Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act, no. 2. The bill would implement certain provisions of our government's second budget, budget 2017, that was tabled in the House on March 22.
Following in the footsteps of budget 2016, budget 2017 offers immediate help to those who need it the most and helps ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance of success.
In the 2015 campaign, when we knocked on doors we listened to Canadians, how they were struggling to find jobs and pay for their families, or working extremely hard to make ends meet. We listened to them and we invested in Canadians, in our communities, and in our country.
That is why the first thing we did as a government was to lower taxes for the middle class and raised them for the wealthiest 1%.
We introduced the Canada child benefit that helped nine out of 10 families and lifted over 300,000 children out of poverty.
These investments made by our government in our people, in our communities, and in our economy are now bearing fruit.
We have been able to add nearly 500,000 new jobs in our economy in the last two years. Just this past October, 89,000 full-time jobs were created. The steady rate of job growth has led to the unemployment rate dropping to 6.3%, the lowest level in over a decade.
Additionally, due to the historic investments made by our government, youth unemployment is also at the lowest level in decades. In Brampton West, I had the privilege this summer to visit many local organizations taking part in the Canada summer jobs program. This program helps provide essential experience for youth all across Canada. Our government doubled the funding and doubled the number of jobs for students. In Brampton West, organizations were able to hire over 150 youth through the summer jobs program. That is real change.
Our economic policies have also made a mark on the international stage. Canada has seen the highest growth rate of all G7 countries, with our economy growing at an average rate of 3.7% over the last year. As a result of of this strong economic growth, our government is able to invest more in Canadian families and our communities.
In our fall economic statement, we announced a number of measures aimed toward ensuring that those in the middle class and those working hard to join it share in the success we achieve as a country.
We announced further action to strengthen the Canada child benefit. When it was first announced, the Canada child benefit helped provide more money to nine out of 10 families and lift 300,000 children out of poverty. This was significant for the people of Brampton West.
Starting in July 2018, the Canada child benefit will increase with the cost of living, two years ahead of schedule. In my riding of Brampton West, this means that a single parent of two making $35,000 will receive over $560 more next year tax-free for books, for skating lessons, or for warm clothes for winter for their children.
Additionally, our government announced an enhancement of the working income tax benefit. By letting low-income workers take home more money, the working income tax benefit offers real help to over 1.5 million Canadians. Our government is doing more to help those working hard to join the middle class by enhancing the WITB by an additional $500 million per year starting in 2019. These changes will encourage more Canadians to enter the workforce and further boost our economy.
Now, let us talk about our job creators. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they help create jobs in our communities and throughout the country. That is why in our fall economic statement we announced that the small business tax rate would be cut from 10.5% currently to 9% in 2019. This will provide small businesses with up to $7,500 in tax savings per year to reinvest in their businesses. For a local small business in my riding of Brampton West, such as AJ's Bar and Grill, this means more money to hire new employees and expand its services.
The steps we have taken since being elected have helped create this environment of growth and optimism. Bill C-63 looks to build on our policies and bring more prosperity for middle-class Canadians.
This budget implementation act would support the middle class and those working hard to be part of it by protecting the rights of federally regulated workers when they seek flexible work arrangements from their employers. Some of the ways we are helping Canadian families balance work and family responsibilities are by providing greater flexibility for annual vacation days and holidays, more bereavement days in the event of losing a loved one, and more unpaid leave for family responsibilities. These changes would greatly impact the young families in Brampton West who are just starting out in their lives.
Our government also recognizes that many young Canadians are undertaking internships to gain hands-on experience. While internships can help young Canadians make a successful transition into the workforce, some internships, in particular those that are unpaid, can be unfair. The budget implementation act proposes to eliminate unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors where the internships are not part of a formal educational program. These changes would also ensure that unpaid interns who are part of an educational program are entitled to labour standard protections, such as maximum hours of work, weekly days of rest, and general holidays.
It is a well-known fact that our government is committed to strengthening the middle class by promoting strong, inclusive economic growth in Canada and around the world. Investments in high-quality infrastructure contribute to long-term growth and a better quality of life for people at home and abroad.
As part of Canada's commitment to engage, collaborate, and invest with other global partners on development projects in Asia, Canada's decision to apply for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was announced in August 2016. Canada's investment in the bank will be included as part of Bill C-63. This would help sustain growth in Asia and represents an opportunity for Canada to further engage in multilateral infrastructure efforts that support inclusive economic growth at home and abroad. By doing this, we would contribute to global economic growth, and help Canadian companies to explore new commercial opportunities.
The steps taken in budget 2017 and Bill C-63 address the very real issues facing Canadians every single day. Our government plans to strengthen the middle class and ensure that Canadians have the support, resources, and confidence they need to succeed, create jobs, and grow our economy.
I am proud to be part of a government that is committed to improving the lives of so many people across our country. I am proud to support this piece of legislation, and I encourage all members to do the same.