Bill C-38, the Jobs, Growth, and Long-term Prosperity Act
May 29, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to provide a brief overview of the various components of Bill C-38, as well as to alleviate concerns about the comprehensive nature of the legislation.
The bill, which implements Economic Action Plan 2012, is now with the Finance Committee and a subcommittee for detailed study by those two bodies.
As you are aware, concerns have been raised that Bill C-38 has too wide of a scope to be properly discussed through the regular legislative process. As a result, our government has responded by establishing the Subcommittee of the Standing Committee on Finance on Bill C-38 (SC38) to allow for a more thorough examination of Part 3 of Bill C-38, focusing on responsible resource development. I am confident that the study of Bill C-38 by SC38, as well as the traditional study of the bill by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, of which I am chair, will result in the piece of legislation being studied in depth.
Bill C-38 builds on our government’s strong record regarding taking action to support the economy now and over the long-term, while keeping taxes low and returning to balanced budgets. The following key policies will be enacted as a result of Bill C-38:
Improving Conditions for Business Investment
- Making the review process for major economic projects more timely and transparent while protecting the environment, and helping realize the objective of “one project, one review” in a clearly defined time period.
- Increasing travellers’ exemptions to modernize existing rules and facilitate border processes for Canadians bringing goods home from abroad.
- Enhancing the governance and oversight framework for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to ensure its commercial activities are managed in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system, contributing to the stability of the housing market and benefitting all Canadians.
- Moving forward with a legislative framework for covered bonds to support financial stability by helping lenders find new sources of funding.
Investing in Training, Infrastructure and Opportunity
- Making Employment Insurance (EI) a more efficient program that is focused on job creation and opportunities by removing disincentives to work and supporting unemployed Canadians.
- Ensuring stable, predictable EI premium rates by limiting premium rate increases to 5 cents each year until the EI Operating Account is in balance, and then moving to a seven-year break-even rate.
- Helping build a fast and flexible economic immigration system to meet Canada’s labour market needs by reducing the backlog in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, returning applications and refunding fees to those who applied prior to February 27, 2008.
Supporting Families and Communities
- Expanding health-related tax relief under the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) and income tax systems to better meet the health care needs of Canadians.
- Helping Canadians with severe disabilities and their families by improving the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
- Requiring federally regulated private sector employers to insure, on a go-forward basis, any long-term disability plans they offer to their employees.
- Ensuring that charities devote their resources primarily to charitable, rather than political, activities, and enhancing public transparency and accountability in this area.
Ensuring Sustainable Social Programs and a Secure Retirement
- Legislating the Government’s commitment to sustainable and predictable transfers to provinces and territories in support of health care, education and other programs and services.
- Gradually increasing from 65 to 67 the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) starting in April 2023, and also allowing for the voluntary deferral of the basic OAS for up to five years starting on July 1, 2013, resulting in an actuarially adjusted higher OAS.
- Putting in place a proactive enrolment regime for OAS and the GIS.
Responsible Management to Return to Balanced Budgets
- Modernizing Canada’s currency by gradually eliminating the penny from Canada’s coinage system.
- The Government is committed to reducing unnecessary spending by focusing on providing programs that are consistent with federal roles and responsibilities, ensuring programs are delivered by those best positioned to do so, and refocusing program funding based on achievable objectives and the needs of Canadians.
The Government is not reducing transfers to persons, including those for seniors, children and the unemployed, or transfers to other levels of government in support of health care and social services.
The results of the Government’s review of departmental spending will yield savings of $5.2 billion on an ongoing basis. The planned reduction in spending represents less than 2.0 per cent of federal program spending in 2016–17, or 0.2 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in that same year.
For more information on the measures introduced in Bill C-38, I welcome you to visit the Parliament of Canada website.
Additionally, to view further information on Budget 2012: Canada’s Economic Action Plan, I welcome you to visit the Budget 2012 website.