Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Parkdale—High Park.
I am pleased to have a moment to reference some of the good things in this budget.
I am proud of budget 2018, entitled “Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class”.
This budget takes a people-centred approach. By making substantial investments and real progress for the middle class, our government is demonstrating its commitment to all Canadians, especially those in need, in most of our communities here in Canada. My riding of Humber River—Black Creek is no different.
The government's plan to strengthen the middle class and grow the economy is clearly working. Since November 2015, our economy has created nearly 600,000 jobs, most of which are full-time jobs, not part-time jobs. The unemployment rate, thank goodness, is near historic lows, and that is something we can all be grateful for, because it means that many people in Canada who wanted to work are working.
Canada has the fastest growing economy among the G7 countries, and Canadians are feeling far more optimistic about their future and their children's future. That is what I am hearing from my constituents every single day.
The introduction of initiatives like the Canada workers benefit puts more money in the pockets of low-income workers.
Members have heard me talk about my riding and the challenges I have. I represent a lot of fine people who are new immigrants to Canada and are struggling to finish their education, get their children into a good spot, and find a decent job and some decent housing. They struggle with that every day.
Low-income workers can no longer live paycheque to paycheque. We are trying to help correct that. The Canada workers benefit will raise approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty by 2020. Encouraging more Canadians to join the workforce is of the utmost importance, especially in Humber River—Black Creek.
I cannot tell the House how many people have come to me looking for employment opportunities over the many years I have been here. I really disagree with the idea some people have that people do not want to work. All people want to work, if they are physically able and mentally well. It gives them a feeling of satisfaction to know that they are trying to build their own families and communities. Job creation is really important for so many reasons.
There is even more good news, other than the 70,000 Canadians who will be out of poverty by 2020.
For example, a single mom of two children aged five and eight with a net income of $35,000, and I have many in my riding, is receiving $11,125 in tax-free Canada child care benefit payments in 2017-18. That is like a million dollars to many of the single moms in Humber River—Black Creek. That is an enormous amount of money for them to be able to make a difference in their lives and the lives of their children. That is $3,535 more than she would ever have received under the previous benefit system. The child care benefit is making a significant difference in the lives of mothers and families in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek.
During a recent visit to the Yorkdale mall, I was stopped by a new mother, who thanked me for the support she was getting from our government. She told me about the difference it was going to make at the end of the month in her ability to pay for the rental housing, put food on the table, and maybe just allow her children to be more involved in some of the sports activities that they want to do. It meant that she was able to pay for things like better food, the sports programs that I mentioned, music lessons, and school supplies for her children.
There is nothing better than hearing directly from my constituents about how the work we are doing here in the House is making life easier for them. It is stories like this that allow me the opportunity to be so confident that our government is making the right decisions through budget 2018.
Overall across the country, single mothers are receiving roughly $1.8 billion more in benefits under the Canada child benefit. That is a lot of money going into the pockets of thousands of families across Canada. That is an incredible investment. Most families in Humber River—Black Creek are benefiting from the Canada child benefit. They receive about $6,800 in child care benefits annually. Last fall, the government proposed to make the Canada child benefit even stronger so that it keeps pace with the rising cost of living. As of July this year, two years ahead of schedule, the government will have it tied to the cost of living.
As of late, we have heard a lot about the Canada summer jobs program. I would like to focus on the positives that are assisting the youth in my riding who are being hired for the first time through many organizations, businesses, and non-profits throughout the riding. For many people, this is their first job and without this first experience, I am afraid some of these young people would end up going in the wrong direction and end up on the streets, getting involved in criminal activity, and so on. The Canada summer jobs program is doubled from what it previously was, and it is employing thousands of young people in their first jobs. At the end of the summer, when I often try to meet many of them, they tell me that it completely changed their ideas of what work was going to be like, that having that paycheque at the end of each week really made them feel good, and that they want to make sure they go back to school and improve their education.
Through budget 2018, students would benefit from more job placements for youth through the Canada summer jobs program, and women would have better financial support to access apprenticeships that are male-dominated and better paid, doing red seal trades like plumbing, welding, and gas fitting. There are lots of women who want to do these jobs, but they have to be encouraged and we have to remove the barriers that have prevented women from doing that.
We have made investments specifically in Ontario to create 100,000 new child care spaces, as we work with our province by transferring funds between governments and working in co-operation with our provincial government. That is how we create those opportunities when we know that there is a big need for this. This is a positive, not a negative. The youth of today are our future, and it is vital that we support them now.
There are still problems that have to be solved. For example, despite significant efforts by the government and many others, the number of opioid-related deaths unfortunately continues to rise. Through budget 2018, the government would make further investments to address this crisis, which has had a significant effect on many communities, including my own. Key measures include providing one-time emergency funding for provinces and territories to improve access to treatment services, a very important opportunity to give people a helping hand; launching a public education campaign to address the stigma that creates barriers for those seeking treatment; and equipping border agents with detection and identification tools to intercept fentanyl and other substances at ports of entry.
In addition, we as a government are also taking steps to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and to keep profits out of the hands of criminals. The government is working with the provinces and territories on a coordinated approach to taxing cannabis, keeping taxes low, and driving out the illicit market.
As I said, there are many good things in this budget. It is part of our plan of building Canada, making Canada stronger, and ensuring that the middle class has the support that is required to make Canada strong.