Madam Speaker, yes, I will be sharing my time with the great member for Outremont.
As I indicated, my constituents are struggling. I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to the communities in my riding. Many of their residents have lined up in very long lines in pop-up spots today at clinics that are quickly being put together. I want them to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is near, and that we are all working day and night to get on top of this terrible pandemic. The best vaccine, of course, is the first one that is available to anyone. All of them have been approved by Health Canada, so I want to encourage everyone to get vaccines as soon as they are available. They will help save lives.
We are in the toughest stretch of this pandemic and, as the Prime Minister said earlier this week, now is not the time to let up, not even for a second. People should continue to follow all public health recommendations even after receiving the vaccine: We should wear masks, wash hands and continue to socially distance. We are in this together and we will beat this virus together.
Now I will go on to this wonderful budget. We talk specifically about the fact that no community will be left behind when it comes to job creation and growth, we say we will have Canadians' backs and we will extend business and income support measures through to the fall. We are going to make investments that will create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back.
The budget is going to support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities for people who have lost their jobs and do not have jobs to go back to, or who are looking for new opportunities. There will be skills training in a variety of areas, and work opportunities that could change their lives forever. Included in the budget are 215,000 new opportunities for youth. We do not want our youth to struggle more than they have already during the pandemic, and we want to see that they have employment opportunities for the future. Also included are supports for businesses in our most affected sectors, such as tourism, arts and culture. Accelerating investment in, and the digital transformation of, small and medium-sized businesses is the way to go.
This budget is a plan that puts the government on track to meet its commitment of one million jobs by the end of this year. I think about how important it is for people who are struggling with mental health and depression to know that the government is there for them.
Our tourism sector was hit hard, of course. It continues to be one of the hardest-hit sectors in Canada. Through this pandemic, I have been working with local travel agencies in my riding. Lina Matturro, who is the owner of Islington Travel, is a female small business owner who was negatively impacted by the pandemic. I would talk to Lina every week, sometimes every day, to help her return Canadians from abroad at the start of the pandemic. Lina worked tirelessly. The majority of travel agencies are headed by women. I truly wanted to help Lina and all of the other people involved in the travel industry, and budget 2021 has done just that. I was pleased that they were being given help and not left out. We must thank the Minister of Transport, the member for Mississauga Centre, for his tireless work and the successful negotiations to protect the commissions of hard-working individuals in the travel industry.
Now I will move on to something that is very important, which is early learning and child care. We have talked about this for many, many years. Frankly, now it is time. It is going to happen, because this plan is going to drive economic growth for all of the women who have been hit through this pandemic. This is a plan to increase women's participation in the work force, and to offer each child in Canada the best start in life. This plan is aimed at reducing fees for parents of children in regulated child care by 50%. I can just imagine those women thinking about the possibility that one day there will be child care available for $10 a day. It is going to cost $30 billion over the next five years and will provide permanent ongoing funding. For the families in Humber River—Black Creek, this will be a huge investment and a huge help for the many single mothers I have talked to over the years.
Pre-COVID, when I would walk through the local Jane Finch Mall or visit some of our local parks, I would meet new mothers who were just starting their families. They would tell me how much they appreciated the Canada child benefit. It is my hope that these mothers, when I see them next, will tell me about the new jobs they have secured because of the child care support they are receiving from our government.
Of course we all have talked a lot about seniors over these last months and their challenges and difficulties, whether in long-term care or simply struggling with limited income.
After a lifetime of hard work, seniors certainly deserve a secure and dignified retirement, which is why the government has committed to increasing old age security benefits for seniors aged 75 and older. The government plans to implement this commitment in two steps.
Budget 2021 proposes to meet the immediate needs of this group of seniors by providing a one-time payment of $500 this coming August to OAS pensioners who will be 75 or over as of the end of June 2022. Budget 2021 then proposes to introduce legislation to increase OAS payments for pensioners by 10% on an ongoing basis beginning in July 2022.
This would increase the benefits for approximately 3.3 million seniors, providing an additional benefit of $766 to full pensioners in the first year that is indexed to inflation going forward. This would really help to give seniors more financial security later in life, especially as we know they are facing increased expenses and are at a greater risk of running out of savings.
When this pandemic is over, I will have a chance to visit local seniors' groups who will have been successfully vaccinated. They will be playing cards or bingo at their local community centres. Not only will they be excited about the chance to yell out “bingo” again, they will be overjoyed with the increased support they will be receiving through budget 2021.
One of the problems we had in long-term care in my riding occurred at Hawthorne Place, an excellent home that looks after many of the most vulnerable. It was hit extremely hard with COVID-19. The Canadian Armed Forces were deployed to this facility. The unfortunate situation in my riding was not the only reason that led me to advocate for strengthening standards for long-term care homes. It has long been an issue that has needed to be addressed. We must protect our seniors and the most vulnerable across Canada.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $3 billion over five years to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring that standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made so that what happened through COVID-19 will never repeat itself. It is imperative for us. We have a moral responsibility to ensure we keep seniors safe and improve their quality of life. This work will ensure that seniors and those in care live in safe and dignified conditions.
I want to thank my colleagues for their continued advocacy on behalf of Canadians and those living in long-term care homes, especially our Prime Minister, who heard what our difficulties were and took action to improve the lives of our seniors.
We are unfortunately still in the battle of our lives against COVID-19, but the supports included in this budget will make a difference for Canadians and help them through this. Opportunities are coming. Growth is coming. Jobs are coming. After a long, grim year, Canadians are ready to recover and rebuild.