Ottawa, June 9, 2008

Archived - Providing Responsible Leadership in a Period of Global Economic Uncertainty

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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today welcomed the passage of Bill C-50 by the House of Commons. The legislation will implement key measures from Budget 2008, such as the Tax Free Savings Account, initiatives to modernize Canada's immigration system, increase funding for more front line police officers and public transit across Canada, and increase support for post-secondary students.

"In a time of economic uncertainty, our government is providing responsible leadership by focussing on our priorities, cutting taxes, and investing in people, knowledge and communities," said Minister Flaherty. "Bill C-50 is a balanced, focused, and prudent bill that will strengthen our economic fundamentals and better position Canada to compete in the highly competitive global economy."

The key measures in Bill C-50 will:

  • Allow Canadians to invest up to $5,000 a year in a new Tax-Free Savings Account starting in 2009. Investment income earned within the account, including capital gains, will not be taxed and withdrawals will be tax-free.
  • Modernize the immigration system with a $22-million investment over two years, growing to $37 million per year by 2012-13, including legislation to speed up the processing of permanent resident applications, ensuring shorter wait times and making Canada's immigration system more competitive
  • Provide $400 million to provinces and territories to recruit 2,500 new front-line police officers.
  • Invest $500 million in 2007-08 through provinces and territories for public transit infrastructure.
  • Support Canadian students with a $350-million investment in 2009-10, rising to $430 million by 2012-13, in a new consolidated Canada Student Grant Program that will reach 245,000 college and undergraduate students per year when it takes effect in the fall of 2009.
  • Commit an additional $123 million over four years starting in 2009-10 to streamline and modernize the Canada Student Loans Program including expanding online services to enable students to manage their student loan accounts online.
  • Improve the management and governance of the Employment Insurance (EI) program through the creation of the Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board, an independent Crown corporation with a legislated structure which ensures that EI premiums are dedicated exclusively to the EI program.
  • Benefit small and medium-sized businesses by improving the scientific research and experimental development tax incentive program.
  • Invest $60 million per year to ensure that low-income seniors who work can realize greater benefits from their earnings through an increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement earnings exemption.
  • Support people in need with $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada to support innovative projects to help Canadians facing mental-health and homelessness.
  • Build on Canada's knowledge and people advantage in genomics with an additional $140 million for Genome Canada.

Minister Flaherty highlighted that this year alone the federal government is injecting $21 billion of stimulus into the Canadian economy as a result of all its tax measures.

"This is an important piece of legislation that will benefit Canadians in a number of ways," said Minister Flaherty. "I encourage all Senators to take the steps necessary to ensure Bill C-50 gets a speedy passage through the Senate."

For further information, media may contact:

Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

David Gamble
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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