Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure today to rise in the House to speak at third reading stage of Bill C-59, economic action plan 2015 act, No. 1.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate the Minister of Finance, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, on his first budget, a very comprehensive budget, one that I am very proud to be a member of a team and a government to support in the House. I wish him well for many more balanced and successful budgets in the future.
This bill would legislate key elements of economic action plan 2015, which include measures to support jobs and growth, help communities prosper and ensure the security of Canadians. The bill also includes the measures that were contained in Bill C-57, the support for families act, and Bill C-58, the support for veterans and their families act.
However, perhaps the most significant part of the bill is that it would return Canada to a balanced budget and would enshrine in law balanced budget legislation reflecting our government's responsible fiscal management policy, which is creating jobs and putting more money back in the pockets of Canadians. A balanced budget allows the Government of Canada to cut taxes further for Canadian families, individuals and businesses.
My riding of Mississauga—Streetsville has the second highest number of families with children living at home in all of Canada. That is why our government's family tax cut and benefits plan really hits home in my community.
Our government will increase the universal child care benefit for children 6 and under to $160 per month, and extend the benefit for children aged 7 to 17 by $60 per month. This initiative puts thousands of dollars a year back into the pockets of families in my riding, and allows parents to make their choices for their children on how that money will be spent. It is important to note that the increase to the UCCB is retroactive to January 1, 2015 and that the new benefit will start to flow for families this July.
Further, our government is instituting a family income-splitting program that would allow a higher income spouse to, in effect, transfer $50,000 of taxable income to a spouse in a lower tax bracket, effective for the 2014 tax year. Some families would save as much as $2,000 a year in total family tax paid, yet another example of how we are putting more money back into the pockets of hard-working Canadian families.
Economic action plan 2015 would also increases the child care expense deduction dollar limits by $1,000, effective for the 2015 tax year. The maximum amounts that can be claimed will increase to $8,000 from $7,000 for children under age 7, to $5,000 from $4,000 for children aged 7 to 16, and up to $11,000 from $10,000 for children who are eligible for the disability tax credit.
Millions of Canadians have taken advantage of the very popular tax-free savings account. TFSAs are an excellent way for Canadians to save tax free and have that money available in the future for their personal needs. Many Canadians have maxed out at the old $5,500 a year limit, and many would contribute more if allowed. I am very pleased to report that economic action plan 2015 would raise the maximum contribution limit to $10,000, effective in 2015 and subsequent years.
Bill C-59 would also reduce the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds to permit seniors to preserve more of their retirement savings to better support their retirement income needs.
The bill would also create the home accessibility tax credit to assist seniors and disabled Canadians offset renovation costs to make their homes safer and more accessible so they could live independently and remain in their homes.
Mississauga—Streetsville is home to many seniors who tell me they want to age gracefully in place, remain in their cherished home as long as possible and be able to make modifications to improve their living conditions. The home accessibility tax credit is welcome news in my community.
Branch 139 of the Royal Canadian Legion is located in the village of Streetsville. I am a member and I visit the legion regularly to support its initiatives. I have met with veterans there and I was honoured to present World War II “V” pins to dozens of these brave Canadians. That is why I am pleased economic action plan 2015 would ensure that veterans and their families receive the support they need by providing a new retirement income security benefit to moderately and severely disabled veterans. It would expand access to the permanent impairment allowance for disabled veterans and would create a new tax-free family caregiver relief benefit to recognize the very important role of caregivers.
This government values and supports the brave women and men who have served in our Canadian Forces and we will ensure that our veterans get the full support they need and deserve.
During pre-budget consultations and meetings, I had the opportunity to meet with groups like ALS Society of Canada, the MS Society of Canada and others about the compassionate care benefit provided under the employment insurance system.
Bill C-59 would extend compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks of coverage to six months to better support Canadians caring for gravely ill and dying family members. This change would benefit thousands of families across Canada when they need the financial and emotional support the most.
The bill would also implement very important measures for supporting jobs and growth. Our government would reduce the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019, lowering taxes for job-creating small businesses and their owners by $2.7 billion between now and 2019-20. This is very good news for members of the Streetsville Business Improvement Association and other companies operating in Mississauga—Streetsville. Predictable lower taxes each and every year is an important signal to the small business community.
Recently, I have had the opportunity to announce several investments in Mississauga, through the Federal Economic Development Corporation of Southern Ontario. These strategic investments assist leading edge companies grow and expand, create new high-wage jobs, and contribute to research and innovation.
Economic action plan 2015 would see the budget deficit reduced from $55.6 billion during the height of the recession and now with a $1.4 billion projected surplus. All Canadians should be thanked and should be proud for their hard work and their support of this government as we return Canada to balanced budgets.
I ask all members of the House to carefully read Bill C-59 and the important initiatives contained within it, and to rise to support the bill so we can continue to ensure Canada is strong, proud and free.