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The Liberal government has continued to fulfil its promises to the NDP within its second federal budget since the parties struck a confidence-and-supply agreement in March 2022.
New Democrats have agreed to prop up the minority government on key votes, including budgets, until June 2025 in exchange for movement on shared priorities.
Here are the key NDP-approved initiatives that were penned into the agreement and made it into this year’s budget:
Dental care: More than $13 billion, including an initial $107 million in 2023-24, is earmarked over the next five years to create a new Canadian dental care plan. The measure aims to provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians who have an annual family income of less than $90,000, with no co-pays for those with family incomes under $70,000. The new coverage is projected to begin by the end of the year and be administered by Health Canada.
GST rebate: The federal government expects to spend nearly $2.5 billion this year on an affordability measure dubbed the “grocery store rebate.” The one-time payment will double the GST rebate for eligible Canadians. It’s a repeat of the same measure the Liberals introduced last fall with NDP support, and it will again provide up to an extra $467 for eligible couples with two; $234 for single Canadians without children; and $225 for seniors.
Missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls: The Liberals expect to spend $2.5 million over the next five years, starting in 2023-24, to establish a federal-provincial-territorial table on “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQI+ People.” The budget describes it as providing a forum to discuss and act on initiatives such as a “Red Dress Alert” to notify the public when and Indigenous woman or two-spirit person goes missing. The measure is part of a $125 envelope of funding for other measures related to missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Anti-scab legislation: The budget says the government plans to propose changes to the Canada Labour Code this year that would prohibit replacement workers during a strike or lockout in federally regulated sectors.
Green economy: The federal government is promising to offer nearly $83 billion in tax credits until 2034-35 to expand green industrialism in an effort to create Canadian jobs, address global supply-chain issues, and further reduce emissions.
Good-paying (union) jobs: The government is attaching new labour conditions to federal funding, in part so “the unions that built the middle class can thrive,” as the budget document puts it. For companies to receive maximum energy and electricity tax credits, they will need to ensure that wages are paid at the prevailing level and apprenticeship training opportunities are being created.
Budget 2023: Liberals follow through on big promises in deal with NDP. #CDNPoli #Budget2023
Indigenous housing: The federal government expects to spend $1.9 billion over the next five years to implement an urban, rural and northern Indigenous housing strategy, to be co-developed with Indigenous Peoples. The money won't start flowing until 2024-25, starting with a $300-million investment for that fiscal year.
Beneficial ownership registry: A proposed bill recently tabled in the House of Commons would prevent Canadian shell companies from concealing their ownership of property, businesses and other assets. The registry would allow people to publicly search Canadian corporations and their ownership. It aims to deter money laundering and prevent companies from evading sanctions or avoiding paying taxes. The budget document commits the government to implementing it by the end of 2023.