Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand and speak on Bill C-29, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2016, and other measures.
I am delighted to stand in this House and discuss a budget that provides much-needed help for the middle class and builds upon a strong economy. As we all know, when middle-class Canadians have more money to save, invest, and grow the economy, everyone in this country will benefit.
A strengthened middle class means that hard-working Canadians can look forward to a good standard of living and better prospects for their kids. When we have an economy that works for the middle class, we have a country that works for everyone.
We must do for our kids and grandkids what our parents and grandparents did for us. For example, we are giving Canadian families more help with the high cost of raising children. Our government has introduced a new Canada child benefit that is simpler, tax free, and more generous. The Canada child benefit will replace existing federal child benefits. With the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families will receive higher monthly benefits, and hundreds of thousands of children will be lifted out of poverty.
In my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, families will receive, over a two-year investment, some $112 million under the the new CCB. This new investment will enable families and single parents to better provide for the day-to-day needs of their children.
After a decade of being abandoned by the former federal government and the administrative neglect of a provincial Conservative government, I am pleased to now work on behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to deliver huge benefits for our province.
For example, we were able to assist Newfoundland and Labrador with a $31-million stabilization fund, $68.2 million for small craft harbours, almost $110 million to Memorial University, and an additional $2.9-billion loan guarantee for Muskrat Falls. This does not include over $235 million for municipal infrastructure projects, and a further $78 million of Parks Canada investment in Newfoundland and Labrador.
With the new co-operative approach between the federal and provincial government, we are delivering more solid investments to our province. In addition, we are also looking after those working Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and all working Canadians, to better prepare them now for a much more secure retirement in the future.
As such, I am delighted that as a government we are proposing strategic and innovative changes to the Canada pension plan. Some of the things we are doing that will provide a more secure and stable retirement for hard-working Canadians include: increasing the amount of retirement pension, and also, very important to me, increasing survivor and disability pensions, and the post-retirement benefit, subject to the amount of additional contributions made and the number of years over which those contributions are made; increasing the maximum level of pensionable earnings by 14% as of 2025; providing for the making of additional contributions beginning in 2019; providing for the creation of the additional Canada pension plan account, and the accounting of funds in relation to it; including the additional contributions and increasing benefits in the financial review provisions of the act; and authorizing the Governor in Council to make regulations in relation to those provisions.
I am very proud to be working on behalf of my constituents, in the great riding of Avalon and to be part of a government that believes every Canadian deserves a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work. In addition, I am pleased to speak from a very personal perspective regarding the current benefits of the Canada pension plan.
In early 2000, I lost my wife after a lengthy and courageous battle with cancer. At the age of 40 years, I accepted the responsibility of raising my young son to ensure his well-being and provide for an education that would help secure his future. After sitting here and listening to some of the hon. members opposite, it perturbs me that they use information that distorts the unfounded negativities of the real and true benefits of the Canada pension plan.
We have heard members opposite negligently throw out numbers and facts and state that 20% of Canadians do not benefit from their investments in the Canada pension plan because there is no one left to receive the survivor benefit. I do not believe this represents the true facts, and I do not think it is useful to this debate.
Furthermore, members opposite have stated that individuals are investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the Canada pension plan and receiving a mere $2,500 payout. Once again, these statements by members are unfortunate and do nothing to provide an informative and factual debate in the House. The Canada pension plan and retirement is important to so many Canadians and we need to make strategic decisions that will provide enhanced future benefits.
From my personal experience, while the benefit is not large, as my wife died at the young age of 37, I have been receiving survivor benefits since my wife's passing in 2000. In addition, my son was receiving a monthly contribution from Canada pension during his high school and post-secondary education. Unlike what members opposite would want us to believe, the benefit was certainly a financial help to my son and me.
We all know that today middle-class Canadians are working harder than ever, but many are worried that they will not have put enough money away for their retirement. Each year fewer and fewer Canadians have workplace pensions to fall back on. As a responsible government with a commitment to strengthen and grow the middle class, we made a commitment to Canadians to strengthen the CPP in order to help them achieve their goal for a strong, secure, and stable retirement. Now we are making meaningful changes to the CPP that will allow Canadians to retire with more money in their pockets.
Every Canadian deserves a secure and dignified retirement after a lifetime of hard work and we have taken a powerful step to make that happen. When our finance minister and his provincial counterparts first started to discuss the future of pensions, it was a real opportunity for them to seize on a renewed spirit of collaboration and to get things done. The deal would boost how much each Canadian will get from their pension from one-quarter of their earnings now to fully one-third. Simply put, there will be more money waiting for Canadians when they retire. To make sure these changes are affordable, we will phase them in slowly over seven years from 2019 to 2025, so that the impact is small and gradual. The revisions are designed to help Canadians in every step of their lives, our grandparents, parents, and children.
Retired Canadians deserve to enjoy their freedom. No retired Canadian should have to worry about selling their home or getting a part-time job. The increases to CPP contribution rates are being gradually phased in starting in 2019. This is the responsible thing to do to make sure business and workers have time to adjust to the additional contributions associated with the enhanced program. The Government of Canada will enhance the working income tax benefit to offset the incremental CPP contributions of eligible low-income workers and provide tax deductibility for the enhanced portion of employee CPP contributions.
As stated earlier, the government has already taken action to support families by introducing the Canada child benefit to help families with the high cost of raising their kids. We cut taxes for the middle class, and now we have expanded the retirement benefits through a strengthened CPP. We have also helped our seniors by increasing the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit by up to $947 annually for the most vulnerable single seniors. We know this will improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada. We also restored the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits to age 65.
As I conclude my remarks on Bill C-29, I believe it is more important than ever that we be responsible to the needs of our constituents, that we do what we can to continue growing the middle class, enhance family benefits, and secure an enhanced retirement program for working Canadians.