Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Kenora.
I rise today in support of budget 2018. The budget is an affirmation of the two elements that drive a healthy economy, as well as a free and resilient democracy. Those are equality and growth.
In his 1961 address to the UN General Assembly, President Kennedy remarked, “conformity is the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.” For too long, Canada has sat complacent in the face of pay disparity between men and women. For too long, Canada has continued the trend of marginalizing our indigenous agency. Empowering these groups would not only restore equity, but also add fuel to Canada's growing economy, which our government, in budget 2018, is prepared to do.
Women represent half of Canada's population, and their full and equal participation in Canada's economy is essential for our future growth. Removing the systemic barriers to women's full economic participation would support the economy and strengthen the middle class. This must start with equal pay.
In Canada today, women earn 31% less than men do. To put it another way, the median income for women is $28,000, compared with $41,000 for men. The reasons behind the gender wage gap are deep-rooted and complex. Closing the gap will require leadership and a comprehensive approach, involving multiple tools. One of the main causes of the gender wage gap is the undervaluation of the work that has traditionally been done by women. Requiring equal pay for work of equal value is an effective way to fix this gap. To help address this issue, the government proposes to bring in a legislated proactive pay equity regime in federally regulated sectors, which would apply to over one million Canadian workers.
Furthermore, we must encourage women to pursue careers in male-dominated and often better paid red seal trades. Also, to ensure that women are increasingly able to model leadership to other aspiring female tradespeople, the government is allocating $19.9 million over five years, starting this year, to pilot an apprenticeship incentive grant for women.
We must not repeat the mistakes of the past. Canada must not grow wealthy to the exclusion of indigenous Canadians. We must advance reconciliation. Budget 2018 takes further steps to improve the quality of life of indigenous people in Canada, and it supports a new approach to recognizing and implementing indigenous rights. The government proposes to invest an additional $5 billion over five years to ensure that indigenous children and families have an equal chance to succeed in life, to build the capacity of indigenous governments, and to accelerate self-determination and self-government agreements with indigenous peoples, based on the recognition and implementation of their rights.
To address the funding pressures facing child and family service agencies, while also increasing prevention resources for communities so that children are safe and families can stay together, budget 2018 proposes to provide more than $1.4 billion in new funding over six years, starting in 2017-18, for first nations child and family services.
We must also recognize equity between generations, and the duty we have to ensure that future Canadians may enjoy the same or better environments than we do today. Canada has committed to conserving at least 17% of its land and inland waters by 2020, through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. Both protected and conserved areas would ensure healthier habitats for species at risk and improve biodiversity.
Growing the economy and protecting our environment go hand in hand. To achieve the growth of both, our government has taken action. Responding to the critical and urgent need to take action on climate change, Canada's first ministers, in consultation with indigenous peoples, adopted the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change in December 2016. To support the implementation of this historic national plan, the government has allocated $5.7 billion over 12 years, including $2 billion for the low carbon economy fund, to combat climate change.
When Canadians are at the cutting edge of technology, not just Canada but the world stands to benefit. From the invention of insulin to the Canadarm, research in fundamental science has contributed to them all. This is why the government proposes to make significant new investments to ensure that Canada's current and future scientists and researchers have the funding and support they need to do their work. Budget 2018 proposes an investment of $3.8 billion in Canada's research system to support the work of researchers and provide them with access to the state-of-the-art tools and facilities they need to do their work.
Encouraging innovation is essential to securing the fruits of the future economy, but currently the government provides supports for all types and sizes through a vast and complicated array of programming. In an effort to make the services provided more responsive to the needs of businesses, in particular small businesses, the government has accepted the recommendation by the Advisory Council on Economic Growth. We will be reviewing all innovation programs that serve the business community to support greater efficiency and business growth.
In January, our government launched Innovation Canada to provide a single point of contact for Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. Linking businesses with the right programs can mean the difference between their success and failure. The industrial research assistance program is a perfect example. IRAP has helped thousands of Canadians develop innovative technologies and successfully commercialize them in the global marketplace. To enable IRAP to support business research and development projects, the government proposes to invest $700 million over five years starting in 2018-19, and $150 million for every year ongoing. This funding will support hard-working Canadian entrepreneurs to create jobs as they grow and expand their businesses, getting them through the valley of death.
Protecting and promoting Canadian intellectual property is an essential step to promoting Canadian business. To accomplish this goal, budget 2018 proposes a new intellectual property strategy to help Canadian entrepreneurs better understand and protect intellectual property and to get better access to shared intellectual property. Budget 2018 proposes to invest $85.3 million over five years starting this year, with $10 million ongoing in support of the strategy.
Furthermore, to better enable firms to access and share intellectual property, the government proposes to provide $30 million in 2019-20 to pilot a patent collective. This collective will work with Canada's entrepreneurs to pool patents so that small and medium-sized firms have better access to the critical intellectual property they need to grow their business. This is proof that our government is listening to Parliament, as this was the third recommendation of the technology transfer report tabled by the House Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, on which I am honoured to serve.
Our plan is working. The government's efforts to support equality and growth have yielded clear results: nearly 700,000 jobs, an ever-decreasing debt-to-GDP ratio, and ending 51 long-term boil water advisories on reserve. While this is laudable progress, our work is only beginning. Albert Einstein said that we cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. Budget 2018 breaks the chain of conventional thinking to prepare Canada for success in the 21st century.