Mr. Speaker, nearly four years ago, our government was elected with a commitment to invest in the things that matter most to Canadians, including housing affordability for young people; creating good, well-paying jobs; support for seniors and families; and protecting the environment. In March, our government tabled budget 2019, which would make important investments to deliver on this commitment to improve the quality of life for all Canadians and to continue to build on the work we have done over the last four years.
I am pleased to speak today to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
I have heard concerns from many of my constituents in Oakville North—Burlington, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, about affordability and the accessibility of the housing market to first-time homebuyers. To help make home ownership more affordable for first-time buyers, budget 2019 proposes to introduce a first-time homebuyer incentive, which would create a fund of $1.25 billion that would be available to eligible first-time homebuyers with household incomes of under $120,000 per year. Budget 2019 would also provide first-time homebuyers with greater access to their RRSP savings to buy a home by increasing the withdrawal limit to $35,000.
Our government understands that the job market is changing rapidly. Many Canadians now need to develop new skills mid-career in order to pivot to a new career path. That is why budget 2019 proposes to invest more than $1.7 billion over five years in Canada's first-ever Canada training benefit. The new benefit would include two key components: introducing a credit to help Canadians with the cost of training fees, and creating an EI training support benefit that would provide workers with the flexibility to train when it worked best for them.
We would also lower the interest rate on all Canada student loans, changing the current federal student financial assistance regime so that student loans would not accumulate any interest during the six-month grace period after a student left school.
Recently I had the opportunity to visit Niagara College, in Welland, to talk to faculty and staff about these measures, and they thanked me for our government's work to support students, including our initiatives in budget 2018 to support young people who choose skilled trades.
In early March, the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare released its interim report. Budget 2019 affirms the government's commitment to work towards the three recommendations made by the council: the creation of a Canada drug agency, which would make prescription drugs more affordable for more Canadians; the development of a comprehensive, evidence-based list of prescribed drugs to harmonize coverage across Canada; and an investment in data on prescription drugs. Budget 2019 would provide Health Canada with $35 million over four years to support the development of this vision. In a measure being applauded by health care advocates, the budget would also invest up to $1 billion over two years to help Canadians with rare diseases access the drugs they need.
In 1980, Terry Fox united this country with a vision to one day find a cure for cancer. When Terry had to stop his Marathon of Hope, he said, “I’m not going to give up. But I might not make it...if I don’t, the Marathon of Hope better continue”.
Budget 2019 would help to realize Terry's dream by allocating $150 million towards the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network. The federal government would collaborate with the Terry Fox Research Institute and its partners, which are providing matching funding, to link universities and hospitals across Canada to advance the principles of precision medicine and to transform how cancer research is done not only in Canada but around the world.
This particular investment is one that is close to my heart, and I want to thank Dr. Victor Ling, from the Terry Fox Research Institute; the Terry Fox Foundation chair, Bill Pristanski; and Terry Foxers across Canada for their advocacy and efforts to educate members of Parliament on this important investment.
Our seniors have shaped our country in countless ways, and after a lifetime of hard work, they deserve to have confidence in their retirement. Budget 2019 proposes new measures to better protect workplace pensions in the event that an employer goes bankrupt.
We are also allocating an additional $100 million over five years for the new horizons for seniors program. I know what an impact this program has for seniors in my riding at places like Tansley United Church and Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre, as it helps fund programming that promotes seniors' participation and inclusion in their communities.
I am proud to represent a community where so many of my constituents, in addition to their advocacy on environmental issues, make environmentally conscious choices in their day-to-day lives, such as reducing their use of plastics or driving zero-emission vehicles.
We know that more Canadians are choosing to drive zero-emission vehicles as an increasing number of models become available and prices decline. Regrettably, last year the Government of Ontario cancelled the electric and hydrogen vehicle incentive program, and a number of my constituents reached out to me to share their disappointment and frustration.
Fortunately, our government is taking action and has proposed strategic investments to help more Canadians choose zero-emission vehicles, including $300 million over three years to introduce a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles with a retail price of less than $45,000.
As of April l, it is no longer free to pollute anywhere in Canada. Our government recognizes that we need to act now to ensure that our children and grandchildren have clean air to breathe, that Canada has a strong and healthy economy, that we make Canadians' health and safety our number one priority.
Pricing pollution is the least costly way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster clean innovation. We will return all the revenue from a price on pollution to the provinces those revenues come from, with 90% going directly to families through a climate action incentive. In 2019, the average family of four in Ontario will receive $307 through the climate action incentive, while a single individual will receive $154.
The other 10% of revenues from the price on pollution will go towards helping small and medium-sized businesses, schools, hospitals, indigenous peoples, and communities improve their energy efficiency.
We are also making a one-time payment to municipalities through a municipal infrastructure top-up that will see Halton Region receive $16 million; Oakville, $5.9 million; and Burlington, $5.3 million. This money will go directly to support local infrastructure projects, such as public transit, disaster mitigation and adaptation projects, community centres and active transportation infrastructure.
As a former municipal councillor, I know that these funds will be a game-changer for our communities.
We are creating Canada's first national dementia strategy, with an investment of $50 million over five years. We are creating a pan-Canadian database for organ donation and transportation. We are investing in a pan-Canadian suicide prevention service, working with experienced and dedicated partners.
Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of Canadian identity and something that all Canadians can be proud of. At the same time, recent tragic events in Canada and abroad have shown that no community is immune to the effects of hateful rhetoric. Around the world, ultra-nationalist movements have emerged, and in Canada those groups are unfairly targeting new Canadians, racialized individuals and religious minorities, threatening the peace, security and civility of the communities we call home. That is why this year's federal budget proposes to provide $45 million over three years to support the creation of a new anti-racism strategy. Its key purpose will be to find ways to counter racism in its various forms, with a strong focus on community-based projects.
The threat of climate change has become more tangible for Canadians as we see more severe, more frequent and more costly natural disasters, such as wildfires and flooding. One need look no further than the flooding in my community of Burlington a few years ago and the current flooding taking place here in Ottawa and Quebec and New Brunswick to know the devastation these natural disasters bring.
While Conservatives are making short-sighted decisions like the one in Ontario to cut funding by 50% to conservation authorities for flood forecasting and natural hazards management, we are investing $151 million over five years and $9 million per year ongoing to improve emergency management in Canada. These investments will enhance our understanding of the nature of risks posed by floods, wildfires and earthquakes. They will also help in assessing the condition and resilience of Canada's critical infrastructure.
There are many more investments in budget 2019, but I do not have time to outline them all. I am proud of the investments we are making to improve the lives of Canadians, and I know that all Canadians can be proud of them as well.