House of CommonsBy CUPE National Research

The federal 2022 budget fails to make progress on key issues. Federal revenues increased substantially as the economy grew faster than expected over the past year, but spending did not. Budgetary revenues were up over $30 billion compared to what was expected in Budget 2021, yet this budget only shows a net new investment of $7 billion. Even more concerning, this budget includes a commitment to reduce already announced spending by $3 billion over the next four years and launches a Strategic Policy Review targeting cuts of another $6 billion over the next five years.  

This budget ignores the crises in health care and climate change and relies too heavily on private-sector investment in private infrastructure. While the NDP’s influence in dental care is obvious, other areas in need of immediate investment like long-term care are absent. A large investment in defence spending reflects our current geopolitical struggles but does not help Canadians who have the greatest need.

Even in the areas where the federal government has invested the most, like housing, there are disappointing investments which could lead to increased market prices (such as the new home buyers’ initiative), and more money to for-profit developers (such as the Housing Accelerator Fund). However, the investment in co-operative housing is exciting and is being applauded by housing advocates but overall, the scale and direction of investment in housing falls far short of what is required to make a dent in the need for affordable housing.

Growing our social programming such as universal child care, health care, and long-term care is dependent on growing our workforce, but the resources required for recruitment and retainment are not addressed in this budget.

Lastly, the heavy reliance on private sector investment and solutions is clearly seen in the post-secondary and environment and climate change sectors. The resources and strong action needed to urgently address the climate crisis, which the Liberals have been touting as a major focus for them, is devastatingly missing from this budget. An investment of $9.1 billion will be spent on climate focused projects, $2.6 billion of which will allow oil and gas companies to continue using and producing fossil fuels. There remains a desperate need for just transition legislation and serious commitments to climate change led by the public sector.

Climate Change

There is not enough in the budget to signal emissions will be cut to meet Canada’s target (40-45 per cent below 2005 by 2030), and certainly not enough to meet what the IPCC targets (50+ per cent below 2005 by 2030). Instead, the Liberals are focusing on flash items like Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) and more announcements on banning plastics. The biggest disappointment is their dependency on carbon capture and storage as a pillar solution to the climate crisis, which allows oil and gas to continue producing fossil fuels and banks on future technological improvements to store/redirect underground emissions. CUPE wanted to see real action to shift away from fossil fuels, something the Liberals have shown before they are not willing to do. We needed to see an investment in public renewable energy and creating a true green economy. There is no mention of Just Transition as part of creating sustainable jobs. The Liberals have yet to deliver on a campaign promise to present a Just Transition Act.

Canada Growth Fund

  • $15 billion to accelerate the investment of private capital into decarbonization and clean technology projects. This is a private and P3-led solution that shows the federal government is renouncing their role, deferring to private sector to cut emissions. Details on how this fund will operate is expected in the Fall fiscal update.

Zero-Emission Vehicles

  • A new sales mandate to ensure at least 20 per cent of new light-duty vehicle sales will be ZEVs by 2026, at least 60 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035; 35 per cent of total Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicle sales by 2030. Norway, by comparison, is aiming for all new cars sold by 2025 will be 100 per cent ZEVs. This degree of focus on ZEVs distracts from the larger problem of the oil and gas industry. Heavy reliance on ZEVs as a leading driver to cut emissions also means profits for private-sector auto industry when investment could be directed to public sector climate change adaptation strategies. However, this could be good job growth potential for industrial unions in the auto sector if the ZEVs are built in Canada.
  • $1.7 billion over five years to Transport Canada to extend the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program until March 2025.
  • $500 million in large-scale urban and commercial ZEV charging and refuelling infrastructure.
  • $400 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Natural Resources Canada to fund the deployment of ZEV charging infrastructure in sub-urban and remote communities through the Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP).
  • $2.2 million over five years, starting in to renew the Greening Government Operations Fleet Program.
  • $33.8 million over five years to develop and harmonize regulations and to conduct safety testing for long-haul zero-emission trucks.

Agriculture

  • $329.4 million to the Agricultural Clean Technology Program.
  • $469.5 million to expand the Agricultural Climate Solutions program’s On-Farm Climate Action Fund.
  • $150 million for a resilient agricultural landscape program to support carbon sequestration, adaptation, and address other environmental co-benefits.

