Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to this budget implementation bill. This bill would put some of the measures contained within the 2014 federal budget into practice in Canada.
Before I address some of the specific measures in this bill, I would like to give an overview of what the international community is saying about Canada's economy and the success we have seen since the global recession in 2008.
Both the IMF and the OECD have stated that they expect Canada to be among the strongest-growing economies in the G7 over this year and the next. The New York Times conducted an analysis and concluded that after-tax middle-class incomes in Canada, which were substantially behind in the year 2000, now appear to be higher than in the United States.
Finally, with nearly 1.2 million jobs created since July 2009, the Canadian economy has had one of the strongest job-creation records in the G7 since the recession. As we move forward with this legislation, the international community can look forward to Canada continuing its role as a global leader with a successful economic record.
One of the reasons Canada has had such great economic success is that we recognize that the challenges we face in the global economy are not simple or straightforward. They are complex challenges that affect every sector in the Canadian economy. This is why I am pleased to see that this bill encompasses a broad approach to addressing the many problems we still face in the fragile global economy.
I know that the term “omnibus” does not sit well with some. However, we have to be realistic. Canada exists within a global economy, and because it is comprehensive, this bill would ensure that we address as many issues as possible to maintain our outstanding economic recovery and growth. Since Canada has had to move quickly to meet the challenges of the economic recession, Canadians have experienced that these bills have in fact been working very well for our economy. Furthermore, historically, it has been common practice to include various measures across many sectors in a budget and then in the budget implementation bills to follow. Ultimately, it reflects the central role a budget plays in addressing the wide range of issues Canadians need addressed.
Now I would like to highlight some of the measures contained within this bill that will be important to the residents in my riding of Vancouver South, and indeed to all Canadians.
The first measure I feel would greatly benefit the people of my riding, and particularly small-business owners in my riding, is the small-business job credit. Over the next two years, this credit would lower the payroll taxes of small businesses by 15%. It is estimated that this would result in savings of approximately $550 million for small businesses over these two years. As a previous small-business owner myself, I fully understand the importance small businesses play in driving the local economy. I know that this credit would go a long way in supporting the many small businesses in my riding and would promote job creation throughout Vancouver and Canada.
Another measure I was pleased to see in this implementation bill was the extension of the tax credit that currently exists for interest paid on government-sponsored student loans to include interest paid on Canada apprenticeship loans. As we know, apprenticeships are a vital link between high school and the workplace. Many students in my riding and across Canada take part in apprenticeship programs to gain the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. Furthermore, these apprenticeships can usually lead directly to full-time employment. I have met many constituents enrolled in apprenticeship programs who share how they thoroughly enjoyed learning their trades through hands-on experience and direct training from an employer. I am therefore very pleased to see that the government would extend the existing credit to loans students can take out to participate in apprenticeship programs. This would certainly encourage students to take part in these programs, which will contribute to a strong and skilled workforce.
Another tax credit I am pleased would be implemented as part of this bill is the doubling of the children's fitness tax credit. In 2006, the government introduced a non-refundable tax credit of up to $500 annually for fees related to the registration of a child under the age of 16 in an eligible program of physical activity.
This bill would act on an announcement that the Prime Minister made this month that would double this tax credit as well as make it refundable.
I know that many people in my riding and across Canada widely support this credit as it would enable children to enrol in sports like hockey, baseball and soccer, when they otherwise might not be able to afford it. As a previous soccer mom of twins, and recognizing that many families, like mine, have more than one child, I know how quickly fees can add up.
That is why I am very pleased to see the doubling of this tax credit in this implementation bill as it would help Canadian families support sport and activity for their children. This measure would ensure that parents can take advantage of this credit when they file their taxes for the 2014 tax year.
Finally, I was pleased to see that this implementation bill would end pay-to-pay billing practices in the telecommunications sector. This would ensure that those who prefer to or must receive their bills in the mail are not forced to pay additional fees just because they receive their bills in the mail.
This commitment was made as part of the government's 2013 Speech from the Throne. I am very pleased to see that it would now be implemented. Many seniors in my riding, as well as those who do not have access to high speed or any type of Internet, have been frustrated with these unnecessary fees. I know that they will certainly be pleased to see this practice end.
In closing, I would like to share that when I am in my constituency in Vancouver, I consistently hear from my constituents about how happy they are with the work of the Minister of Finance and what he has been doing to ensure that we will return to a balanced budget by 2015. Hearing from my constituents about how pleased they are has certainly made this a priority for the government and a priority for all Canadians.
I therefore urge the opposition to support economic growth, lower taxes and the many positive measures in Bill C-43.