Madam Speaker, I would like to say good afternoon to my hon. and esteemed colleagues. Through you, I wish all of my colleagues a productive and healthy week. I hope their families are all doing well.
It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak to Bill C-47, the budget implementation act, which contains many measures that will continue to strengthen and grow the middle class, and yes, help those working hard to join it.
It is a bill that contains many measures that were brought forward in budget 2023, and it is great to be able to speak to them. Bill C-47 is about putting Canadians and their families first and building an economy that works for all Canadians, all while ensuring a sustainable and strong fiscal path that will allow us to meet the challenges of today and, just as important, the unknowns of tomorrow.
One thing that is abundantly clear is that Canada and Canadians are ready to meet the challenges of the world we live in today head-on and with our heads up. Our talented and entrepreneurial citizenry; abundance of natural resources; trade agreements, including CUSMA, CETA and CPTPP; and our strong fiscal position put us in a favourable moment relative to our global peers in a seminal moment in the world's economic and political history.
Bill C-47 contains a number of measures that I know will assist the most vulnerable Canadians and provide the assistance they need with the elevated everyday expenses we all face. In a challenging time period, we will always have the backs of Canadians when the cost of living is high.
In Bill C-47, we see the grocery rebate. It will begin arriving shortly to literally millions of Canadians, those who need it most and are impacted most by the elevated costs of everyday essentials. Eleven million Canadians and their families will receive these payments, with up to $467 for eligible couples with two children, for example, and up to an extra $234 for single Canadians without children and an extra $225 for seniors, on average. These funds can be used to pay for groceries or everyday essentials. Again, we have the backs of Canadians. This is a prudent and fiscally sensible measure, and at the current juncture, it is the right thing to do.
Bill C-47 contains an important change to the Canada workers benefit. I will use the term “automatic advance”, which will see automatic advance payments of the benefit to people who qualified for it in the previous year, starting July 2023 for the 2023 taxation year. This $4-billion investment over the next five years will ensure that advanced payments based on income reported in the prior year's tax return and any additional entitlements for the year would be provided when filing one's tax return for the year.
This measure would provide, for example, a split among three advance payments, with up to $714 for single workers and $1,231 for a family. The CWB assists literally millions of low-income Canadians on an annual basis. It is one of the most powerful policy instruments, lifting families and individuals out of poverty; this is the third enhancement to the Canada workers benefit that our government has put into place since we came into power in 2015. It is very important fiscal policy; it is a very important taxation instrument, which assists low-income Canadians who are working. It encourages them to increase their hours of availability, increase their incomes and, because they are working so hard, move toward joining the middle class.
On dental care, one thing all parliamentarians quickly realize is that dental care is a precious item and that seniors especially need assistance with the cost of dental care. I have a wonderful relationship with the seniors in my riding. In a few weeks, I will start attending many barbecues and outings with the seniors in my community. I know, for instance, that most seniors do not have dental insurance. When they go to the dentist, the bill they get can set them back for the entire month. We know that seniors are generally on fixed incomes, and the vulnerable ones are particularly susceptible to one-off expenses, such as an expensive trip to the dentist.
Many people going into retirement do not have insurance coverage, and we know that we need to change that. Seniors should not need to worry about going to the dentist versus paying their energy bills and buying food. They will not need to worry about that starting this year.
Bill C-47 contains the enabling legislation that, once fully implemented, would provide dental coverage for up to nine million Canadians by 2025. This year, our government plans to start coverage for uninsured Canadians under 18, persons with disabilities and seniors who have annual family incomes of less than $90,000. Notably, there would be no copays for those with annual family incomes under $70,000. This measure of dental care for seniors is a game-changer for Canadians and their families, as well as for the over 20,000 seniors who reside in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, the many more thousands of seniors who reside in the city of Vaughan and, of course, the many millions who reside across Canada.
We all know that small businesses are the backbone of our communities. There are over 13,000 small and medium-sized businesses in the city of Vaughan. I am, and will always be, their biggest champion. The city of Vaughan is the largest economic engine in York Region, sharing over 40% of the GDP and employing hundreds of thousands of workers.
We must, as a government, cut the red tape that small businesses face and reduce their costs. We are doing that, as we have secured commitments from both Visa and Mastercard to lower fees for small businesses; we are also protecting reward points for millions of Canadian consumers. More than 90% of credit card-accepting businesses will see their interchange fees reduced by up to 27% from the existing average rate. These reductions are anticipated to save eligible small businesses in Canada approximately $1 billion over the next five years. For example, a small business charging using credit cards with interchange fees, say, on $300,000 could potentially save over $1,000 up to almost $1,500. That is real money back in their pockets.
To continue to grow the Canadian economy, we will introduce a suite of new investment tax credits designed to attract and accelerate investments in clean electricity, clean technology manufacturing, and clean hydrogen and nuclear, as well as to ensure that foreign direct investment comes to Canada and that domestic companies are investing in Canada and Canadian workers. Fundamentally, as I have said before in the House, I believe that when we look back in a few years to the decisions that parliamentarians make today, we will find that we were at a critical juncture in the ongoing transition in the world economy. We need to make sure that we make the right choices today to continue to grow our economy, raise the standard of living for all Canadians and ensure that all Canadians, including my kids, have a bright future. That is exactly what we are doing.
We know that, at some point in their lives, young Canadians and newcomers will turn their attention to purchasing a first home. A home is not just an investment. It is where people create memories of their families, their loved ones and their friends. A home is where people create futures. A measure that I have talked about within my community is opening a tax-free first home savings account, which could be done as of April 1; I encourage all individuals who are eligible to do so. This account takes the best features of the TFSA and RRSP and combines them into one, as I will now explain.
First, the contributions made into the tax-free home savings account are tax deductible, so you lower taxex payable today. Second, the contributions in the first home savings account grow tax-free, which is wonderful. Even more importantly, much like a TFSA, when going to purchase a first home, the contributions are removed on a tax-free basis. In the years to come, this will be a powerful tool and a powerful account for many Canadians when purchasing their first home, condo, townhouse or detached dwelling in the GTA or across the country. A maximum of $40,000 can be put into this account, with a maximum yearly contribution of $8,000. This is a powerful instrument to help Canadians purchase their first home.
In my remaining time, I want to add a few comments about where I think Canada is and where it is going. Fundamentally, as parliamentarians, we have a duty to represent the interests of our constituents and advocate for them. I like to say I am a strong local voice in Ottawa for the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge. We have to make choices, which is what governing is about. At this moment in time, we are making the right choices for our economy and for Canadians. We are making the right choices to grow and strengthen our middle class and help those working hard to join the middle class.
I will leave everyone with this last thought: I was at the Council of Europe last week, leading the Canadian delegation with a number of MPs and senators. In speaking to the Ukrainian delegation, which we met with several times, I asked what home was going to look like when they got back there. I will finish up—