Other

  • $780 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Environment and Climate Change Canada to expand the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund. This should provide some help to the biodiversity crisis and bolstering forest carbon storage
  • $2.6 billion over five years for a Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) funding via tax credit. The investment tax credit would be available to CCUS projects to the extent that they permanently store captured CO2 through an eligible use. The government is again banking on emerging technologies to cut future emissions rather than take real steps to cut emissions now and going forward. CCUS has had little success to this point. This also provides assistance to oil companies to invest in this technology and we should not be subsidizing profitable/carbon-intensive industries. The Liberal government is continuing to rely on the fossil fuel sector when investments should be made to clean/low emissions sources of public energy (wind, solar, etc.).
  • $2.0 billion over nine years to renew and expand the Oceans Protection Plan.
  • $43.5 million and $8.7 million ongoing to Environment and Climate Change Canada to create a new Canada Water Agency.
  • $183.1 million over five years to reduce plastic waste. This was a promise made in 2020 that was pushed to 2022. It is applied to a very limited range of plastics products, meaning any impact would be negligible.
  • $516 million over five years to fight/help respond to wildfires.

Defence

  • $8 billion over 5 years for equipment and technology, NATO and NORAD, and increased presence of troops in operation REASSURANCE ($6.1 billion), cyber security ($1.2 billon), and addressing sexual misconduct and gender-based violence in the military ($245 million)
  • This $8 billion infusion fast tracks Canada’s previous goal of doubling our defence spending from $20 billion in 2016 to just under $40 billion in 2026. We will now exceed $40 billion by 2024.

Supporting Ukraine

Already committed/Re-announced:

  • $1.2 billion direct contribution to Ukraine and its people.
  • $1.6 billion in loan support for the government.
  • $90 million in military aid.

New spending:

  • $500 million for further miliary aid.
  • $1 billion in new loan resources to Ukraine government through the International Monetary Fund.
  • $111 million over 5 years, with an additional $6 million in future years (unspecified), to implement new pathways and measures for immigration including support to Ukrainians who newly arrived in Canada
  • Advocates welcome these new immigration pathways but would like to see them created to assist people in Yemen, Afghanistan, Congo and other states suffering humanitarian crises.

In contrast to the $6.1 billion, the federal government is spending on new military equipment and technology, no funding is being spent on CUPE priorities like long-term care and pharmacare. Several pundits and commentators have mentioned the importance of a well-resourced military because of the assistance they offered during the COVID crisis in long-term care homes. CUPE is well positioned to remind the public that investing in more staff, PPE, resources, and bringing long-term care homes into the public domain would result in higher quality and more stable care for residents and eliminate the need to divert resources from the military.

Early learning and child care

  • The federal government has kept their promise in Budget 2021 of investing $30 billion over five years into the child care system (including Indigenous child care), $9.2 billion ongoing.
  • New this year: The 2022 budget promises to provide $625 million over four years, beginning in 2023-24 for an Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure Fund.
  • To date, the federal government has made bilateral child care agreements with all provinces and territories.
  • The government still plans to reduce average child care fees to $10-a-day for all regulated child care spaces by 2025-26.
    • Note: YK and QC already have $10-a-day spaces (as of April 1, 2021, for YK), and all other provinces are aiming for significant fee reductions by December 2022.

Concerns

  • The promised investment in infrastructure could be higher than $625 million and it could be given sooner than 2023-24. It will be important to see more details for this announcement – funding should be directed to create publicly-operated and non-profit child care spaces. If the federal government does not earmark funding, it is possible that private child care operators will lobby for it and say that they can expand faster than the public and non-profit sectors.
  • There is yet to be a clear workforce strategy for the federal child care plan – even if the provinces achieve their ambitious goals for expansion, there may be a shortage of ECEs and other child care staff. There is no strategy or commitment to have provinces improve workers’ salaries, benefits, or create pensions. Reactions
  • The child care advocacy community is satisfied, although some have commented that there needs to be even more investment for the Early Learning and Child Care Infrastructure Fund, and there needs to be a clear workforce strategy.

Employment Insurance and income supports

  • Budget 2022 does not include any new expansions of pandemic benefits.
  • The Budget projects declining EI payouts on account of the sunset of pandemic benefits and lower unemployment rates.
  • The federal government intends to include expanded access to training and other benefits for workers, as part of Labour Market Transfer Agreement negotiations with provinces and through amending EI legislation.

Health Care

Dental care

  • $5.3B over five years starting in 2022-23 and $1.7B ongoing to Health Canada to provide dental care.
  • Starts with under 12-year-olds in 2022, then expands to under 18-year-olds, seniors, and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025.
  • Program restricted to families with an income under $90K/year with no co-pays for those under $70K/year.
  • The budget announcement is the same as outlined in the NDP-Liberal agreement.

Pharmacare

  • No funding in this budget.
  • Says they will table Canada Pharmacare bill and work to have it passed by the end of 2023, then task Canadian Drug Agency to develop national formulary of essential medicines and bulk purchasing plan (same as commitment in NDP-Liberal agreement).

