Madam Chair, since coming into office, our government has been focused on the things that matter most to Canadians: growing the economy, creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, and helping everyone working hard to join it. This in turn builds confidence and success. Our most recent budget is the clearest evidence yet in support of this commitment.
This budget is good for business and good for middle-class jobs. It will ensure sustainable economic growth, set us on the path toward greater equality, and better support Canadians so they will have the confidence they need to succeed now and in the future. When people feel confident about their future and their children's future, they invest in themselves and their communities in ways that promote economic growth.
With budget 2018, we are putting more money into the pockets of those who need it most through initiatives like the new Canada workers benefit, which will take effect next year.
We are taking real, proactive steps to encourage gender equality and help more women and girls succeed so they can benefit from and contribute to a growing economy. We are unleashing the power of Canadian ingenuity by making the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history. We are advancing reconciliation with indigenous peoples for the benefit of their families, their communities, and all of Canada. We are safeguarding the natural heritage that means so much to us as Canadians. We are protecting Canadians, their companies, and our economy from cyber-threats. We are making it easier for businesses to do business with the government.
Budget 2018 is about investing in our greatest resource: our people. We are helping Canadian workers get the skills they need to get jobs in the new economy. We are helping middle-class families cover the higher costs of raising their children. We are giving people who are working hard to join the middle class more opportunities to succeed.
We are focused on these long-term challenges. At the same time, we know there is more work to do. We hear those in the business community who are concerned about Canada's competitiveness in the immediate term, especially at a time of uncertainty around the North American Free Trade Agreement, global trade, and the recent U.S. tax reform.
Our government is listening carefully to those voices. I am listening to those voices. This is an important conversation. Indeed, it is one I am looking forward to having with many of Canada's business leaders in the weeks and months to come. However, as I have also made clear, we cannot lose sight of the facts.
The facts clearly show that Canada and Canadians are competitive and that our plan is working. We see that in Amazon's decision to expand its Vancouver tech hub, which will create 3,000 good, well-paid jobs in that city.
We see it when businesses, from General Motors to ABB Group to Microsoft, choose Canada, knowing that Canadians have what it takes to compete and to succeed. In fact, Canada had the highest stock of foreign direct investment as a percentage of gross domestic product in the G7 countries in the year 2016. We see it with the pickup in business investment, which grew at about 8% over the last four quarters, the fastest rate of growth in five years. We see it in rising business creation. The Bank of Canada's latest business outlook survey shows that business intentions to invest in machinery and equipment remain solidly positive, pointing to further investment growth.
We see it in our communities, where hard-working Canadians have created over 600,000 jobs since our government took office. In the past two years, our country's growth has been the fastest in the G7. Our unemployment rate is currently at its lowest point since 1976.
This success is in part because we have invested directly to make our businesses more competitive. That includes a recent cut to the small business tax rate, with a further reduction to 9% set for next January, 2019.
However, attracting business investment and supporting economic growth is about more than just low corporate tax rates. It is about people. By investing in our people and the things that empower them, we hold the potential to make Canada a global powerhouse for business investment. Our future prosperity depends on our ability to make these investments.
We have to provide Canadians the skills that businesses need to succeed. We have to continue building more modern and more resilient infrastructure so that people can get to their destinations more easily and products can get to market more quickly and more safely. We must invest in innovation and science, making Canadian businesses and workers more productive and more competitive on the global market.
We must continue to successfully complete major trade deals that give Canadian businesses better access to global markets so that the benefits of growth are felt by more and more people here at home and around the world. We must continue to develop innovative, workable solutions to encourage greater investment, such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank and industry-led initiatives like the Canadian business growth fund. With these actions, we are building an internationally competitive environment for Canadian business, one that attracts investment, contributes to our economic growth, and creates jobs that support families and communities.
At the same time, budget 2018 maintains our steadfast commitment to a fair and inclusive society, one that all Canadians can contribute to and benefit from and one with a strong and growing economy. Economic growth must benefit all Canadians, not just the wealthy few.
We believe that our goals of a competitive economy and a fair and inclusive economy are complementary. They reinforce and strengthen one another.
Giving people the opportunity to succeed is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do for the economy. Budget 2018 takes us further than ever on the road to a more solid, more equitable, and more competitive Canada.
I would be pleased to take your questions.