Madam Speaker, first of all, I thank my opposition colleague for his kind words.
I am very proud and blessed to represent the fantastic people of Cambridge, North Dumfries, and North Brant.
I would like to take a moment to thank all the speakers here today and all those who spoke in the first hour of this debate.
Today it is my pleasure to rise and speak to my private member's bill, an act to amend the Income Tax Act, to provide a non-refundable tax credit for those who take first aid courses.
From the very beginning, I have said that it is key to starting a national conversation in this country about emergency preparedness. I have tried to prepare a PMB to go beyond partisan goals and achieve something that will work for all Canadians. I am proud to say that I have received support from all sides. People in this House and across the country realize that we must work to develop our human infrastructure.
The financial benefit of the bill would include faster recovery times, lower health care expenditures, and more lives saved.
More than half of adult Canadians live in a household in which no members have up-to-date first aid or CPR training. According to Ipsos Reid, only 18% of those who have ever taken first aid courses are current. In fact, one-third of Canadians have never taken a first aid course. Those statistics are shocking.
There is a solution, which is fiscally responsible, immediate, and well-targeted, and that is Bill C-240.
Bill C-240 is a bill that is moderate in scope, low in cost, and potentially massive in outcome. The bill is designed to provide a modest change, innovate within a sector, and improve lives in a measured and specific way. The bill has the potential to make a lasting impact on the lives of Canadians without making a lasting impact on their wallets.
I hope that my attempt to create this bill, however humble, will save lives and achieve far grander benefits than might otherwise be apparent.
When people undertake first aid training, what they are ultimately doing is gaining skills and knowledge to serve their communities, but they are also developing the confidence to act in an emergency situation, when literally every second counts.
This House has the opportunity to recognize, incentivize, and facilitate, these selfless acts by reducing the costs incurred by these civic-minded individuals.
The bill proposes a non-refundable tax credit of 15% to anyone who takes an accredited first aid, CPR, or AED training course. This tax credit would come at a relatively low cost to the government but would make a difference in the affordability of lifesaving training for individual Canadians.
Approximately 1.8 million Canadians will take lifesaving training this year. At $15 per person, the bill would cost the government a maximum of $26.5 million this year. Compared with the value of lives saved and injuries healed, this is miniscule.
Of course, not all course participants would be eligible, nor would all owe taxes. The most significant fact is that over half of all of those who take this training have it paid for by their employers and therefore would not be eligible for this credit.
When these facts are considered, we can see that the cost to the government would actually be much lower, likely less than $13 million.
This House has an opportunity to safeguard the lives of Canadians and display our commitment to emergency preparedness. Training leads to confidence. Confidence leads to action in an emergency. Action leads to lives saved, people healed, and more Canadians looking after others, which is something we can all support.
I thank members for their support on this issue. I look forward to the vote on Wednesday and to speaking with all members of this House.
I want to take the last few seconds I have to recognize a group of people who often do not get recognized, and that is my staff. They have put a lot of work into this, and I would like to thank them.