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A budget in the name of younger generations

Illustration: Sébastien Thibault Ottawa has decided to direct its announcements towards millennials and members of generation Z, with the stated objective of “restoring generational equity”.

The April 16 federal budget promises to be less thrilling than the previous ones, with Justin Trudeau's Liberals having already stripped away the major pieces of their pre-budget tour in recent weeks.

Assistance for tenants, daycare spaces, investments in the mental health of young people: the government is visibly directing its announcements towards millennials and members of generation Z, with the stated objective of “restoring generational equity”. Overview.

15 million to protect tenants

The first day of the major pre-budget tour of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, set the tone for the rest of the announcements. To help young Canadians become homeowners, Ottawa will launch a new $15 million tenant protection fund.

The fund will be allocated to provincial legal aid organizations to protect tenants from unfair rent increases or “renovations”.

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This text is published via our Perspectives section.

“Finding affordable housing to rent is too difficult, especially for young Canadians. That’s why in Budget 2024 we are taking action to protect renters, make the rental market fairer and provide new ways for renters to become homeowners,” Trudeau said during the announcement in Vancouver at the end of March.

Ottawa will also implement a Canadian Tenant's Bill of Rights which will require landlords to report “a clear history” of the rent paid for their accommodations so that tenants can negotiate with full knowledge of the facts.

Banks will also have to ensure that tenants' credit scores take into account their rental history.

From this first announcement, the government of Quebec firmly opposed the intentions of the Trudeau government, denouncing a “new invasion of Quebec's areas of jurisdiction”.

A billion dollars in loans for daycares

After the tenants, it was the turn of young middle-class families. The government will invest more than $1 billion in low-cost loans, grants and student loan forgiveness to expand child care services across the country.

The money will be loaned directly to public and non-profit child care providers through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The funding will be used to expand their spaces or build new centers.

Ottawa will also offer student loan forgiveness to early childhood educators in rural and remote areas.

$10 million over two years will provide additional training for educators.

“You grew up with so much pressure in this economy: the 2008 recession, COVID, climate change. We want everyone, especially mothers raising children, to have the best chance to succeed and thrive,” the Prime Minister said.

Funding for more affordable child care spaces is an expansion of the government's $10 per day child care program agreed with the provinces and territories.

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500 million for youth mental health

Another envelope in the budget will go specifically to youth: the federal government will allocate $500 million to community health organizations that provide mental health care to young people.

“Many Canadians are currently facing stress and anxiety due to war, geopolitical unrest, climate change and financial hardship,” said Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Ya'ara Saks. last week.

This fund will notably reduce waiting times and provide more care options across the country, says the government. The fund also aims to better equip community organizations to direct young people to other mental health services.

During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberals promised a similar fund for post-secondary institutions to help with student mental health. The government has chosen to fund community organizations in order to adopt a broader approach, given that not all young people attend post-secondary campuses.

A billion for meals in schools

Two and a half years after promising it, the Liberals will finally implement the new national school food program in the budget. The investment of a billion dollars over five years was promised during the 2021 campaign.

The program will provide meals to 400,000 children per year nationwide. Ottawa plans to spend $1 billion over the next five years on the national food program.

The Quebec government was quick to demand that Ottawa provide unconditional funding for its share of the new program.

“Education being a field of exclusive jurisdiction in Quebec, it goes without saying that we ask to receive these sums without any conditions,” declared the Quebec minister responsible for Canadian Relations, Jean-François Roberge .

This amount will, however, help the provinces expand the school food programs already in place, replied Prime Minister Trudeau.

“We will continue to work with the provinces. This billion that we are announcing today, we are going to sit down with the provinces and see how to distribute it,” he assured.

Access to food programs must begin in the 2024-2025 school year. The New Democratic Party (NDP) pushed the Liberal government to make this promise a reality before the federal budget.

