Mr. Speaker, I am grateful for this opportunity today to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.
With budget 2019, our government would continue to invest in the middle class and in communities across Canada, such as Langley City, the Township of Langley and the city of Surrey, all located within the riding I represent, Cloverdale—Langley City.
Whether it is helping Canadians buy their first home or investing in clean energy and public transit, budget 2019 focuses on the current challenges faced by everyday Canadians and would address them in meaningful ways that would give help where people needed it the most. I will be speaking on measures that would address those issues today.
Budget 2019 is our government's fourth budget and would build on the work and progress our government has in made these past four years.
Today Canada's economy is one of the fastest growing in the G7. Since 2015, Canadians have created more than 900,000 new jobs. Thanks to the middle-class tax cut and the tax-free Canada child benefit, families in the riding of Cloverdale—Langley City have more money in their pockets to help make ends meet. However, it is important to recognize that there is still more work to do, and we need to get on it now. Budget 2019 is a good next step that would help ensure that all Canadians share in this growing prosperity.
The biggest issue I hear about at doors in Cloverdale—Langley City is housing. Everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home, but today too many Canadians are being priced out of the housing market. This budget would help address this issue in several ways.
To start, budget 2019 proposes to invest $300 million to launch a new housing supply challenge. The housing supply challenge would invite municipalities and Canadians across the country to propose new ways to break down barriers that limit the creation of new housing.
We would also expand the rental construction financing initiative, helping to build more affordable rental options for Canadians so they can live near where they work or study, and we are tackling homelessness across the country through the reaching home strategy.
A new rental building project in my riding, with 100 units, had more than 2,000 people apply for those units, demonstrating the need for significantly more rental options in Cloverdale—Langley City.
Budget 2019 proposes an additional $10 billion over nine years, extending this program until 2027-28. This would help create 42,500 new rental units across Canada, with a particular focus in areas of low rental supply.
To address the difficulty young families may have buying their first home, through Bill C-97, budget 2019 proposes a new first-time homebuyer incentive. With this extra help in the shape of a shared equity mortgage through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canadians could lower their monthly mortgage payments, making home ownership more affordable. The incentive would provide funding of 5% or 10% of the home purchase price for existing or new homes respectively, with no ongoing monthly payments required. The program is expected to help approximately 100,000 Canadians buy homes they can afford.
Additionally, budget 2019 proposes to increase the home buyers' plan withdrawal limit to $35,000 from $25,000. The home buyers' plan allows first-time home buyers to withdraw from their registered retirement savings plans to purchase or build a home without having to pay tax on the withdrawal.
I am excited about what our investments in infrastructure through budget 2019 would mean for communities across the country that need funding to get local projects done. Through budget 2019, we would ensure that infrastructure funding would get to those who have shown that they are willing and able to get projects done: our local and municipal governments.
We would invest a one-time top-up of $2.2 billion, through the federal gas tax fund, to get infrastructure funding in the hands of those who would ensure that it was invested in jobs to build our communities. This funding would address short-term priorities in municipalities and first nation communities. Cloverdale—Langley City would receive an additional top-up of approximately $2,041,652.03. With 95% of this money going toward TransLink, our regional transit infrastructure, it would help deal with a much-needed expansion in support of a growing network for our growing population.
Working with provinces and territories, the government has approved more than 33,000 infrastructure projects for communities across Canada, supported by federal investments of approximately $19.9 billion. In my riding, these investments will mean better highways, cleaner parks and new community centres. In fact, just last week I welcomed the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to my region for a joint funding announcement with the provincial and municipal governments for major improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway.
The $235.5-million investment will upgrade the stretch of highway between 216th Street and 264th Street and will include new high occupancy vehicle lanes, a new underpass and a new truck parking lot. This is an important step in addressing a significant pinch point in the regional transportation network in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.
Through Bill C-97, budget 2019 proposes measures that would make life more affordable for Canadian seniors and that would empower those who want to stay active and involved in their communities. Our government would increase the GIS exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 per year to give more of our fixed-income seniors the choice to continue to work without being penalized. We would begin proactive CPP enrolment at age 70 to ensure that no seniors missed out on benefits they were entitled to.
We would increase transparency and launch an initiative to change corporate laws to increase oversight and grant the courts a greater ability to review payments made to executives in the lead-up to insolvency, protecting workplace pensions from predatory practices.
Budget 2019 proposes significant additional funding of $100 million over five years, with $20 million per year ongoing, for the new horizons for seniors program so that it can continue to improve seniors' quality of life and better promote their active participation in the community. Many organizations and seniors have benefited from the new horizons for seniors program in Cloverdale—Langley City. With these enhancements, even more seniors would benefit from additional programs.
I would also like to highlight the work we are doing to address the opioid crisis. Through budget 2018, we provided $231.4 million over five years for measures to help address the growing problem, such as one-time emergency funding of $150 million for provinces and territories for multi-year projects to improve access to evidence-based treatment services.
Budget 2019 would build on this work and proposes to provide additional funding of $30.5 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, with $1 million in ongoing funding, for targeted measures to address persistent gaps in harm reduction and treatment. This funding would support efforts to expand access to a safe supply of prescription opioids, protecting people with problematic opioid use from the risk of overdose and death. It would also support better access to opioid overdose response training and to naloxone, a life-saving medication that can stop or reverse an opioid overdose, in underserved communities.
I recently spoke with the hard-working members of the Langley City Fire Rescue Service, who battle this opioid crisis on a daily basis. They agree that continued investments in the fight to end opioid overdoses and deaths is needed.
Budget 2019 is a budget that would work for everyone. Through this budget, we would implement new programs that would help Canadians progress in their careers, address the growing price of medication and advance our plan to grow a clean economy. I would like to go over these briefly.
First, budget 2019 would introduce a new Canada training benefit, a personalized, portable training benefit to help people plan for and get the training they need. Through this measure, Canadians would get four weeks of training every four years, up to $1,000 to help pay for training, income support to help with everyday expenses and the security of knowing that they would have a job to come back to when their training was done. At a recent meeting with the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce the need for a well-trained workforce with relevant skills was discussed. The Canada training benefit would help address this need of business.
Through budget 2019, we would lay the foundation for the implementation of a national pharmacare program while we await the final report of our advisory council on its full implementation. We would do so by creating the Canadian drug agency, a national formulary, and a national strategy for high-cost drugs for rare diseases.
Finally, budget 2019 would take the next steps in our plan to grow a clean economy and make life more affordable for Canadians. These steps would include deploying new recharging and refuelling stations and working with manufacturers to secure voluntary zero-emission vehicle sales targets to ensure that vehicle supply meets increased demand.
We would also introduce a new federal purchase incentive of up to $5,000 for electric battery or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This would help make zero-emission vehicles a realistic option for more Canadians by making them up to $5,000 cheaper, by building the infrastructure to support them and by encouraging new investments in zero-emission vehicle manufacturing here in Canada. To support businesses' adoption of zero-emission vehicles, budget 2019 proposes that these vehicles be eligible for a full tax write-off in the year they are put to use.
Our government has a plan, and that plan is working. Through budget 2019, we would invest in our communities and support those who need it the most. While there is still more work that needs to be done, budget 2019 would be another step in the right direction. This is a budget that I am proud to stand behind, and I urge every member of this chamber to do exactly the same.