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Federal Budget Day – Long Road for COVID Economic Recovery, CRB Extended (VIDEO)

Ottawa (with files from CPAC/CP/KMPG) – It has been more than two years — and two throne speeches — since the Liberals delivered a federal budget, having not done so last year due to what the government said was the economic uncertainty COVID-19 had created.

In the House of Commons, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presents details of the federal government’s first full fiscal plan in more than two years. The government tabled its last budget on March 19, 2019, and it did not release a budget in 2020, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau citing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget is Freeland’s first as finance minister since she took over the portfolio from Bill Morneau.

“This budget is about finishing the fight” as Freeland began her speech.

Some of the highlights:

The extension to many of the COVID-19 support programs introduced last year to help Canadians weather the pandemic. The extensions would apply to the Canada Wage Subsidy, the Canada Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Supports until Sept. 25, 2021.

Up to 12 additional weeks for the Canada Recovery Benefit, to a maximum of 50 weeks, in addition to an additional four weeks to a maximum of 42 for the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. (CRB drops to $600 every two weeks in July)

The budget is also looking to make Employment Insurance more accessible to Canadians across the country. In addition, it is looking at making longer-term reforms to the EI program (page 89), including changes to sickness benefits to help Canadians who may need longer support to deal with illness or treatment.

Budget 2021 plans for $10 a day daycare, with ambitious goal of bringing costs down by half by end of 2022.

$15 an hour minimum wage.

$3 billion over five years to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in making sure standards are upheld in long-term care.

The Federal NDP have said they will support the Liberals on this budget and not vote for non-confidence (which could trigger an election).

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