Madam Speaker, as always, it is a great pleasure for me to rise in the House to talk about the work that the government is doing and the impact it is having in our ridings.
Let me share with the House the importance of the fall economic statement. It follows the budget and brings us to the fall. It will look at some of the measures that we passed lately that will help affordability for Canadians, but it will also share some key investments as we move forward, which are so essential.
Let us not forget that we went through two difficult years with COVID, and we were able to help Canadians because we were in a strong and positive position financially. We were able to help Canadians individually, as well as families and businesses. We were there and we had their backs.
Once again, we are faced with affordability challenges for Canadians, like at the pumps and at grocery stores, and we need to be there for Canadians. We need to be more focused on targeted supports for Canadians so that we can help those who are having the greatest difficulty.
Let us look at our accomplishments. When COVID hit, we lost over three million jobs overnight. Since coming out of COVID, by building back better, we recaptured millions of jobs that were lost, but we also added, as of today, 400,000 jobs to the economy, which is a direct indication of some of the successes of our government in building back better. We are in great shape this time around with the strongest economic growth in the G7. We still have a strong AAA credit rating and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, which puts us in great shape to move forward.
Let us talk about some of the things we have done in the last few months with the help of the House and the other parties. We are doubling, for six months, the GST credit for people who receive it. How many people are we helping? We are helping over 11 million families with that investment, which is really important. We are also helping seniors with an average of $225 more over the six-month period. It is a big investment to help people with low incomes with the GST credit.
The second thing we are doing is the top-up for housing for individuals who are struggling. This is a one-time, tax-free payment to make sure that it does not affect their income as we saw with some of the investments during COVID. We were able to make the adjustments beforehand to help 1.8 million Canadians, which is so important.
We also passed a very important tax-free payment for dental care. It is for families with kids under 12 years old, and that is essential. Every member of Parliament has coverage for dental care, but these individuals and these families do not. Families making $90,000 or less will be able to benefit from this investment. This will help over 500,000 children across this great country.
I will mention some of the new initiatives that are so important to Canadians and low-income individuals. Single individuals are asking what kinds of supports are available for single Canadians in the country. Our expansion of the Canada workers benefit will help over three million people with low incomes, people making minimum wage or just above minimum wage who are working extremely hard. Our government recognizes that they too need some supports.
These supports have been put in place through budget initiatives. However, this time with this investment, we are going to be able to advance the payments quarterly so that these individuals can receive these monies, rather than waiting a whole year to get the tax credit. This will be a very big change that will help many Canadians and it will take place in July 2023. It is not that far away. I have spoken to many people in my constituency about this as well.
With respect to the elimination of interest on student loans, as the House knows, I am a former teacher. I know the investment and cost to families and individuals for education, whether it be for university, community college or whatnot. Having to pay interest is one thing, but having to pay it when the interest rate is climbing very quickly makes it that much more difficult. Many of these individuals will save up to $3,000 in interest over the life of their loan. That is a big support for those individuals.
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has stated that there is big news for students right across the country. Starting on April 1, 2023, the Government of Canada has removed the interest on Canada student loans, and this investment is welcomed by past, current and future students who borrow money for their education.
Housing is also a big initiative. This government is the first government to bring forward the national housing strategy, which has various features to support Canadians in many ways with respect to housing. One of the initiatives we are bringing forward is the tax-free first home savings account, where individuals can put away up to $40,000. There is no tax going in or coming out, which is very similar to the TFSA that has helped many Canadians. Also, there is support of up to $1,500 for closing costs when one is purchasing a home.
The other initiative that is very important is the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. I have heard many families talk about having a second suite for a parent, a senior or people with disabilities. A constituent called me to ask if she would be able to renovate her garage into an apartment for her child who has some challenges, barriers and disabilities. Yes, with this investment, people can receive up to 15% of their investment. Therefore, if someone invested $50,000 to make the transformation, they would be able to receive $7,500 on their tax return. Those are big, focused and targeted areas to support Canadians.
Let us also talk about jobs, growth and the economy, which are so important. We are making investments into skills for a net-zero economy. We need to be better prepared to put forward the necessary skills to meet the needs in the labour market to achieve our transition goal. This investment into a sustainable jobs training centre is extremely important, and departments will come together to help in that area.
Jobs for youth are very important. One investment is the youth employment strategy. For people across Canada facing barriers there is Ready, Willing and Able. In Nova Scotia, this has increased participation in the workforce for people with disabilities. We have been able to establish 265 jobs, many of which are with Air Canada, Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart.
With respect to Canada summer jobs, we have seen over 70,000 jobs. Those are key for young people who not only want to attend university or community college, but also want to achieve success by learning new skills and getting out into the workforce to meet with many entrepreneurs, which will help them get various jobs in the future.
Immigration is a strategic keystone for our government. We need to bring more people into the country. We know we have a shortage of workers for over one million jobs, so we need to find ways to fill those. People forget that just over 60% of people who immigrate to Canada have the skills to meet the needs of our country. That is extremely important. We are also bringing some programs forward that will help the regional and rural communities, and we are doing extra in that area.