Canada's Finance Ministers Advance Priorities for a Stronger Middle Class

June 19, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance Canada

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau today released the following statement at the close of his meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts in Ottawa:

"I would like to thank Canada's Finance Ministers for another productive and engaging meeting on issues of fundamental importance to Canadians.

"Today, we discussed our Government's plan to create jobs, strengthen the middle class and ensure that growth benefits all Canadians as the economy continues to gain momentum. As part of these discussions, Finance Ministers reviewed Budget 2017 measures that will positively impact the provinces and territories, including significant investments in housing, innovation and skills, early learning and child care, and the new Canada Infrastructure Bank.

"In an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. relationship remains among the strongest partnerships between any two nations, Finance Ministers also discussed how Canada's governments can work together to foster and advance this relationship to the benefit of both countries.

"A key item on the agenda was the need to ensure that all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes. We discussed actions we have taken to crack down on tax evasion and close loopholes, and ways to work together to develop a national strategy aimed at improving the availability of beneficial ownership information.

"We also discussed advancing a coordinated cross-country approach to the taxation of cannabis so that it is in place when recreational cannabis becomes legal no later than July 2018. We need to get it right, and we need to do it together. Our twin goals are to keep cannabis out of the hands of youth, and keep profits out of the hands of criminals. Our approach to taxation needs to support those goals. We also need to consider further investments in awareness and education programs that inform Canadians—especially youth—of the health and safety risks of cannabis consumption, as well as further investments in related health surveillance activities. I look forward to continuing the discussion in the weeks and months ahead.

"Altogether, our meetings were an important opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished together in recent years, and to draw inspiration from these successes as we look to the future. This past year alone, we have strengthened the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to increase the maximum CPP retirement benefit by about 50 per cent, and we have worked towards reaching health care agreements that will support better home care and mental health initiatives. And we have seen how, by working together and investing in Canadians, we are all stronger as a country. Today, Canada's economy is growing, with more than 316,000 jobs being created in the last 12 months, giving people more confidence in their future. I look forward to continue working with my provincial and territorial partners to build on these achievements in the years ahead."

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