moved that Bill C‑32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to begin debate on Bill C‑32, which seeks to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement and budget 2022.
As in countries around the world, the Canadian economy is facing a period of slow economic growth. The global challenge of high inflation with higher interest rates and cost of living increases have left many Canadians worried. Some are worried about whether they can continue to pay their bills, and some are wondering whether Canada's future will be as prosperous as our past. Our message to Canadians is simple. We hear them, and we stand with them. We will get through this difficult period together, and we will come out the other side stronger, together.
The good news is that no country is better placed than Canada to weather the coming global economic slowdown. We have an unemployment rate near its record low, with 500,000 more Canadians working today than before the pandemic. We have the strongest economic growth in the G7 this year and the lowest net debt and deficit-to-GDP ratios in the G7. Less than two weeks ago, we saw our AAA credit rating reaffirmed. We have a talented and resilient workforce, and we are a country to which skilled workers around the world want to move. On top of that, we have key natural resources and innovative ideas that the global economy needs. These are the foundations of strength on which we will get through this difficult time.
However, in this period of uncertainty, it is important to exercise restraint and remain cautious budget-wise. That is why our government continues to pursue a tight fiscal policy to keep reducing the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.
Even as we face global headwinds, the investments we are making today will make Canada more sustainable and more prosperous for generations to come. We are working hard to make life more affordable for Canadians. Building on our affordability plan, which was announced this summer, we are putting money back into the pockets of those who need it the most.
With Bill C-32, we are moving forward with an important measure to make life more affordable for a group of Canadians heavily affected by rising prices: post-secondary graduates with student loans. With the passing of this bill, the federal portion of all Canada student loans and Canada apprenticeship loans would become permanently interest free, including those being repaid. This measure would provide financial relief to young Canadians across the country, helping them to make ends meet and ensuring that their investment in themselves and their education was the right decision to make.
I am already looking forward to the effect this measure will have on young Canadians. There is no doubt that it will help many young people balance their budgets and invest in their future. It will also help give our businesses and business owners the skilled workers they need to continue to prosper.
Last week, I met with student apprentices, and they were delighted to hear about this move that we are making in their future.
Another area where I know Canadians are looking for support is the cost of housing. No one will be surprised if I say that our government believes that everyone should have a safe and affordable place to call home. Unfortunately, that goal is increasingly out of reach for far too many Canadians.
Housing prices have skyrocketed over the past few years and many people are concerned that rent will also go up because of the impact high interest rates will have on the mortgages of rental property owners.
We know that some Canadians need help. That is why, with Bill C‑32, the government is introducing an ambitious range of measures designed to build more houses and make housing more affordable across the country.
We are lowering taxes for new homebuyers so they can put their money in a place to call home. To help young Canadians afford a down payment faster, Bill C-32 would move forward with the new tax-free first-home savings account. This account would allow prospective first-time homebuyers to save up to $40,000 tax-free toward their first home. Bill C-32 would also double the first-time homebuyers tax credit to provide up to $1,500 in direct tax relief to homebuyers starting in 2022.
We would introduce a refundable, multi-generational home renovation tax credit. We are also moving forward in Bill C-32 with measures to crack down on house flipping. By doing so, we would ensure that investors who flip homes pay their fair share, which will play a role in lowering housing prices for Canadians. In short, we have a plan to make home ownership in this country more affordable, especially for young people.
As we continue to provide targeted support for Canadians, we are also hard at work to advance a robust industrial policy that will deliver stable, good-paying jobs. We have to seize opportunities in the net-zero economy, attract new private investment and provide the key resources the world needs.
Without a doubt, an investment in our country's future is also an investment in our workers. That is why the 2022 fall economic statement makes investments in workers to grow Canada's economy, create good-paying jobs and tackle Canada's investment and productivity challenges.
For example, we are proposing to expand the accelerated tax deductions for business investments in clean energy equipment. This will be important as our government moves forward with Canada's first critical mineral strategy. This strategy recognizes that critical minerals, including those found in my own home province of Alberta, are central to major global industries and clean technologies. To build on this, we would also introduce a new 30% critical mineral exploration tax credit for specified mineral exploration expenses incurred in Canada.
There is also a measure in Bill C-32 that I am particularly proud of, and that is the creation of the Canada growth fund. We first announced this fund in budget 2022, and we are now taking concrete actions to make it a reality with Bill C-32. With it, we could help attract billions of dollars in new private capital required to fight climate change and create good jobs at the same time. The $15 billion from us would attract in $45 billion, for a fund of $60 billion, and this growth fund would also help to attract scale-up companies that will create jobs, and drive productivity and clean growth. It would encourage the retention of intellectual property in Canada, while capitalizing on Canada's abundance of natural resources.
The fund will be launched by the end of this year, and the government will take steps to put in place a permanent, independent structure for the fund in the first half of 2023.
It is also important to continue supporting our small businesses, which create jobs across the country. That is why we are proposing through this bill to cut taxes for Canada's growing small businesses by phasing out access to the small business tax rate more gradually, with access to be fully phased out when taxable capital reaches $50 million rather than $15 million.
While we support our growing small businesses, we are also moving forward with the Canada recovery dividend to ensure large financial institutions that made significant profits during the pandemic help support Canada's broader recovery. With the passage of Bill C-32, we would impose a one-time 15% tax on taxable income above $1 billion for banks and life insurers' groups because it is important to ensure that large financial institutions pay their fair share.
In a time of great challenge and uncertainty in the global economy, it is important for Canada to have a clear plan for moving forward.
That is precisely what we have with the 2022 fall economic statement and Bill C-32. This bill includes great measures to build an economy that works for everyone, to create great jobs and make life more affordable for Canadians.
My call to all members of the House is to come together and support the positive, constructive and necessary measures in this bill, support tax relief for home owners, support financial relief for post-secondary graduates and support a strategy to grow our economy and maintain Canada's competitive advantage. Canadians are looking to us to put politics aside and ensure the quick passage of this important legislation.