The federal budget includes new funds to improve housing affordability.

Budget 2017: Ottawa’s housing strategy offers $1 billion a year

Justin Trudeau government's budget spends on skills development, runs up bigger deficits

The Justin Trudeau government’s new national housing plan promises about $1 billion a year for the next decade to help bring housing costs into reach for more Canadians.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s second budget, revealed Wednesday, promises a “renewed partnership” with provinces, and an additional $11.2 billion over 11 years to increase housing affordability.

That is on top of last year’s budget commitment to fund “low-cost loans and new financing tools to encourage municipalities, housing developers and non-profit housing providers to develop more affordable rental housing units.”

A centrepiece of Morneau’s budget is skills development, to help people adapt to a rapidly changing economy, focused on agri-food, digital industries, “advanced manufacturing,” clean technology and bio-sciences.

Employment Insurance premiums are going up five cents next year, while parental leave can be extended to 18 months, at a lower rate of one third of average weekly earnings.

Operating deficits continue to soar in the federal government’s plan, projected to go from $23 billion in the current fiscal year to $28 billion in 2017-18. The budget forecasts the government would still be in the red $19 billion by 2021-22. Trudeau campaigned in 2015 on a promise to run deficits no larger than $10 billion a year and balance the operating budget by 2019.

Aaron Wudrick of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation said weaker projected revenues combined with new spending will see the debt pile up to the point where interest costs alone will be $143 billion over the next five years.

Wudrick praised some measures, including a promised spending review for government departments, a commitment to expand free trade between provinces and an effort to crack down on tax evasion.

Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose said the government’s vaunted tax cut for the middle class last year has been eaten away by tax and fee increases. “It’s like they’re nickel and diming everyone,” Ambrose said.

Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart, the federal NDP’s B.C. caucus chair, pointed to cuts of more than $1 billion for Canada’s climate change framework over two years.

“After promising real change, Justin Trudeau adopted Stephen Harper’s environmental assessment process and climate change targets,” Stewart said. “This budget shows British Columbians the Liberal government is more of the same.”

 

Just Posted

Hospital improvements good news for entire region, says Trail mayor

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board will review the matter next month

Life insurance can be a business expense

Tax Tips & Pits with Ron Clarke, Trail Times columnist

BC senior curling championship slides into Trail

The Trail Curling Association hosts 16 men’s and women’s teams in the senior provincial championship

Snoopy shows up in snowy Silver City

What You See: If you have a recent photo to share email (large size please) to editor@trailtimes.ca

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Super snow moon set to rise across B.C.

It is the biggest and brightest moon of the year

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

Social media influencers promote Kootenays

MountainGirls, The Lady Alliance founders stop in Fernie and Golden on RV tour

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

Most Read