Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to add my voice in support of the new small business job credit, which builds on our government's commitment to lowering taxes and leaving more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadian families and job-creating businesses.
Our government has a proven track record of success when it comes to supporting families and communities. Regretfully, the high-tax NDP and Liberals do not believe that we are on the right track. They think that Canadians should pay more taxes. We have an obvious difference of opinion. Respectfully, that is a difference.
In the last federal election, we said that Canadians should pay less tax and that we would end up having more revenue for the government. That is exactly what has happened. In fact, our strong record in tax relief has seen savings of nearly $3,400 for a typical family of four in 2014. It has allowed people to invest those savings in important family matters that have benefited not only typical families but their communities.
Members should also be aware that this low-tax plan we have has produced the strongest middle class in the world. We have put over $30 billion back into the pockets of everyday Canadians in a number of different ways. It is a shame that the Liberals and the NDP, our opposition, have consistently voted against lower taxes.
Our economic action plan will play a key role in strengthening our economy, not just now but in the future, with positive measures that advance economic progress, and subsequently, the prosperity that runs along with it.
Today let me highlight just one small measure. It is our government's small business tax credit, which will lower EI premiums for small businesses by approximately 15%. Over the next two years, the premium reductions will save employers $550 million, money they can use to hire more Canadians.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, of which I was a proud member for many years, estimates that the credit will create 25,000 person-years of employment over the next two to three years alone. The Minister of Finance also confirmed that in 2017, EI premiums will go from the current $1.88 per $100 of earnings down to $1.47. In 2017, we will definitely have moved to the point where we are in an accountable and completely structured program that at the point we might say is self-supporting.
This means that Canadians and employers will have more money to invest in other requirements, such as training and increased wages. Workers will have more money in their wallets at the end of the day.
Yes, it is a positive measure. That fact remains clear. It is something organizations across the country, those that understand small business, recognize will go a long way in helping the Canadian economy, given the importance of small business to the Canadian economy.
Let me quote the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. It said:
This will make it easier to hire new workers or invest in additional training to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.... This announcement is fantastic news for Canada’s entrepreneurs and their employees, and as such, can only be a positive for the Canadian economy.
It should be noted that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business represents a huge, broad percentage of small businesses in Canada.
Our government has a responsibility to create the right conditions for economic growth. Clearly, it is one that we do not take lightly. Since the downturn, we have had a steady increase in employment. Interest rates have been low, and we have experienced the kind of economic growth that has made us the envy of every other country. This has been documented by independent organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank.
We got here. How? It was by implementing concrete measures to ensure that Canadians have the skills they need for the jobs that are in demand.
My riding was very pleased to see that we were able to contribute to a new skills development building at Loyalist College, which certainly aids the local trades people in our area in gaining the skills that are necessary to not only compete but gain the jobs that are readily available.
By insuring that federal funding responds to the hiring needs of employers and by giving them the opportunity to participate meaningfully as partners in the skills training, the Canada jobs grant has and will continue to transform skills training in Canada. The Canada jobs grant provides up to $15,000 per person for training costs, including tuition and training materials, which includes up to $10,000 in federal contributions, with employers contributing an average of one-third of the total costs of training.
As important as this milestone is, economic action plan 2014 even went one step further by creating the Canada apprentice loan to help registered apprentices with the costs of their training. It will do so by expanding the Canada student loans program to provide apprentices registered in the Red Seal trades with access to over $100 million in interest-free loans each year. To further support apprentices, economic action plan 2014 takes steps to increase awareness of the existing financial supports available to apprentices through the employment insurance program while they are in technical training.
It also announced that our Conservative government would improve the youth employment strategy to align it with the evolving realities of the job market, and to ensure federal investments in youth employment would provide our young Canadians with real-life work experience in high-demand fields such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the skilled trades. There is an evolutionary change that we have taken to match skills to jobs to ensure our young people have a sustainable future.
Although Canada boasts high levels of post-secondary achievement, the transition, as we all know, to the first job in particular can be very challenging. That is why, through our economic action plan, our government dedicated over $40 million toward supporting up to 3,000 internships across the country in these high-demand fields. Lasting between six and twelve months, these internships will give participants the opportunity to gain real-life work experience and skills necessary to succeed in the workplace now and in the future.
All these measures stand in stark contrast to the Liberals' over $6-billion tax grab on Canadian businesses: money from the economy, money from employers, money from businesses and organizations, money they desperately need to compete with. This would lead to a massive increase in payroll taxes, EI premiums of nearly 50¢ and kill thousands of jobs. If we look at just one part of the Liberals' plan alone, the 45-day work week, its cost alone would be over $4 billion. It is abundantly clear that we do not need that measure and certainly not the one the Liberals propose, and continue to propose today.
We will remain focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, economic growth and ensuring that Canada's economic advantage we have today will translate into the long-term prosperity of tomorrow. Our recent small-business job credit shows a commitment to Canadian employees and employers. They should not take our word for it; we are always standing up for small business. Again, they should take it from a source that we know has and will continue to support our government's actions in this regard, the CFIB, which stated, “Small businesses in Canada should be thrilled with this announcement because they are told time and time again that payroll taxes like EI are the biggest disincentive to hiring. So any relief that the government can provide will encourage them to be hiring more Canadians”.
Therefore, I urge all members to not support this job-killing motion from the Liberal Party, and remember that it is this government that has the best interests of small businesses and every Canadian who is looking, and will continue to look, for a job, albeit in the short term. We are providing a future of hope for all those people who do, can and get the job they need.