Our Government is focused on jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. We’re focused on these priorities because they are the priorities of Canadians. The results thus far are very encouraging. Canadians can be proud of their country’s relative performance. This is why it’s so important that we stay focused and stay on track through Economic Action Plan 2012.
In fact, following the best two-month job growth in over 30 years, in March and April 2012, the results look even more promising. The Canadian job creation record since July 2009 is nearly 760,000 net new jobs. This is more Canadians able to continue with their careers, support their families, and build for the future. However, we also recognize there are Canadians still looking for work and that in an unstable global economy, our work is far from done.
We’re taking direct action to support jobs and growth. For example, Economic Action Plan 2012 renews the Hiring Credit for Small Business. This practical measure encourages hiring by the employers at the heart of our economy and we already know that it produces results. Our Government is also investing through the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund to repair and improve existing infrastructure – creating jobs while preserving the community centres, libraries, roads, and other structures from which communities large and small benefit.
A major focus of Economic Action Plan 2012 is helping promote innovation. By supporting research and development, especially with a focus on marketable products and services, we are taking the necessary action to help bring the jobs of the future to Canada. This includes increasing funding for research and development by small- and medium-sized companies, enhancing the Industrial Research Assistance Program, and refocusing the National Research Council on research that helps businesses develop innovative products and services. In addition, by investing in higher education with measures such as expanding eligibility for Canada Student Loans and Grants, we’re helping Canadians be ready for these good new jobs.
Another factor in Canada’s economic success is our trading relationships with other countries around the world. Since 2006, our Government has signed free trade agreements with nine additional countries, opening new markets to Canadian goods. We have also enhanced relationships with other partners, for example signing an agreement with China that offers Canadian investors better protection. While at the same time, we are improving our largest and most important trading relationship, implementing an agreement on perimeter security with the United States, and keeping the border open for Canadian goods.
There are other steps we’re taking that are essential to Canada’s long-term success. Of course, our Government is keeping taxes low. We have cut taxes over 140 times since 2006, saving the average family of four over $3,100 a year. Our tax cuts also make Canada an attractive place to invest and create jobs. Furthermore, through prudent spending and creating efficiencies within government, we are keeping Canada on track to balance the budget over the medium term. This preserves the fiscal strength that allowed us to respond effectively to the global recession.
Taken together, these Economic Action Plan 2012 measures are the right steps to keep Canada on track. With low taxes, fiscal strength, and support for innovation, our Government is helping lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity. Meanwhile, measures to support hiring and to enhance important community infrastructure help increase employment today. Our Government continues to be focused on jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity.