Mr. Chair, Canadians deserve to feel confident that their hard work will be rewarded with greater opportunities and a fair chance at success. A fair tax system is fundamental to instilling this confidence.
When middle-class Canadians have more money to invest, save, and grow the economy, all Canadians benefit. From day one, our government has been taking steps to strengthen and grow the middle class and offer real help to those working hard to join it.
In fact, one of our first legislative actions was to raise taxes on the wealthiest Canadians in order to cut taxes for the middle class. Nearly nine million Canadians are benefiting from this middle-class tax cut. Single individuals who benefit from the middle-class tax cut are saving an average of $330 per year, and couples an average of $540 each year.
We then moved to provide simpler, more generous, and better targeted support for those Canadian families who need it the most. That included replacing the old child benefit system with the new Canada child benefit, or CCB, in 2016. During the first benefit year, more than 3.3 million families received more $23 billion in CCB payments. As a result of the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families are better off. During the first benefit year, these families received on average almost $2,300 more in benefits tax free.
I am proud to be able to say that since its creation, the Canada child benefit has lifted roughly 300,000 children out of poverty. To ensure that the Canada child benefit continues to play a key role in helping Canadian families, the government is going to enhance it by indexing it to the cost of living starting in July. This measure is being implemented two years earlier than expected, due to the growing economy and the government's stronger fiscal position. This is a significant achievement not only for those working to build a better future for their families, but for all Canadians.
Following this success, the government went even further to deliver tax support to those who need it most. We know that low-income Canadians are sometimes working two or three jobs so they can give their children and grandchildren a better quality of life and better shot at success. Like all Canadians, they deserve to have their hard work rewarded with greater opportunities and a fair shot. That is why budget 2018 introduced the new Canada workers benefit, a new tax benefit that would allow low-income workers to take home more money while they work. The new Canada workers benefit builds on the former working income tax benefit, WITB, to give even more people greater financial benefits from work.
Compared to the working income tax benefit, the new Canada workers benefit will increase both the maximum benefits received and the income level at which the benefit is phased out completely.
This measure will offer real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class, while raising roughly 70,000 more Canadians out of poverty. A low-income worker earning $15,000 a year will receive nearly $500 more from the Canada workers benefit in 2019 than he or she would have received in 2018 from the working income tax benefit. All of the measures our government is taking amount to nearly $1 billion in extra support, to enhance the Canada workers benefit, starting in 2019 for low-income workers from coast to coast to coast.
By cutting taxes for Canada's hard-working small businesses, we are helping to create the jobs that people need, the jobs that can provide a ladder out of poverty for so many. Small businesses are a key driver of Canada's economy, accounting for 70% of all private sector jobs.
We know that low and competitive tax rates allow Canadian businesses to invest in their success and to create more good, well-paying jobs. That is why our government is supporting hard-working small business owners by reducing the small business tax rate to 10% effective January 1, 2018, and to 9% effective January 1, 2019. For the average small business, this will mean an additional $1,600 per year for entrepreneurs and innovators to create jobs and reinvest in their businesses and communities. By 2019, the average combined federal, provincial, and territorial income tax rate for small businesses will be 12.2%, the lowest in the G7 and the third lowest among OECD member countries.
These major investments demonstrate our firm commitment to creating a fair tax system that will serve as the foundation of an economy that works for everyone. For this tax system to work, everyone has to pay their fair share. Tax evasion and tax avoidance cost the government and all taxpayers dearly. By cracking down on tax evasion, and especially on people who stash money in other countries, the government will acquire the funds it needs to deliver programs that help the middle class and those working hard to join it. That is why every one of our budgets has included measures to strengthen the Canada Revenue Agency's ability to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.
In our first two budgets, we invested close to $1 billion to support the efforts of the CRA in this area. These investments are expected to deliver more than $5 billion in additional federal revenues over six years, which is a great return on this investment for Canadians. Budget 2018 announced additional funding of $90.6 million over five years to support the CRA in its continued efforts to ensure taxpayer compliance.
In budget 2018, the government proposed measures to strengthen international tax rules, including those that prevent taxpayers from avoiding Canadian income tax by shifting property income into foreign residence corporations.
We will continue to work with our international partners to combat aggressive international tax avoidance, including through the enhanced sharing of information between tax authorities.
Canada's finance ministers made a similar commitment in December 2017. They committed to working together to ensure appropriate authorities know who owns which corporations in Canada, and to better harmonize corporate ownership record requirements between their jurisdictions.
That information will help Canadian authorities take appropriate legal action against those who are using corporations to conceal criminal activity, such as international tax evasion, money laundering, and other criminal activities.
These are all tremendous achievements for Canadians. Ensuring a fair tax system in which we all pay our proper share is the foundation of a stronger middle class and a growing economy. It instills confidence in Canadians and helps to create opportunities for everyone. However, it is also a complex process, requiring ongoing engagement with a wide range of partners, both at home and abroad.
Our government has made a strong commitment to this process. We will continue to do what is necessary to assure Canadians that their hard work will be rewarded with more possibilities and equal opportunities to succeed.
I know that a lot has been accomplished by this government to support a fair tax system for Canadians. I think I have covered a lot of ground, and I could have gone well beyond my time.
I would like to talk a little more about aggressive international tax avoidance. This is typically perpetrated by transnational corporations that can move money internationally and take advantage of the sorts of shadows that exists in the space between government borders. The strategies that may be used to shift profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions are generally referred to as base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS, strategies. These strategies are often undertaken by transnational corporations to avoid paying their full and fair share of taxes owed.
As members know, Canada, along with its international partners, is part of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, also known as Multilateral Instrument or MLI. The multilateral convention is a global initiative developed as part of the joint Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, and G20 project to counter base erosion and profit shifting.
Could the minister to tell us more about how this process will help end base erosion and profit shifting and about Canada's role in this process?