Long-term care

  • No funding in this budget.
  • Long-term care is barely mentioned in the budget except referencing the previously announced $4B funding commitment. There is no mention of the Safe Long-Term Care Act. Canada Health Transfer
  • The Canada Health Transfer will be increased by 4.8 per cent over 2021/22 to $45.2B
    • Budget states that future conversations with provinces and territories regarding additional federal funding will focus on delivering better health outcomes (e.g., increased primary/mental health care access, long-term, home & community care, and dental care).
  • No additional money for surgery backlog aside from the $2B CHT top-up for this purpose announced March 25.

Recruitment of health care workers

  • $26.2M over 4 years starting in 2023-24 and $7M ongoing to increase forgivable Canada Student Loans by 50 per cent, with up to $30,000 in loan forgiveness for nurses and up to $60,000 for doctors working in underserved rural or remote communities.
    • List of eligible professionals under the program will be expanded with details announced in the coming year.
  • $115M over 5 years with $30M ongoing to expand the Foreign Credential Recognition Program and help up to 11,000 internationally trained health care professionals per year get their credentials recognized and find work in their field.

Mental health

  • No monetary allocation, however, they commit to engaging with provinces and territories to inform the development of a new Canada Mental Health Transfer that will support the expansion and delivery of high quality and accessible mental health services across Canada.
  • $140M over 2 years starting in 2022-23 to Health Canada for the Wellness Together portal.
  • $3.7M over 4 years starting in 2022-23 to Treasury Board for Black-led engagement, design, and implementation of a mental health fund for Black federal public servants.

Public health

  • $50M in 2022-23 to PHAC for the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile that will maintain and diversify key medical supplies including PPE.
  • $436.2M over 5 years starting in 2022-23, with $15.5M in remaining amortization to PHAC to strengthen surveillance and risk assessment capacities, including real-time virus tracking, monitoring long-term health impacts of COVID-19, and expanding risk assessment capacity and research networks on new flus, infections and vaccine safety and effectiveness.

Opioid crisis

  • $100M over 3 years, starting in 2022-23, to help address the opioid crisis.

Indigenous health

  • $268M in 2022-23 for health care in remote and isolated First Nations communities on-reserve.
  • $190.5M in 2022-23 for the Indigenous Community Support Fund to help Indigenous communities and organizations mitigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.
  • $227.6M over 2 years starting in 2022-23 to maintain trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate, Indigenous led services to improve mental wellness.

Other

  • $30M over 3 years starting in 2022-23 to PHAC for the Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation, a public-private partnership through Baycrest Health Sciences.
  • Creation of an expert panel to study the idea of an Aging at Home Benefit reporting to the Minister of Seniors and the Minister of Health.
  • $20M over 5 years starting in 2022-23 for the CIHR on dementia and brain health, including different models of care.
  • $20M over 5 years starting in 2022-23 for CIHR to support research on long-term effects of COVID-19 infections and impacts of COVID-19 on the health care systems.
  • $25M over 2 years starting in 2022-23 to establish a national pilot project for a Menstrual Equity Fund to help make menstrual products available to Canadians in need.
  • Medical expenses and fees related to a surrogate mother or a sperm, ova, or embryo donor to be claimed.
  • $732 million for global vaccination (the cost of approximately 21 million doses).

Housing

Background & Summary

  • Housing prices have increased by 30 per cent in just the last year, while investors account for a quarter of all home buyers in many Canadian markets.
  • Rents are increasing across Canada, accounting for significant proportions of people’s incomes, making life unaffordable. Housing in Budget 2022:
  • $10 Billion over five years on housing programs. Housing Accelerator Fund
  • $4 Billion over five years:
    • Targets municipal governments.
    • Goal to create 100,000 houses over 5 years, in a blunt supply side approach.
    • Housing advocates do not believe that the solution is simply building new housing, but rather building new non-market housing.
    • Evidence shows that although housing construction has already gone up by 40 per cent on average over the last 10 years, there has not been a corresponding decline in prices, raising questions about a blunt supply-side approach.
  • Advocates are also concerned that this money, like much of the existing National Housing Strategy money, will go to for profit developers.

One-time $500

  • One-time $500 payment to people struggling with housing affordability:
    • Will cost $473 million, details to be announced.
    • $500 is not even one month’s rent in most parts of the country.
    • In places with high rents, this will simply act as a wealth transfer to landlords.

