Mr. Speaker, the important point here is that when we invested in Canadian families through the Canada child benefit, we saw right away that they in turn invested in their families. They paid off debt, sent the kids to summer camp, bought healthier food and maybe even a few more children's books. Right away, we saw a spike in consumer confidence and a rise in household spending that continues to underpin our strong economic success today. It is no wonder that the International Monetary Fund's Christine Lagarde says she hopes Canada's economic policies will go viral.
Now, with a little more wind in our sails, we are doubling down on the plan that has worked.
We are reinvesting in the middle class.
Our government will strengthen the Canada child benefit by making sure it keeps pace with the cost of living. Starting next July, two years ahead of schedule, tax-free Canada child benefit amounts for families with two children will go up by approximately $200. It does not stop there. The next year, those families will see about $500 more.
For those Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class, many of whom are living alone, we will offer even more help, with an increase in the working income tax benefit. This increase will give an important boost to over one and a half million low-income workers so they can keep more of their pay as they work long hours, sometimes in more than one job, to advance their careers, advance their situations and, in some cases, the situations of their families.
We know that for young single workers just getting a foothold, shouldering the rising cost of living alone can sometimes be a crushing responsibility. Living alone is now the most common type of household in Canada according to the latest census. Here I would add, thanks to the latest census, it is always good to have information on which to make decisions.
For someone living alone, this could mean not having to make the choice between buying groceries and paying the rent. For a single mom, a stronger Canada child benefit and a more generous working income tax benefit means more peace of mind when the bills come due at the end of the month.
Finally, we are investing directly in Canada's small businesses by lowering the small business rate from 11% in 2015 to 9% by January 2019.
I greatly appreciate the frank discussions I have had with Canadian entrepreneurs over the past few weeks.
If the last few months have taught me anything, it is the strength and resilience of entrepreneurs and small business owners across our country. It has been humbling and inspiring to meet with so many passionate business owners from coast to coast over the past few weeks.
I called a woman in St. John's who was concerned about her situation, after she told her premier about it. He told me, and I called her the very next day.
Our caucus heard from a town hall in Kelowna, including personal stories from young women physicians who needed added flexibility.
Just last week I went to Erinsville, Ontario, where I met with John, Lori, and their son Angus to learn about their family farm. Angus wants to take over the farm someday. He will be the seventh generation of his family to have that honour. We are committed to making sure that Angus and other people like Angus across our country can take over their family farm.
I met Brittany and Rebecca in a café in Hampton, New Brunswick, and the Rampulla family in their family restaurant in Markham, where I committed to coming back for food sometime soon.
These are the people who drive me to do better and, I can say, drive all of our caucus to do better, to try to make sure we get things right. I can say to them that I heard them. We heard them. We made a point of ensuring that we got the system right.
We held a consultation to fix a system that is not working the way it was intended. That, we know, is critically important.
Before we could lower taxes for small businesses, I had to be sure this investment would be going to help the Cerrelli family in Montreal design and build their dream kitchen, rather than giving tax advantages to the wealthiest.
As the Prime Minister said last week:
Canada is a country where we celebrate our collective contributions rather than protect the interests of a privileged few.
It is in that spirit that we are moving forward to fix a system that currently allows someone making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to pay a lower tax rate than someone making far less, just because they are incorporated and have children over the age of 18.
For incorporated professionals and business owners, we will preserve the flexibility to save up for a rainy day, for parental leave, or for retirement, while not allowing individuals to have unlimited tax-advantaged savings accounts over and above what is available to everyone else. That is where we got it right.
As I said, we will work with farmers, fishers, and business owners to make sure they can pass down the family business to the next generation.
Our approach is to give all Canadians a real chance at success.
In everything we do, our government knows that, when Canadians are given a real and fair chance at success, they will make the most of it.
That is how we grow an economy, sustainably. That is how we manage finances, responsibly. As we continue with our plan, we will continue to do what is hard. We will continue to do what is right. Our ultimate goal is nothing short of an economy that rewards the very people who contribute to its success.
As we look to budget 2018, we will continue our work to build on the gains we have made over the last two years, always with the middle class and those working hard to join it as our key focus. We will make sure Canadians have the skills, the training, and the learning opportunities they need to compete and to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy.
We will drive forward our innovation and skills plan, making big bets on the most competitive sectors of our economy, making Canada a world leader in sectors like agrifood, clean tech, and digital.
We will continue investments in our transit, in our roads, and in clean water, to keep our cities moving and to keep our children safe.
As always, we will invest in Canadians and give them the tools, skills, and resources to create jobs and to grow our economy.
In just two years, we have done a lot together, but we know that there is much more to do. Working together, we will make sure Canadians have every opportunity to succeed and to build their future and a country of which we can all be proud.