust recovery from which all Canadians would benefit.
The budget I presented to the House on April 19 contains further details about the plan. The budget focuses on middle-class Canadians and seeks to help more Canadians join the middle class. It is also in line with the global shift to a green, clean economy.
This plan will help Canadians and Canadian businesses heal the wounds left by COVID-19 and come back stronger than ever.
This budget meets three fundamental challenges. First, we must conquer COVID. That means buying vaccines and supporting provincial and territorial health care systems. It means enforcing quarantine rules at the border and within the country. It means providing Canadians and Canadian businesses with the support they need to get through these final lockdowns.
Second, we must punch our way out of the COVID recession. That means ensuring that lost jobs are recovered as swiftly as possible and hard-hit businesses rebound quickly. It means providing support where COVID has hit hardest: to women, to young people, to racialized Canadians and low-wage workers, and to small and medium-sized businesses, especially in tourism and hospitality. When fully enacted, this budget will create, in total, nearly 500,000 new training and work opportunities for Canadians.
Third, the major challenge is to build a more resilient Canada: better, more fair, more prosperous and more innovative. That means investing in Canada's green transition and the green jobs that go with it, in Canada's digital transformation and in Canadian innovation, and it means building infrastructure for a dynamic, growing country. This budget invests in social infrastructure and in physical infrastructure. It invests in human capital and in physical capital. It invests in Canadians and it invests in Canada.
Vaccine campaigns are accelerating, and that is such a good thing, but we need to vaccinate even more Canadians even more quickly. Thanks to plentiful and growing vaccine supply, that is something team Canada can get done working together. This legislation proposes a one-time payment of $1 billion to provinces and territories to reinforce and roll out vaccination programs.
Canadians should take advantage of our increasing vaccine supply and, when it is their turn, go and get the first Health Canada-approved vaccine available to them. I was vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine nine days ago at a Toronto pharmacy, and I am so grateful I was able to be vaccinated when it was my turn.
COVID-19 has placed extreme pressure on health care systems across the country. The pandemic is still with us and Canadians do need help urgently. That is why we propose to provide $4 billion through the Canada health transfer to help provinces and territories address immediate health care system pressures.
These funds are in addition to our unprecedented investments in the health care systems during the pandemic, including the $13.8 billion invested in health care under the safe restart agreement.
A full recovery from this pandemic requires new, long-term investments in social infrastructure, from early learning and child care to student grants to income top-ups, so that the middle class can flourish and so that more Canadians can join it.
COVID-19 has brutally exposed what women have long known: Without child care, parents, usually mothers, cannot work outside the home. A cornerstone of our jobs and growth plan is a historic investment of $30 billion over five years, reaching $9.2 billion annually in permanent investments when combined with previous commitments, to build a high-quality, affordable and accessible early learning and child care system across Canada.
Within five years, families everywhere in Canada should have access to high-quality child care for an average of $10 a day. This will help increase parents', and especially women's, participation in the workforce. It will create jobs for child care workers, more than 95% of whom are women. It will give every child in Canada the best possible start in life. Early learning and child care has long been a feminist issue. COVID has shown us that it is an urgent economic issue as well.
As we make this historic commitment, I would like to thank the visionary leaders in Quebec, and in particular Quebec feminists, who led the way for the rest of Canada. I am very grateful to these women.
Of course, the plan also includes additional resources for Quebec that could be used to provide further support for its early learning and child care system, a system that is already the envy of the rest of Canada and, indeed, much of the world.
We also recognize the continuing need to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through this tough third wave of the virus and into a full recovery. To date, the Canada emergency wage subsidy has helped more than 5.3 million Canadians keep their jobs. The Canada emergency rent subsidy and lockdown support have helped more than 175,000 organizations with rent, mortgage and other expenses.
The wage subsidy, rent subsidy and lockdown support were set to expire in June 2021. Bill C-30 extends these measures through to September 25, 2021, for a total of $12.1 billion in additional support. Extending the support will mean that millions of jobs will be protected, as they have been throughout this crisis.
To help people who still cannot work, we also propose maintaining flexible access to employment insurance benefits for another year, until fall 2022.
We also plan to extend the number of weeks for certain major income support measures, including the Canada recovery benefit and the Canada recovery caregiver benefit.
We are providing an extra 12 weeks of benefits to recipients of the Canada recovery benefit, which was created to help Canadians who are not eligible for employment insurance.
Bill C-30 also proposes extending the Canada recovery caregiver benefit by 4 weeks, up to a maximum of 42 weeks at $500 a week. This will help when the economy begins its safe reopening.
For caregivers who cannot find a solution, especially those who take care of children, the employment insurance sickness benefit will be extended from 15 to 26 weeks.
Canada's prosperity depends on every Canadian having a fair chance to join the middle class. Low-wage workers in Canada work harder than anyone else in the country and for less pay. In the past year, they have faced both significant infection risks and job losses. Many live below the poverty line, even though they work full time. We are Canadian, and this should not be acceptable to any of us.
Through Bill C-30, we propose to expand the Canada workers benefit to invest $8.9 billion over six years in additional support for low-wage workers. This will extend income top-ups to about a million more workers and will lift 100,000 Canadians out of poverty. This legislation will also introduce a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage.
Young people have made extraordinary sacrifices over this past year to keep us, their elders, safe. We must not and we will not allow them to become a lost generation. Bill C-30 would make college and university more accessible and affordable. This legislation will extend the waiver of interest on federal student and apprentice loans to March 2023. Waiving the interest on student loans will provide savings for the approximately 1.5 million Canadians repaying student loans.
In the past 14 months, no one has felt the devastating health effects of COVID-19 more than seniors. They deserve a safe, secure and dignified retirement. We therefore propose a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to old age security recipients who are or will be 75 or over in June 2022.
Bill C-30 also includes a permanent 10% increase in the old age security benefit for people aged 75 and over as of July 2022.
Small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. Lockdowns, though necessary, have hit them hardest. To heal the wounds left by COVID, we have to put a small business rescue plan into action as well as a long-term plan to help them grow.
In addition to extending the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the Canada emergency rent subsidy and lockdown support, we also have to make sure that [Technical difficulty—Editor].