Minister Morneau Charts New Direction for Canada's Middle Class

February 22, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance

With its first budget, the Government of Canada will chart a new course, and signal its intention to adopt a different approach to economic and fiscal policy. At the heart of this approach is a commitment to strengthen the middle class and create conditions for economic growth that benefit all Canadians.

In a pre-budget townhall in Ottawa, Finance Minister Bill Morneau reaffirmed his belief that when you have an economy that works for the middle class, you have a country that works for everyone.

By strengthening the middle class and growing the economy, Canadians who work hard can look forward to a good standard of living, a secure retirement, and better prospects for their children. It also helps to ensure that the government has the resources it needs to lift the vulnerable out of poverty, invest in research and innovation, and provide economic security to all Canadians.

The new government will take action to ensure that economic growth is shared equally with the middle class and those working so hard to join it. In challenging economic times, the government has an important role to play. Now—more than ever—is the time to make investments to build a stronger middle class and foster sustainable, clean growth.

The next budget, to be released on March 22, 2016, will be the first major step in enacting this new direction and plan.

In his townhall, the Minister set the stage for a longer-term growth strategy, which will be delivered by the end of the calendar year.

In support of that strategy, the Minister announced the appointment of Dominic Barton—Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company—as the Chair of the new Advisory Council on Economic Growth. The Council, which will be selected shortly, will provide advice on policy actions to help create the long-term conditions for economic growth with a focus on the middle class.

The Department of Finance has also updated projections for the 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 fiscal years, indicating that economic and fiscal developments since the November 2015 Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections have resulted in a downward adjustment to the fiscal outlook.

Submissions, comments and ideas on how best to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and help the most vulnerable will be accepted until midnight on February 23, 2016.


“The Government is moving forward with a fundamentally new approach—a new plan to transform the economy for the benefit of every Canadian. Now is the time to make investments to build a stronger middle class and foster long-term growth.

“At its core, this approach will be about middle class Canadians—our quality of life, the kind of communities in which we live and work, the standard of living we can expect to enjoy, and the kind of opportunities our children will have in the coming decades.”

- Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance

Quick Facts

  • The Government remains committed to strengthening the middle class, enhancing benefits for low- and middle-income Canadians, and making historic investments in infrastructure to help the economy grow.
  • Global economic uncertainty and low commodity prices continue to weigh on the Canadian economy. As a result, Canada’s economic and fiscal outlook has deteriorated since the November Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections.
  • With interest rates at historic lows, the Government will seize the opportunity to make targeted investments that accelerate growth in the short run, create jobs and raise Canada’s long-term growth potential.
  • The Government’s plan to achieve its objectives will be detailed in Budget 2016. The budget will be tabled in the House of Commons on March 22, 2016.

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Media Contacts

Annie Donolo
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance

Jack Aubry
Media Relations
Department of Finance

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