The 2022 Federal Budget released by the government Thursday afternoon aims to make life more affordable while growing the economy.
According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland, the centrepiece of this year's budget is housing affordability.
"Over the next ten years, we will double the number of new homes we build. This must become a great national effort, and it will demand a new spirit of collaboration, provinces and territories, cities and towns, the private sector, and non-profits all working together with us to build the homes that Canadians need," said Freeland as the budget was presented in the House of Commons.
To address the housing supply issue, the budget proposes a new housing accelerator fund. The fund aims to create 100,000 net new housing units over the next five years. The budget also proposes a one-time $500 payment to first-time homebuyers who may be financially struggling to find a house.
The budget also proposes doubling the First Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit from $750 to $1,500.
To help people save for their first home, the Tax-Free Home Savings Account is being introduced. Money contributed into these accounts would be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home would be non-taxable.
This is the first budget released since the federal election in the fall. It is also the first budget after the Supply and Confidence Agreement was made between the Federal Liberals and the NDP. As part of the agreement, the NDP will support the government on confidence and budgetary matters.
A key factor in that agreement was the introduction of universal dental care. In the 2022 budget, the government has committed $5.3 billion to provide dental care for Canadians.
The coverage will start for children under 12 this year and expand to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and people living with disabilities in 2023. The program will be in full force by 2025.
Other highlights of the spending plan include a $250-million investment over four years for the pre-development of clean energy projects and $600-million over seven years to support new renewable energy and grid modernization. To enhance the training of those going into the trades, $84.2-million will be provided over four years to double the funding of the Union Training and Innovation Program, which will help 3,500 apprentices a year, mainly people of colour and from underrepresented groups.
The budget document shows a projected deficit of $113.8 billion in 2021-2022, down from the $144.5-billion estimated in the latest fiscal update.
---with files from Mark Brown