Thank you. I have an hour and a half opening statement that I thought I'd start with. Seriously, though, thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'd like to thank all the members of the committee for having me here today. It's good to be back before this committee to discuss the budget implementation act.
Before I speak about the measures in this bill, I'd like to thank all the members on this committee for their due diligence on the pre-budget consultations. That obviously was critically important to us as we moved forward in the preparation of our budget. Of course, I'd also like to thank you now for your work on the budget implementation act.
This bill is the next step in our plan to invest in the middle class and ensure economic growth. Clearly, investments are essential if we are to do that.
When I talk to Canadians, they say they remember the situation in 2015. The Canadian economy had slowed down. People felt abandoned. During the years that followed, we worked extremely hard to reverse the situation through investments in people and communities, investments that bore fruit.
Canadians, supported by the government's economic plan, have created more than 900,000 new jobs since 2015, pushing the unemployment rate to near 40-year lows. Middle-class families are better off across the country, and fewer people are living in poverty in Canada today. That's a lot of progress over three and a half years, but we know there's still much more work to do. People are still feeling anxious about their futures and their ability to make big, long-term investments in their families.
That's why our government, through this budget implementation act, is taking more steps to invest in the middle class and the things that Canadians need to succeed. I'd like to take the opportunity this afternoon to highlight some of those important measures.
For many Canadians, one of their top concerns is their job. That makes sense. Canadians want to take pride in their work and be able to support themselves and their families, but as the global economy continues to evolve and as things like automation transform the job market, the skills people have today will need to change. This is a challenge that all industrialized countries are facing. What sets Canada apart and what will help us to remain competitive in the global economy is our people and the investments we make in them.
This year's budget proposes to introduce the Canada training benefit, a new benefit that will help Canadians to prepare for, to plan and to get the training they need. An important part of the benefit included in the budget implementation act is a training credit that will give working Canadians $250 every year to put toward the cost of future training, a credit that can add up to as much as $5,000 over the course of a career. That's the kind of long-term planning that you, as members, will be able to see in the course of reviewing all of our budget.
Housing is another good example. Our government believes that every Canadian should have a safe and affordable place to call home. The budget implementation act would enact Canada's first national housing strategy act, requiring the federal government to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable in our society. It would require the government to report on progress toward achieving the strategy's goals, like building 100,000 new housing units, repairing 300,000 other units and cutting homelessness in half.
The BIA also proposes measures to help Canadians take their first steps toward home ownership. It would amend the National Housing Act and allow the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to offer shared equity mortgages to eligible homebuyers. The first-time buyer incentive would reduce the monthly payments required for people in the purchase of their first home. For a new condo or house worth $400,000, the savings could be more than $225 per month. This measure is expected to help approximately 100,000 Canadians to buy their first homes.
The act would also increase the homebuyers' plan withdrawal limit, giving first-time homebuyers greater access to the savings in their registered retirement savings plan to buy a home. These measures would be especially beneficial to young Canadians for whom home ownership seems increasingly out of reach.
Housing isn't the only place where barriers exist for young people and that's why we're also working to make education more affordable. With the measures in the budget implementation act, students wouldn't have to start repaying their Canada student loans for six months after they graduate and interest wouldn't accumulate on those loans during that time period. That gives people time to start a career and to begin saving up. It's a change that sets young Canadians up for success, allowing them to focus on what they want to do, not on what they have to pay.
We're taking a similar approach with seniors. Through budget 2019 and through the budget implementation act, we're taking steps to make retirement more financially secure.
In order to help low-income seniors, we intend to raise the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption. This means that seniors will keep a larger part of their pay and benefits.
So that all workers may derive full advantage of their contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, we propose to register them proactively. The objective is to guarantee that those who contribute to the CPP and are 70 or more and have not yet registered to receive their pension benefits, will receive them. They deserve them. However, these are not the only measures that will allow us to protect Canadians and their families in the context of this bill based on communities and clean growth.
One of the other measures is to build a cleaner and more sustainable Canada. As you know, we already work with the provinces and territories to put a price on carbon pollution and fight climate change. We are going even further with Budget 2019 by making zero-emission vehicles more affordable, including for the businesses that want to renew their vehicle fleets.
The Act to implement certain provisions of the budget would allow those businesses to recover that investment faster.
Another way we're helping to protect Canadians is by combatting financial crime. I know this committee has done a lot of work in this regard and I know that you've looked at how we can best do that, and I'd like to thank the committee for that work. With this legislation, we know we can help improve Canada's anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing framework, strengthening the resources, intelligence and information sharing needed to identify and meet evolving threats, while also continuing to protect the privacy rights of Canadians and manage the regulatory burden on the private sector.
I could provide more examples. After all, as you know, this is an ambitious agenda, but what I'd like to do instead as I conclude my remarks is to thank the members of this committee for their careful attention to the bill. It's a bill that will help prepare Canadians for good jobs, make it easier to buy a home, and help young people starting out and seniors as they retire.
I'm happy to take your questions.