Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House this afternoon to speak to Canada's economic action plan 2012 through the budget implementation act, Bill C-38. I thank the hon. member for Edmonton—St. Albert for sharing his time with me today.
Canada is emerging from the global economic recession. The economy's strengths provide an opportunity for the government to take significant actions today that will fuel the next wave of job creation and position Canada for a secure and prosperous future. Economic action plan 2012 sets out a comprehensive agenda to bolster Canada's fundamental strengths and address important challenges confronting the economy over the long run.
Specifically, this plan supports entrepreneurs, innovators and world-class research. Our government will increase investments in research and development and in streamlining and enhancing the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program, including shifting from indirect tax incentives to more direct support for innovative private sector businesses. We will also enhance the access to venture capital financing by high growth companies so they can have the capital they need to create jobs and grow.
Further, we are making changes in Bill C-38 to ensure responsible resource development so that Canada may take advantage of the natural resource opportunity we have that benefits all regions of the country, including Mississauga. Many businesses rely on a strong and responsible resource sector to sell their goods and services. By creating an efficient regulatory system, we can provide effective protection of the interests of Canadians while minimizing the burden on business.
The city of Mississauga is one of the most multicultural cities in the world. We have residents from hundreds of countries of origin who call Mississauga home, and we are happy to have them. What is even more exciting is that many of these people work in companies that do business around the world, rely on strong trade relationships and provide import and export services worldwide. That is why I am very pleased that our government has the most ambitious trade expansion plan in Canadian history.
We know that free, fair and open trade is good for Canadian business. We know that Canadians can compete with the best in the world and we can win. We know that signing free trade agreements with countries around the globe give Canadians fair and better access to international markets.
I am pleased to see that we are reforming the immigration system to place a strong emphasis on skilled workers, investors and job creators who want to come to Canada and make a strong economic contribution. The temporary foreign worker program will be realigned to better meet labour market demands and we are making significant improvements to the foreign credential recognition process.
I am also pleased to report that Bill C-38 extends the hiring credit for small business for another year, providing up to $1,000 for one year to encourage the hiring of new employees.
Like every Canadian family, the federal government, too, must re-look at how it spends hard-earned taxpayer money and constantly ensure both value for money and spending on the most important priorities. This budget focuses on eliminating waste in the internal operations of government and making government leaner and more efficient, totalling about $5.2 billion in ongoing savings. This represents just 2% of total program spending by 2016-17. With this and other initiatives, I am pleased to report that we remain on track to balance the budget over the medium term as promised.
Canada must ensure that its social programs are relevant for the times but also cost effective for taxpayers. Bill C-38 proposes changes to strengthen and support the employment insurance program and old age security.
With respect to OAS, no government in recent memory has done more to support Canadian seniors than this one. I was pleased, in the first budget on which I was able to vote in this House, that our government brought in the largest one time increase in the guaranteed income supplement in over 25 years. Further, our government continues to provide support to the old age security program to existing recipients and those near retirement at current levels with no reductions or changes whatsoever.
However, we have a responsibility to ensure that the OAS system is protected for future generations and not just simply pass the buck to some other government down the road. That is why we are moving forward with a prudent, responsible and proactive change to the OAS by slowly raising the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 by 2029. The number of Canadians over 65 will increase, from 4.7 million today to 9.3 million by 2030. The cost of OAS will rise from $36 billion to $108 billion. Meanwhile, the number of taxpayers who will pay for OAS will go from four today to two in 20 years. Even though this decision may not be popular, it is simply the right thing to do to ensure the long-term sustainability of the OAS system for generations to come.
This budget also continues its support for families and communities. It would improve health-related tax treatment under the GST-HST, strengthen Canada's food safety system, provide enhanced support for the victims' fund, improve the wage earner protection fund and improve the registered disability savings program.
I will conclude by quoting the Minister of Finance in his budget address of March 29:
We see Canada for what it is and what it can be—a great, good nation, on top of the world, the True North strong and free. Our government has been inspired by this vision from the beginning. Today we step forward boldly, to realize it fully—hope for our children and grandchildren; opportunity for all Canadians; a prosperous future for our beloved country.
I am pleased to report to the House that I will be supporting Bill C-38 at third reading and ensuring that economic action plan 2012, jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, becomes a reality.