Return of 30-year mortgages for first-time buyers

Second, to enable more young people in the country to acquire their first home, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that, in her 2024 budget, the government will authorize a 30-year mortgage amortization period for purchasing a first home. This measure will come into effect on August 1, 2024. The extension of this five-year amortization period for first-time home buyers will allow more young people to afford a monthly mortgage payment and will boost the supply of of housing. Currently, if the down payment is less than 20% of the price of the home, the longest amortization allowed is 25 years.

The extension of this five-year amortization period for first-time property buyers will therefore allow a greater number of young people to pay a monthly mortgage payment and will stimulate the supply of housing, says the government.

Ottawa will also increase the contribution limit to the Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) from $35,000 to $60,000 for people saving for the purchase of their first property. This new limit would allow Canadians to save up to $25,000 more for their down payment.

Budget 2024 will announce that people who have withdrawn or will withdraw an amount from their HBP between January 1, 2022 and December 31, 2025 will be entitled to an extended three-year repayment grace period. These people will now have up to five years before beginning the repayment process.

6 billion in housing-related infrastructure

“We are taking major measures to ensure that house and condo prices become decent again by increasing the supply of housing quickly,” explained Justin Trudeau alongside federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser during the pre-budget tour in Halifax.

Still aiming to tackle the housing crisis, Ottawa will invest 6 billion to accelerate the construction of homes.

Of this envelope, 5 billion will be intended for the provinces, provided that they accept certain conditions, such as that of implementing the measures of the Charter of Buyers' Rights and the Charter of Tenants' Rights , or to make changes to the National Building Code.

If the provinces do not sign an agreement by the deadline of January 1, 2025, the funds allocated to it “will be transferred to the municipal component,” warns Ottawa. The territories will have three additional months.

The remaining billion will be made available to municipalities to meet urgent infrastructure needs, such as water supply, wastewater treatment or stormwater drainage.

A new envelope of 400 million will also accelerate the construction of around 12,000 new housing units over the next three years.

$8.1 billion to defend itself

Ottawa will invest $8.1 billion over the next five years — and $73 billion over the next 20 years — to strengthen its national defense in an increasingly uncertain geopolitical context.

The government recently unveiled its new national defense strategy ahead of the budget. Canada plans to spend 1.76% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on military spending by 2029-2030. Canada's current spending is 1.33% of GDP.

“We know there will be more [challenges] in the years to come for Canada to continue to step up its efforts in a more uncertain and, frankly, more dangerous world,” said Prime Minister Trudeau at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.

These investments represent “a major step forward in efforts to dedicate 2% of the country’s GDP,” the proportion that each NATO member country has agreed to spend on defense in 2014.

The new policy provides $9.5 billion over 20 years to begin ramping up production of artillery munitions, $307 million for early warning aircraft, and $2.7 billion to purchase long-range missiles. range.

The purchase of more modern tactical helicopters is also planned, at a cost of $18.4 billion over 20 years.

Another envelope of $295 million over 20 years will be invested to build new housing and renovate housing for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

2.4 billion for artificial intelligence

Ottawa will invest $2.4 billion to strengthen its artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. The majority of the envelope — $2 billion — will be paid into a fund to develop technical infrastructure. With these amounts, the government hopes to attract a greater number of foreign investments to Canada.

An envelope of 200 million will be used in particular to enable the adoption of these technologies in sectors such as agriculture, health and manufacturing. Another $100 million is reserved for small and medium-sized businesses to increase their productivity with new AI solutions.

“We want to help businesses adopt AI in a way that will have positive impacts for everyone,” the Prime Minister said during the pre-budget announcement in Montreal.

The government also plans to launch a $50 million AI Security Institute to protect against what it calls “advanced or harmful AI systems.”

AI has the potential to transform the economy, said Mr. Trudeau. “And to maximize all of this potential, we must capitalize on the undeniable Canadian advantage. »

Another investment of 5.1 million will aim to strengthen the implementation of the Law on Artificial Intelligence and Data. Bill C-27 is the first federal law specifically targeting artificial intelligence.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116