Madam Speaker, I want to start by acknowledging that I am speaking to you virtually in the House of Commons from my home in Toronto, which is on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, the Anishinabe and most recently the Mississaugas of the Credit.
I want to acknowledge that I am speaking about budget 2021, which is a historic budget, tabled in a historic manner by Canada's first-ever female finance minister.
What a budget it is. It canvasses a wide number of areas. I propose to go through some of them, but not all of them, because there are so many supports literally contained therein.
I am going to pick up on the environment, which is the subject that my colleague from Nova Scotia just left off on. We know, as a government and as a party, that climate change is real. We have taken serious measures to act on climate change during the course of our tenure as government over these past almost six years now.
So far we have invested nearly $60 billion, which has been added to with this current budget. What the budget allows us to do is get to a path whereby GHG emissions would be reduced by as much as 36% based on the 2005 levels. I outline this number right at the outset because we heard a lot of criticism, sometimes very constructive criticism, by opposition parliamentarians and others that we need to set targets that are more ambitious, particularly more ambitious than the Harper Conservative government we succeeded. We have done that by setting targets of around 32% this past December, and we are now setting a path to get to 36% in reductions and get to net-zero by 2050, which is really critical.
We are doing that by increasing the dollars we are putting in. There is $15 billion of new money that was allocated at the end of December 2020. In the most recent budget, there is an additional $17.6 billion dedicated toward the green recovery. In particular, I want to highlight one other feature, which is the net-zero accelerator. What that does is allow companies to invest in how they can reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions. We put $3 billion into that accelerator in last December's announcement made by the minister and the Prime Minister, and we are adding another $5 billion in this announcement.
On top of all that, there is also money put in place to help us achieve our land and marine conservation targets of 25% of areas by 2025.
That is simply on the environmental piece.
The budget also outlines, again reaffirming our commitment to continue to escalate the price on carbon pollution, the climate action incentive rebate, which will continue to go to Canadians, not just on an annual basis, but on a quarterly basis, which is really important to underscore, given that the official opposition's bright idea on climate is to eliminate such rebates.
The next subject is housing. I start with these two subjects because I represent the constituents of Parkdale—High Park, and they talk to me all the time about progressive policies on issues that affect them and this part of Toronto. Climate and housing are at the top of the agenda in almost all conversations I have with my constituents. I am pleased to say that not only is this budget responding to the concerns of my constituents that I have advocated for with the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister with respect to the environment, but also housing concerns.
How is the budget doing that? We are planning to invest an additional $2.5 billion in housing. What does that $2.5 billion look like? It is an additional $1.5 billion for the rapid housing initiative. This has landed with resounding success around the country, particularly in the city of Toronto, because it allows us to build housing and build it quickly so we actually meet the very short supply of affordable housing in cities like mine. Because of the resounding success of the rapid housing initiative over the last several months, we have decided we are going to commit to expanding it by $1.5 billion, which would allow us to have 4,500 new units, 25% of which will be dedicated for women, which is an important piece. There is also $600 million dedicated toward an affordable housing innovation fund, which will bring the total new units to over 30,000. An additional $300 million will be dedicated to the Canada housing benefit to increase things like direct financial assistance to women and children who are fleeing violence.
These are all critical initiatives, not just for my constituents in Parkdale—High Park, but indeed for all people in Canada, and they should be priorities for all parliamentarians.
There is $1.3 billion that is being reallocated to speed up the construction, support and repair of units. There is money that is being put in place to ensure that vacant properties will be taxed when they are owned by non-resident non-Canadians. I insert this here because it relates to housing, but also because in the course of following today's debate, I have heard repeatedly that there do not seem to be enough initiatives targeted at those who are living luxuriously, those who are very affluent or rich. This, in fact, is targeting exactly those individuals, and I highlight it for that reason.
There is another key component that we have seen COVID has exacerbated. Many of us are working from home right now, and that trend will continue even as we exit out of this pandemic. That has liberated office space in cities like mine, Toronto. What we propose in the budget is to support the conversion of some of that empty office space into affordable housing, and that is exactly what we will do with this budget.
The next subject I want to touch upon is really the flagship policy that is in this budget, and we heard the Minister of Finance articulate this quite clearly. She talked about the fact that child care has arisen as an issue that has climbed to the forefront. I say this painfully aware of my gender and of the fact that it is men like me who have all of a sudden been sensitized to this priority during this pandemic. I am a man who has his kids at home as we speak right now. They are about 15 feet away from me going through online schooling, etc. Men like me have been challenged over these past 15 months, and that is a good thing because it has raised awareness about the importance of giving some momentum to the call for child care.
Yes, this is a 50-year-old call. We heard the Minister of Finance articulate that, but what she also articulated very clearly is that this is not just a women's policy; this is an economic policy. It is an infrastructure policy that is indifferent to building roads or transit. By empowering child care, what we will do is unleash economic potential. That potential is something in the order of 250,000 women, most likely women because women still bear the predominant burden of child care, who will be liberated and emancipated so that they can participate more fully in the economy. That is an incredible statistic, joined by another incredible statistic, which is the $30-billion investment we are putting on the table to ensure that this becomes a reality.
There are naysayers who say Liberals have committed to this in the past and it has not come to fruition. Never before has this kind of dollar amount been allocated. I would remind my fellow members of Parliament that Liberals came close to getting this across the finish line under Paul Martin and Ken Dryden's tenure, circa 2005. That was a minority Parliament that saw a universal child care plan actually defeated, unfortunately, which led us to nine years of Stephen Harper's Conservatives. I am very hopeful that we do not see a repeat of that kind of history, and instead, in this minority Parliament, we can see this important goal get across the finish line.
What would it mean? It would mean a 50% reduction in child care costs as early as the end of next year, and getting child care costs to literally $10 a day by 2025.
In these last two minutes, I want to canvass some of the proposals that deal with systemic racism and systemic discrimination, a subject near and dear to my heart as a person of colour and somebody who believes in human rights and equality. The budget would be transformative for Black entrepreneurs, for Black business owners, for indigenous persons who want a firmer commitment to reconciliation and curing overrepresentation. What the budget would do is make real those commitments, which have come to the fore in what we have seen during this pandemic.
I will highlight a few additional initiatives. There is more money in the budget, around $26 million, for immigration and refugee legal aid that affects people of colour. There is $21 million for a specific racialized communities legal support fund that will get public legal education into the hands of racialized people. There is diversity in procurement, which we have never seen outlined in a budget before. I want to give a shout-out to the member for Whitby for all the work he has done on this file, and the Minister of Public Services and Procurement for getting behind this idea where we will actually target procurement measures that help indigenous and Black businesses, which is critical. There is money for disaggregated data, so we understand the true nature of the problem, and there is $74 million for an indigenous justice strategy.
I cannot get to all of the measures that I wanted to highlight, but there are a lot of supports for a lot of different needy sectors of the economy: low-wage workers, small businesses, people who work in arts and culture, many of whom are my constituents. These are programs that I believe in. They will cost money, but the time is now to invest in Canadians and invest in building back better. To the question of whether we can afford this, I say very firmly that we cannot afford not to do this.