Mr. Speaker, before question period I got into some of the benefits that are being provided to seniors through this budget. We have also reviewed some of the benefits that they have received over the past several years since the Conservatives formed government. Therefore, I will just finish up on some of the benefits of seniors and then move on to the benefits to farmers and the agricultural sector.
We have established a landmark tax-free savings account, which does not benefit seniors only but which is particularly beneficial for seniors, as neither income earned in a TFSA nor withdrawals from a TSFA affect their federal income-tested benefits and credits, such as the GIS.
We have introduced the largest GIS increase over 25 years, which gave eligible low-income seniors additional annual benefits of up to $600 for single seniors and $840 for couples, thus helping more than 680,000 seniors across Canada.
Our government's low-tax plan has helped remove over 380,000 seniors from the tax rolls altogether. In fact, in 2014 a single senior can earn at least $20,000 and a senior couple at least $40,000 before paying a penny in federal income taxes.
We could go on about seniors, but I want to talk a bit more about farmers.
As everyone knows, family farms are the backbone of our country. For generations, our farmers have fed Canadians and the world, while providing jobs and opportunities across Canada and stimulating the economy in general. We have been relentless in our efforts to halt country of origin labelling, or COOL, ensuring an open and transparent market for Canadian beef. I have met with Canadian beef ranchers and cattle feeders in the last couple of weeks, and they have announced that their industry is better than it has been in decades.
Earlier this year we introduced rail regulations to increase movement of prairie grain to coastal ports for export worldwide. That was welcomed by our local producers.
Economic action plan 2014 includes a number of measures to support Canadian farmers even further, as well as innovations in agriculture. Some of these measures include expanding tax deferrals for livestock to include bees and all horses over 12 months that are kept for breeding but are sold because of drought or excess moisture; supporting innovation and competitiveness in the agricultural sector by modernizing the Plant Breeders' Rights Act, including farmers' privilege, which allows farmers to save, condition, and reuse their seeds for planting on their own farm; and introducing a new pilot price insurance program to provide cattle and hog producers in western Canada with insurance against unexpected price declines within a production cycle.
This builds on our government's proud support for Canadian farmers and the agricultural sector since 2006.
Some of those measures include providing over $11 billion, including provincial and territorial contributions, to farmers through business risk management programs such as AgriStability, Agrilnsurance, Agrilnvest, and AgriRecovery; providing over $3 billion, including provincial and territorial contributions, towards investments in innovation, competitiveness, and market development for Canada's agricultural sector under Growing Forward 2; investing $500 million to establish the AgriFlexibility fund, which helps improve competitiveness and the sector's ability to adapt to cost of production pressures; investing $370 million into the hog industry and supporting debt restructuring to help sustain the industry; providing nearly $350 million to help western grain farmers cover the costs of adjusting to operating in an open market; not to mention the opening up of the Canada Wheat Board, which will allow farmers to market their grain as they see fit; providing over $300 million to support an exit strategy for tobacco producers; investing $50 million to support increased slaughter capacity; making a $50 million investment for the agricultural innovation program to support the development and commercialization of new products, technologies, processes, and services; investing $44 million to transition the Canadian Grain Commission to a stable funding model; increasing and indexing the lifetime capital gains exemption to $800,000 from $750,000; and doubling the current deduction limit under the restricted farm loss income tax rules from $8,750 to $17,500.
These are just a few of the measures for just two demographic sectors: agriculture and seniors.
Since 2006, our government has been committed to ensuring Canadians keep more of their hard-earned dollars in their own pockets, rather than use it to pay taxes. Economic action plan 2014 marks the next chapter in keeping that commitment to Canadians.