On March 28, 2023, Canada’s Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, released the federal government’s 2023 budget.
The day before, at the 4th Day on the Hill hosted by the Intentional Community Consortium in collaboration with Reena, Community Living Toronto, OASIS and the Provincial Network on Developmental Disabilities, we spoke to MPs from all parties about the need for additional supports and funds to assist those we support and to build deeply affordable housing for those with developmental disabilities.
The government listened.
“Rising interest rates and construction costs have made it more expensive to build housing. To ensure that Canada’s National Housing Strategy programs can continue to deliver new affordable homes for Canadians, especially for the most vulnerable, the federal government is taking action.
Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to support the reallocation of funding from the National Housing Co-Investment Fund’s repair stream to its new construction stream, as needed, to boost the construction of new affordable homes for the Canadians who need them most. (Page 45)
A New Grocery Rebate for Canadians
Groceries are more expensive today, and for many Canadians, higher prices on essential goods are causing undue stress. In Budget 2023, the federal government is providing new, targeted inflation relief to the Canadians who need it most.
For 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians and families, the Grocery Rebate will provide eligible couples with two children with up to an extra $467; single Canadians without children with up to an extra $234; and seniors with an extra $225 on average. This will be delivered through the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GST Credit) mechanism.
By targeting the Grocery Rebate to the Canadians who need it most, the government will be able to provide important relief without making inflation worse.
Budget 2023 proposes to introduce a one-time Grocery Rebate, providing $2.5 billion in targeted inflation relief to the Canadians who need it most. The Grocery Rebate will be delivered through a one-time payment from the Canada Revenue Agency as soon as possible following the passage of legislation.” (page 34)
Reena visited Ottawa and spoke to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities advocating for the speedy passage of Bill C-22 the Canada Disability Benefit.
We are pleased to note the following:
“The government remains committed to the launch of a Canada Disability Benefit as part of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, including engagement with the disability community and provinces and territories on the regulatory process. Investments in Budget 2023 continue to lay the necessary groundwork for the Canada Disability Benefit, building off of the government’s reintroduction of the Canada Disability Benefits Act in June 2022.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $10 million over two years, beginning in 2023-24, to Employment and Social Development Canada to help address the unique needs and ongoing barriers faced by persons with disabilities by investing in capacity building and the community-level work of Canada’s disability organizations.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $21.5 million in 2023-24 to Employment and Social Development Canada to continue work on the future delivery of the Canada Disability Benefit, including engagement with the disability community and provinces and territories on the regulatory process.” (page 146)
We also note with interest that:
To complement the investments the federal government has made to improve the state of long-term care facilities, including the working conditions and wages of personal support workers, the government is proposing new investments to support Canada’s personal support workers. We will work with the Federal Government to include developmental service workers as well.
Several individuals supported by Reena have RDSP’s. Budget 2023 announces the government’s intention to extend the RDSP Qualifying Family Member provision until December 31, 2026. To further increase access to RDSPs, the government also intends to expand the provision to include adult siblings of an RDSP beneficiary. These measures are expected to cost $13 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, and $3 million ongoing.
In the past, Reena has benefitted from the Security Infrastructure Fund to enhance security at our public buildings. Today’s federal Budget announced an investment of $49.5 million over five years for the Security Infrastructure Program, a critical tool in protecting our community institutions like synagogues, day schools, and community centres, among others. New funding will go towards expanding and enhancing the program so it can be more responsive to the evolving security needs of communities. This enhanced program will be launched later this year as part of Canada’s new Action Plan to Combat Hate.
Almost half of increases to the Federal Budget are to increase health transfers to the provinces and territories and further expand the national dental-care program.
The government opened the program last year to low-income Canadians under the age of 12. This year, the program expands to include those under 18 and seniors.
The budget offers $250 million over three years to establish an Oral Health Access Fund starting in 2025-26, with $75 million annual funding after that. The program is meant to target gaps in vulnerable populations.
The budget puts up $359.2 million over five years to tackle substance abuse by providing better supports, a safer supply of drugs, better data on substance abuse and supervised injection sites.
The budget also offers $158 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support the implementation and operation of the Suicide Prevention Line, as well as $36 million over three years for reproductive health.
Reena is looking at a Solar infrastructure investment of Over $1.5 Million with a current payback of just over 14 years, affecting about 30 Reena properties.
The new Federal Budget provides investment tax credits which may allow Reena to reduce the payback period should we decide to forgo ownership of the asset and finance it with a company that can take advantage of the newly announced:
- Expanded Clean Technologies Investment Tax Credit
- New Clean Electricity Investment Tax Credit
Reena is looking forward to continuing working with this government and our sector to fulfil our mission.