I was pleased to see the recent introduction of Bill C-38 the Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act in Parliament.
This bill will legislate key elements of the Economic Action Plan 2012 that was introduced last month. These measures will support the economy now and over the long term, while keeping taxes low and returning to a balanced budget.
One key change that was highlighted by Minister Flaherty today was the introduction of measures to enhance the oversight framework for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Changes include new authorities for the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to review and monitor the safety and soundness of CMHC’s commercial activities.
CMHC’s commercial activities, particularly its mortgage insurance and securitization programs, play an important role in the housing market and the financial system. Today’s changes will contribute to improving governance and oversight of mortgage lending practices in Canada.
Highlights of the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act help to bolster Canada’s economic strengths and address the important challenges confronting the economy over the long term by:
Improving Conditions for Business Investment
• Extending the temporary 15-per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year to support junior mineral exploration.
• Increasing travellers’ exemptions to modernize existing rules and facilitate border processes for Canadians bringing goods home from abroad.
• Eliminating foreign investment restrictions for certain telecommunications companies.
Investing in Training, Infrastructure and Opportunity
•Making Employment Insurance (EI) a more efficient program that is focused on job creation and opportunities by removing disincentives to work and supporting unemployed Canadians.
• Ensuring stable, predictable EI premium rates by limiting premium rate increases to 5 cents each year until the EI Operating Account is in balance, and then moving to a seven-year break-even rate.
• Helping build a fast and flexible economic immigration system to meet Canada’s labour market needs by reducing the backlog in the Federal Skilled Worker Program, returning applications and refunding fees to those who applied prior to February 27, 2008.
Supporting Families and Communities
• Helping Canadians with severe disabilities and their families by improving the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
• Assisting provincial front-line delivery of health care and social programs by extending the temporary total transfer protection to 2012–13, representing $680 million in support to affected provinces.
Ensuring Sustainable Social Programs and a Secure Retirement
• Legislating the Government’s commitment to sustainable and predictable transfers to provinces and territories in support of health care, education and other programs and services.
• Gradually increasing from 65 to 67 the age of eligibility for Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) starting in April 2023, and also allowing for the voluntary deferral of the basic OAS for up to five years starting on July 1, 2013, resulting in an actuarially adjusted higher.
~ Cathy McLeod is Member of Parliament for Kamloops – Thompson – Cariboo and Member of the Standing Committee on Finance