Ottawa, March 1st 2018 – The Member of Parliament for Pontiac, William Amos, highlights good news for the region announced February 27th in the 2018-2019 federal Budget. The 2018 budget is a plan to deliver more prosperity and growth to Canadians, fuelled by greater equality for all Canadians.
“It’s a plan focussed on growth, progress, reconciliation, advancement, and equality. I am very proud to support this budget and I will continue to work hard for my fellow citizens of the Pontiac,” indicates Amos.
Among the many announcements contained in this budget, the Member wishes to highlight eight items that directly impact the riding of Pontiac:
Working Towards Gender Equality
We can all agree that our future prosperity depends on greater equality between the men and women of this country. Not only is equality a value that is important to women and their families, it also benefits the Canadian economy. Budget 2018 reflects this egalitarian approach because no budget decision was taken without being informed by a gender-based analysis tool (GBA+), which assessed how women and men experience policies, programs, and initiatives.
More concretely, the government will move forward with new proactive pay equity legislation for federally regulated sectors in order to reduce the gender pay gap.
Supporting our Workers
To support low-income workers, the government is introducing the Canada Workers Benefit (CWB), which will take effect in 2019. As a result of this benefit, a low-income worker earning $15,000 a year will have up to $500 more in their pocket. The Canada Revenue Agency will determine automatically who is eligible which will ensure that an additional 300 000 low-income workers will receive the new CWB. This tax measure will benefit many workers in the Pontiac.
In addition, the government is investing $230 million over two years to ensure that support is provided to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI benefits. The terms will be specified in the coming months following discussions with the Provinces. These measures respond directly to the needs and demands of people in the Pontiac who work in forestry and outfitting.
Protecting our environment
Earlier this year, Amos coordinated a letter to Finance Minister Morneau, signed by 116 Members of Parliament and Senators from all political parties, urging him to deliver on Canada’s commitment under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to protect at least 17% of Canada’s land and freshwater and 10% of our ocean by 2020 by allocating funding for conservation in Budget 2018.
For Amos, the announcement of a historic investment of $1.3 billion over five years to conserve Canada’s ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity represents a personal victory, a victory for the Pontiac, and a victory for all Canadians.
Supporting our Local Media and Official Languages
Local news is an important part of daily life for Pontiac residents. Regional newspapers are often the best source for knowing what’s going on in our area. For this reason, the government is investing $50 million over five years to non-governmental organizations that will support local journalism in underserved communities.
Furthermore, Budget 2018 allocates $400 million in new funding over five years to support the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 which includes funding for improved access to French- and English-language minority community radio stations and newspapers.
Fixing the Phoenix Pay System
The budget indicates the government’s intention to move away from Phoenix and to begin development of the next generation of the federal government’s pay system. Our objective remains that federal employees are paid properly and on time for their important work. According to MP Amos, “the current situation is unacceptable and I share the frustration felt by so many of my fellow citizens”.
In the interim, the government proposes an investment of $431.4 million to continue making progress on Phoenix issues, including hiring additional staff to support the pay system.
Supporting Families and Youth
To ensure that the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) continues to help Canadian families over the long term, the CCB will be indexed, starting in July 2018, to keep pace with the cost of living. Indexing the CCB will provide an additional $5.6 billion in support to Canadian families over the 2018-19 to 2022-23 period. According to Amos, “this measure puts more money in the pockets of families and drives the local economy”.
Additionally, the Youth Employment Strategy, which includes the Canada Summer Jobs program (CSJ), will benefit from up to $448.5 million over five years, starting in 2018-19. This funding will support the continued doubling of the number of job placements funded under the CSJ program in 2019-20. According to Amos, “this represents an additional budget of approximately $300 000 for the Pontiac”.
Creating opportunities for businesses
The government is investing $100 million over five years to update next generation broadband Internet services in rural regions using new technologies such as low Earth orbit satellite networks. This investment follows the success of the Connect to Innovate program, which aimed to bring high-speed Internet to rural and remote communities. Indeed, Amos had the privilege of announcing a $6.7 million investment, which will bring high-speed broadband to 13 communities in the Pontiac.
In addition, the government has announced that it will lower the tax rate for small businesses from 10.5% to 9% by 2019. Corporate income is taxed at lower rates than personal income to provide businesses with more money to invest, grow and create jobs.
Working Towards Reconciliation
Building on earlier investments, the distinctions-based investments to deliver clean water, housing, training, health care and other programs in Budget 2018 will help secure a better quality of life for Indigenous Peoples, while laying the foundation for a renewed relationship based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.