Archived - Building a Secure Society
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The 1998 budget proposes new initiatives to help build a secure society including:
- support for families with children through a further increase in the Canada Child Tax Benefit;
- additional help for families with child care expenses;
- support for individuals caring for infirm or elderly family members;
- assistance for self-employed individuals who pay health and dental insurance premiums;
- support for communities and the voluntary sector;
- measures to address environmental challenges; and
- resources to further international co-operation.
The budget also provides funding for commitments made in Securing Our Future Together and for other policy initiatives announced over the past year including:
- improvements to Canada's health care system through increased health and social transfers to provinces;
- funding to help build a new partnership with aboriginal peoples;
- resources to promote international co-operation through the treaty banning anti-personnel landmines; and
- increased support for Canadian culture.
Increased Support for Families with Children
- To help build toward a National Child Benefit System, the 1997 budget allocated $850 million to create an enriched and simplified Canada Child Tax Benefit.
- To further support children in low-income families across Canada, the 1998 budget proposes to increase the Canada Child Tax Benefit by an additional $850 million. This enrichment will be made in two steps: an increase of $425 million annually beginning in July 1999, and a second increase of $425 million annually commencing in July 2000.
- The federal government will announce details of the enrichment after discussions with provincial and territorial partners and Canadians.
Helping Families with Child Care Expenses
- The budget proposes to increase the limit on the child care expense deduction from $5,000 to $7,000 for children under age 7, and from $3,000 to $4,000 for children age 7 to 16.
Helping Individuals Caring for Family Members
For individuals caring for a child or adult with disabilities, or for elderly family members, the 1998 budget proposes:
- a new caregiver credit that will reduce federal tax up to $400; and
- a tax exemption for caregivers, related to the goods and services tax and the harmonized sales tax, for expenses incurred from the service of providing temporary care to a person who, by reason of infirmity or disability, has limited means of self-care.
Assisting Self-Employed Canadians with Health and Dental Premiums
- To improve equity in the treatment of self-employed Canadians, owner-operators of businesses will now be able to deduct health and dental premiums against their business income.
Support for Communities and the Voluntary Sector
- To support the thousands of Canadian volunteers who provide essential emergency services, the tax-free allowance for volunteer firefighters will be doubled -- from $500 to $1,000. This allowance will also be extended to all other emergency service volunteers, effective January 1, 1998.
- To expand the technological capacity of the voluntary sector, funds will be allocated for Voluntary Sector Network Support. This initiative will allow 2,500 voluntary organizations a year to be linked to the Internet and to each other.
Addressing Environmental Challenges
To address environmental challenges, the 1998 budget:
- provides $150 million over three years for climate change initiatives; and
- an increase of $34 million annually for the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to help small and medium-sized businesses foster strategic innovation and implement state-of-the-art technologies and approaches for using energy, water and and natural resources more efficiently and for preventing pollution.
Improving Canada's Health Care System
- As a result of the government's improved fiscal performance, the first and largest expenditure it made was to introduce legislation to increase the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) cash floor from $11 billion to $12.5 billion. The 1998 budget confirms this expenditure that will provide provinces with nearly $7 billion more in cash from 1997-98 to 2002-03.
- It also confirms resources totalling $211 million over five years for the National HIV/Aids Strategy and $60 million over two years to renew Canada's blood system.
- To promote advanced medical research and graduate study, an additional $134 million is being allocated to the Medical Research Council over the next three years.
Building a New Partnership with Aboriginal Peoples
- The 1998 budget confirms funding for Gathering Strength, the federal response to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. A $350 million fund has been set aside for a Healing Strategy to help address the legacy of abuse in residential schools. Another $126 million has been allocated to new and expanded aboriginal programs.
Promoting International Co-operation
- To help meet the goals of the treaty banning anti-personnel landmines, Canada will contribute $100 million over the next five years.
- The government will also devote an additional $90 million to the International Assistance Envelope in 1997-98. These funds will be used to pay for 1998 commitments to international organizations and thus free up resources for initiatives in the areas of environment, health, youth and governance. The budget also allocates an additional $50 million to international assistance for 1998-99 and will free up resources for such initiatives.
Supporting Canadian Culture
- The Canada Television and Cable Production Fund has been an unqualified success, supporting quality Canadian television programs and some 19,600 full- and part-time jobs across Canada. To maintain the Fund at $200 million annually, the budget confirms increased funding of $50 million for 1998-99, and $100 million for 1999-2000 and 2000-01.