On Monday March 19, 2007, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, presented our Government’s second Budget since forming Government in January 2006. Budget 2007 has achieved our Government’s goal of finding the right balance for Canadians and their families. I would like to use this week’s journal to highlight how Budget 2007 will benefit individuals and families in Dufferin-Caledon.
Budget 2007 introduced a new $550 million per year Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families. This Benefit will reward and strengthen incentives to work for an estimated 1.2 million people, helping them to overcome the “Welfare Wall.”
Our Government believes that we all pay too much tax. Unlike previous governments, our Government knows that Canadians need tax relief now – not five years from now, which is why we have taken action that provides over $40 billion in tax relief for Canadians over only four years. Part of this tax relief for families and individuals includes: a new $2,000 Child Tax Credit amount for every child under 18 years of age, increasing the basic spousal amount to provide up to $209 of tax relief for a supporting spouse or single taxpayer that is supporting a child or relative, increasing the share of meal expenses that long-haul truck drivers can deduct for tax purposes from 50 per cent to 80 percent, and increasing the lifetime Capital Gains Exemption for farmers, fisherman/fisherwomen, and small business owners from $500,000 to $750,000.
In addition to this tax relief, our Government has included a new Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), to help parents and others to save for the long-term financial security of persons with severe disabilities.
Budget 2007 also makes educating our children a priority. The Budget strengthens the Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP), by eliminating the $4,000 limit on annual contributions and increasing the lifetime contribution limit to $50,000 from $42,000. Canada Social Transfer payments for post-secondary education will rise to $3.2 billion in 2008-09, which translates into a 40 per cent increase. Our Government is also providing the greatest number of scholarships ever granted to our graduate students through the Canada Graduate Scholarship Program. The prestigious awards are worth $17,500 per year for Masters students and $35,000 annually for doctoral students, for up to three years. Furthermore, Budget 2007 will provide $500 million per year, starting in 2008-09, for labour market training to help people who are not eligible for Employment Insurance-related training, get the skills they need and employers want.
Our Government has also continued to support Dufferin-Caledon students through the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation. In 2006, it benefited the lives of 317 students in Dufferin-Caledon, for a total value of $850,569.
Seniors were included in Budget 2007. Through Budget 2007, our Government is expanding the New Horizons for Seniors program by $10 million per year, to combat elder abuse and fraud, and to expand capital assistance for community buildings, equipment, and furnishings. Budget 2007 increases the age limit from 69 to 71 for converting a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), to strengthen incentives for older Canadians to work and save. The Budget will also enact the Tax Fairness Plan, which delivers over $1 billion in additional tax savings for Canadians including: increasing the age credit amount by $1,000 to $5,066 and pension income splitting for seniors and pensioners.
Budget 2007 includes something for everyone, especially for individuals and families, here in Dufferin-Caledon, while achieving a balance between other important concerns. It is a budget that will make our country stronger, safer, better, and provides the necessary tools so Canadians from all walks of life can reach their full potential.
For more information on Budget 2007, please feel free to visit
www.budget.gc.ca or call 1-800-O-Canada, or contact any of my offices.