Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, released Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that brings all Canadians along.
The COVID-19 recession is the steepest and fastest economic contraction since the Great Depression. It has disproportionately affected low-wage workers, young people, women, and racialized Canadians. For businesses, it has been a two-speed recession, with some finding ways to prosper and grow, but many businesses—especially small businesses—fighting to survive. Budget 2021 is an historic investment to address the specific wounds of the COVID-19 recession, put people first, create jobs, grow the middle class, set businesses on a track for long-term growth, and ensure that Canada’s future will be healthier, more equitable, greener, and more prosperous.
The Government of Canada’s top priority remains protecting Canadians’ health and safety, particularly during this third, aggressive wave of the virus and its variants. Vaccine rollout is underway across Canada, with federal government support in every province and territory. Budget 2021 invests in Canada’s bio-manufacturing and life sciences sector to rebuild domestic vaccine manufacturing capacity, and has a plan to put in place national standards for long-term care and mental health services.
Budget 2021 is a plan to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis and towards a robust recovery. It proposes to extend business and income support measures through to the fall and to make investments to create jobs and help businesses across the economy come roaring back. It will support almost 500,000 new training and work opportunities including 215,000 opportunities for youth; support businesses in our most affected sectors such as tourism and arts and culture; and accelerate investment in digital transformation of small and medium-sized businesses. Budget 2021 is a plan that puts the government on track to meet its commitment to create 1 million jobs by the end of the year.
Budget 2021 makes a generational investment to build a Canada-wide early learning and child care system. This is a plan to drive economic growth, a plan to increase women’s participation in the workforce, and a plan to offer each child in Canada the best start in life. This plan will aim to reduce fees for parents with children in regulated child care by 50 per cent on average, by 2022, with a goal of reaching $10 per day on average by 2026, everywhere outside of Quebec. Budget 2021 will invest almost $30 billion over the next five years and provide permanent ongoing funding, working with provincial and territorial, and Indigenous partners to support quality, not-for-profit child care, and ensuring the needs of early childhood educators are at the heart of the system.
Budget 2021 is also a plan for a green recovery that fights climate change, helps more than 200,000 Canadians make their homes greener, builds a net-zero economy by investing in world-leading technologies that make industry cleaner, helps Canada reach its goal of conserving 25 per cent of our lands and oceans by 2025, and creates good middle-class jobs in the green economy along the way.
The pandemic has laid bare long-standing inequities in our economy. Budget 2021 is an inclusive plan that takes action to break down barriers to full economic participation for all Canadians. The budget will establish a $15 federal minimum wage; support more than 35,000 affordable homes, especially for the most vulnerable Canadians; take action to end gender-based violence; ensure Canada has one of the largest support packages for youth in the world; support entrepreneurs from diverse groups; address systemic racism in our society; lift over 100,000 people out of poverty; and make an historic investment in Indigenous peoples and reconciliation.
Canada entered the pandemic in a strong fiscal position. This allowed the government to take quick and decisive action, supporting people and businesses, and put it in the position to make historic investments in the recovery. Recovery has been uneven to date as Canada has now faced three waves of the virus. The greatest danger to our economy would have been not doing enough; strong fiscal support is necessary to prevent economic scarring and make sure Canada’s recovery leaves no one behind. Budget 2021 is a prudent plan that sets out a new fiscal anchor that is committed to reducing the federal debt as a share of the economy over the medium-term and unwinding COVID-19-related deficits. This framework is prudent and sustainable, with the federal debt-to-GDP ratio expected to fall to 49.2 per cent by 2025-26 and the deficit to reach 1.1 per cent of GDP that same year, a lower deficit ratio than was forecast—in December 2019 prior to the onset of COVID-19—for 2019-20 and 2020-21.