Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member for Scarborough Centre.
It is an honour to rise in the House today and speak in favour of budget 2016. During the last election and through extensive pre-budget consultations, I heard personally from many people in Oakville. Oakvillians shared their concerns about jobs and job security. Many felt trapped in poor-quality jobs or had family members who were struggling in a sluggish economy.
Young families expressed concerns about the cost of day care and their struggles to make ends meet. Many seniors and young Canadians said they also were having difficulty making ends meet. The root causes were different, and different solutions will be required, but if we do not act to help, the outcome is the same: people trapped in poverty or people trapped in underemployment.
The Town of Oakville, Halton Region, and many business owners talked about failing infrastructure and problems with road congestion. Owners of small and medium-sized businesses spoke about their concerns with access to trained workforces and support for the innovation and entrepreneurship that has been a staple of the Canadian economy. They are also worried about the slow economy and the need for revitalization and stimulus.
Social agencies expressed concerns about housing, poverty, inadequate shelters from violence, and care for the elderly. Green advocates like the Halton Environmental Network and Oakvillegreen raised concerns about reliance on greenhouse gases and the need to move our economy from a carbon dependency.
Many residents of Oakville were concerned about the loss of federal investments in arts and culture, and particularly the reduction in funding to the CBC.
The reason I am so honoured to rise and speak today is my confidence that this budget will begin to address these myriad concerns and many others that I have not specifically addressed. Let me speak to some of the specific budget provisions.
For young families, budget 2016 would introduce the Canada child benefit. This would provide families with a maximum benefit of up to $6,400 per child under the age of six, and up to $5,400 per child aged six through 17. With the Canada child benefit, more than three million families would receive more benefits than before—on average, $2,300 more per year, tax free. This would lift almost 300,000 children out of poverty.
For young Canadians, budget 2016 would ensure that students graduating from college or university would not have to start paying back their student loans until they make at least $25,000 in annual income. Budget 2016 would boost grants to low- and middle-income college and university students by as much as $1,000 per year. This measure would put more money in the pockets of 360,000 students a year.
The introduction of a flat-rate student contribution to determine eligibility for Canada student grants and loans would encourage students to work and gain valuable labour market experience while studying. This measure would provide assistance of $268 million over four years. Employment opportunities for youth are also planned through an investment of an additional $165 million in 2016-17 for the youth employment strategy, and $300 million over three years for the Canada summer jobs program to create 35,000 additional youth jobs each year.
When I met with young Canadians who were progressing after post-secondary education with jobs and low debt, many had benefited from co-op placements. Co-op placements provide essential networks and in-year funding to help with educational costs. Support for new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for young Canadians is planned in the budget through an investment of $73 million over four years for the post-secondary partnership and co-op placement initiative.
To help universities and colleges develop highly skilled workers, to act as engines of discovery and support the growth of innovative firms, budget 2016 would provide up to $2 billion over three years for strategic projects to improve research and innovation infrastructure.
For seniors, the budget would increase the guaranteed income supplement benefit for single seniors up to $947 annually to help lift low-income single seniors out of poverty. This measure represents an investment of $670 million per year and would improve the financial security of about 900,000 single seniors across Canada.
The government would restore the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement benefits to 65, which would put thousands of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians as they become seniors.
Budget 2016 provides infrastructure support for the construction, repair and adaption of affordable housing for seniors through an investment of $201 million over two years to help the many seniors facing challenges in accessing affordable housing.
To improve the retirement income security for all working Canadians, the government has begun discussions with the provinces and territories to enhance the Canada pension plan, a portable, low-cost and defined benefit pension.
To grow the economy and create jobs, phase 1 of the infrastructure plan invests $11.9 billion to build roads, bridges, improve public transit, improve water and waste water facilities, and refurbish affordable housing. This will create tens of thousands of jobs and boost the economy. Specifically, the government will invest $3.4 billion over the next three years to upgrade and improve public transit; $5 billion over five years for investments in water, waste water, and green infrastructure projects; and $3.4 billion over five years for social infrastructure, including affordable housing, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure.
In addition to the new funding announced in budget 2016, the government will continue to make available approximately $3 billion each year in dedicated funding for municipal infrastructure projects through the gas tax fund and incremental goods and service tax rebates for municipalities.
To help businesses and manufacturers of all sizes, budget 2016 makes available up to $800 million over four years, starting in 2017-18, to support innovation, networks and clusters.
To support an innovative automotive sector, budget 2016 announces the extension of the automotive innovation fund through to the end of 2021. The government will also examine approaches to maximize the impact of federal support offered to the automotive sector, including assessing the terms of the fund.
To assist the transition to lower carbon transportation fuels, budget 2016 provides $62 million over two years to support the deployment of electric vehicles and alternative transportation fuels infrastructure.
Building on Canada's proud history in space and to create employment opportunities for the space industry sector, budget 2016 proposes to provide up to $379 million over eight years for the Canadian Space Agency to extend Canada's participation in the international space station to 2024.
For small and medium-sized enterprises that are receiving advice and project financing through the industrial research assistance program, budget 2016 proposes to provide the program with a further $50 million in 2016-17.
Budget 2016 invests in the Canadian cultural sector to create jobs and ensure that our unique Canadian perspective is shared with the world. Included in this allocation are $1.3 billion in support for long-standing arts and cultural organizations, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio-Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board.
Canada will also be able to showcase Canadian artists and cultural industries abroad with an investment of $35 million over two years, which will immediately help Canadian foreign missions promote Canadian culture and creativity on the world stage, particularly in the lead-up to the Canada 150 celebrations.
As I said at the outset, I am proud to rise and speak to the benefits of this budget for the people of Oakville, for Canadians and for our economy. This budget specifically addresses the concerns I have heard in my community. It puts us on a course for economic growth, expands opportunities for the middle class, and for those striving to be in the middle class.
Finally, this budget allows the government to reach out with help for those most in need in our communities.