Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today. Before I begin, I would like express support for those of my constituents who are experiencing extreme flooding and for the people of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, who are facing major challenges.
Today, I am honoured to have the opportunity to talk about our government's plan to invest in the middle class and create an economy that works for everyone.
The purpose of Bill C-97 is to implement key measures in the 2019 budget. Canadians can see that they made the right choice. Canada's economy is now among the most dynamic in the G7. Canadians have created over 900,000 jobs, and middle-class families are better off. The economy is stronger; more good, well-paid, middle-class jobs are available; and people working hard to join the middle class are getting more help. People of all ages can be proud to live and work in our economy.
As we all know, Canadian seniors have contributed a great deal to their communities throughout their lives. They have a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills that they can continue to share.
Budget 2019 recognizes the contribution that seniors have made, and we are showing our support for them by investing in their well-being. Unlike the previous government, which wanted to raise the age of retirement, our government made a commitment to help seniors. Budget 2019 helps seniors get actively involved in society, including taking paid work if they wish, and will help them transition to retirement when they decide to leave the workforce.
Furthermore, we want to make low-income seniors more financially secure if they decide to remain in the workforce. Our government understands that many seniors choose to remain in the workforce after retirement. Some do so to maintain social ties to their communities, while others like earning extra income to spend on their children or grandchildren. Some simply love what they do and want to continue doing it, which is good for our society. No matter the reason, we all benefit from their skills.
Sadly, some seniors are penalized for choosing to stay at work. The government reduces their guaranteed income supplement benefits or allowance for every dollar earned over the annual GIS earnings exemption of $3,500.
Self-employment income is not eligible for the exemption under existing law. That means they lose their hard-earned income. The bill we are debating today would fix that problem. It would allow seniors to keep more of their GIS benefits or allowance and more of what they earn by enhancing the GIS earnings exemption beginning with the July 2020-21 benefit year.
This measure would extend eligibility for the earnings exemption to self-employment income. It would increase the amount of the annual exemption from $3,500 to $5,000. This measure includes a partial exemption of 50%, to apply on up to $10,000 of annual employment and self-employment income beyond the $5,000 threshold. That means eligible seniors could get a full or partial exemption on up to $15,000 of income. In Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, this measure will change seniors' lives. Seniors who want to continue working will be able to keep more money in their pockets.
We also want to empower seniors in their communities. Our government recognizes that not all seniors can or want to remain in the workforce. We know that those who retire often face isolation in their retirement years, a situation sometimes made worse by ageism, poor health, reduced mobility, poverty and even abuse. Fortunately, we can help improve matters.
My colleagues are surely aware of the new horizons for seniors program. It seeks to eliminate barriers to inclusion and mobilize seniors within their communities with initiatives ranging from new equipment for seniors centres to financial literacy classes and volunteer opportunities, to name just a few.
I have some examples from the riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, from Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand and Rosemère. The Heritage Social Club received $25,000 to renovate its roof. Four Corners received $23,000 to convert their facilities. There is also the Centre d'action bénévole, the Cœurs joyeux club in Saint-Eustache, the Centre d'entraide Racine-Lavoie, and the Maison des citoyens in Deux-Montagnes. There are many examples of organizations like these that are changing the lives of our seniors.
Budget 2019 proposes significant additional funding of $100 million over five years and $20 million every year thereafter for the new horizons for seniors program. This additional funding will ensure that the program can continue to improve seniors' quality of life and better promote the participation and inclusion of older Canadians in their community and their workplace.
One more thing we are doing for seniors is making sure that those who are entitled to Canada pension plan benefits receive them. Isolation can have real consequences for seniors, including financial ones. Isolation or a lack of support are among the reasons why some seniors are late in applying for their pension or do not apply at all. They miss out on receiving their CPP benefits.
The CPP is a key pillar of Canada's retirement system. It provides retired Canadians with a secure, predictable income and peace of mind. Canadian workers currently need to apply to receive their CPP benefits. To help Canadian workers receive the full value of the CPP pension to which they contributed, the 2019 budget implementation bill would proactively enrol CPP contributors who are 70 or older in 2020 who are entitled to their pension. If they have not yet applied, they will receive their benefits. We will make sure that all seniors receive the CPP benefits they are entitled to.
We want to protect Canadians' pension plans. Budget 2019 goes even further so that those who contributed to a pension plan actually receive their benefits. Measures set out in this budget will ensure that the employer's defined benefit plan offers a stable and secure income and the dignified retirement Canadians expect after a lifetime of hard work.
In recent years, we have seen how the security of some private pension plans is put at risk when an employer goes bankrupt. In order to give Canadians greater peace of mind about their retirement, the budget implementation bill proposes new measures to enhance the security of workplace pension plans in the event that the company goes bankrupt.
The measures proposed in Budget 2019 will make insolvency proceedings fairer, more transparent and more accessible for pensioners and workers. They will set higher expectations for, and better oversight of, the behaviour of federally incorporated firms. They will strengthen pension security and the viability of federally regulated pensions.
In summary, for our seniors, the 2019 budget proposals build on our government's strong record of ensuring retirement security for Canadians so that they can enjoy the dignified retirement they deserve after a lifetime of hard work. These proposals are also an important part of our government's plan to create an economy that works for everyone, including seniors.
There is one more very important thing in budget 2019. Our government is introducing the Canada training benefit, a new tool that will help working Canadians find the time and money to upgrade their skills and progress in their careers.
The benefit will enable working Canadians to take four weeks of training every four years and will provide up to $1,000 to help pay for training. The income support will help them cover loss of income. They will have the security of knowing they have a job to come back to when their training is done.
The bill before us proposes the first phase, the Canada training credit. For people who are currently in school, budget 2019 is also investing in 84,000 new work placements per year to help young people acquire new skills and build their resumés.
In closing, Canada's labour market and economy are evolving. With budget 2019 and Bill C-97, we are helping students and workers of all ages prepare for good jobs now and in the future.