National Housing Strategy

  • No specific new money geared towards housing advocacy, legal aid for housing, national standards for residential tenancies, or tenant initiatives.
  • Rapid Housing Initiative renewed at $1.5 Billion, to create 6000 units.
    • This is a program that aims to convert hotels into housing and is made available to municipal governments.
  • Rental Construction Financing Initiative:
    • Low interest forgivable loans to developers who build rental units that meet certain affordability criteria.
    • This fund has existed as part of the National Housing Strategy and has been criticized for being little more than a handout to profitable construction companies.
    • The fund is being reformed in this budget to strengthen affordability and energy efficiency standards, but the affordability requirements remain questionable (40 per cent of the units must be at below 80 per cent of the market rent, but the market rents are already so over-inflated that this will likely remain unaffordable).

Co-operative housing

  • Co-operative housing being supported by re-allocating existing dollars in the National Housing Co-Investment Fund:
    • $500 million to create the Co-operative Housing Development Program and $1 billion in loans to build Co-operative housing.
    • This is a major victory for housing advocates and the first major and explicit funding commitment to co-operative housing in decades.

Affordable housing in the North

  • $150 million over two years for affordable housing related infrastructure.

Changes to existing Funding levers

  • The federal government will make transit funding, that was announced earlier this year, conditional upon provincial and territorial governments working with municipalities to build more housing.
  • Existing infrastructure funding will be made available to provinces and territories for housing supply, by including it in the agreement when the Canada Community-Building Fund agreements are renewed with provinces and territories.

Support for home buyers

  • New First-time Home Buyers Tax Free Savings Account.
    • Canadians will be able to save up to $40,000 with no taxes on investment gains.
    • Contributions will be tax deductible (like RRSP) and withdrawals to purchase a first home would be non-taxable (like TFSA).
    • Criticism is that this will only help people who already have income to save, and it increases the amount of money hunting for houses in an inflated market, likely contributing to further increasing the price of housing.
  • $5 million to CMHC to develop a home buyer’s Bill of Rights

Foreign Buyers

  • There will be a two-year ban on foreign buyers of housing.
    • Ban applies to both individuals and foreign commercial enterprises.
    • Nothing appears to stop these companies from setting up a subsidiary in Canada to continue the same activities.
    • There is concern among advocates that this focus on foreign buyers supports anti-immigrant and anti-refugee narratives, when the issue is the movement of capital not the movement of people.
    • Underused housing tax passed prior to budget 2022 will target unused and vacant homes owned by non-resident and non-Canadian individuals.
    • - Important to note that corporations are exempted from this tax despite being the main problem.

Financialization of housing

  • A federal review of housing as an asset class to be undertaken, with details coming later this year.
  • This will be a significant opportunity to push for meaningful protections against financialization of housing, such as banning corporate ownership of residential homes.

Other initiatives

  • New $7500 tax credit to support building an extra suite to support someone living in a multigenerational home with a disability.
  • Nearly $400 million to Natural Resources Canada to help with retrofitting of housing and buildings.
  • $485.5 million for greener low-income housing through the Canada Greener Home Loans Program.
  • $562.2 million over two years for Canada’s flagship homelessness strategy, Reaching Home.
    • An additional $18.1 million to Infrastructure Canada to fund more research into homelessness
  • $62.2 million over three years for veterans’ homelessness.
  • Doubling the first-time home buyers tax credit and a new support for rent-to-own projects.
  • A tax on flipping homes.
  • A tax on assignment sales – the practice of re-selling a home even before it has been constructed, which is a tool of speculative trading of homes as an asset class.
  • Not all mortgage lenders are covered by anti-money laundering rules. Budget 2022 aims to change that.
  • Importantly, there has been a corresponding narrative among political pundits that immigration is driving up housing costs despite limited, if any, evidence for this view. It is important for our union to counter this by noting that it is unrestricted movement of capital, not people, that is causing this crisis.

Libraries

  • $26 million over 5 years to Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and the National Network for Equitable Library Access (NNELS), which partially restores funding eliminated in 2020 and then increases funding in subsequent years. These organizations provide services to Canadians with print disabilities.
  • $25 million to Library and Archives Canada over 3 years, starting in 2022-23, to support the digitization of documents related to the federal Indian Day School System.

Municipal/Infrastructure

There is little new spending on infrastructure, although ongoing spending continues, and in some cases has been augmented. For example, the government will expand various incentive programs for zero-emission vehicle purchases for both individuals and businesses and will spend almost $1 billion to expand the country’s network of EV charging stations. The new Canada Growth Fund raises red flags. It is a $15 billion fund that will be used to attract private investment in green technology and industry projects. This is like the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s model, one that has had limited success. The CIB’s mandate has also been changed to allow for investment in private sector-led projects, which the CIB had already done before this announcement.

Transportation

  • Funding for a national network of EV charging stations.
  • $1.7 billion over 5 years to extend zero-emission vehicle incentives.
  • $547.5 million over four years to provide incentives to business to upgrade fleets to ZE.

Water

  • Funding to stand up the Canada Water Agency (focused mainly on source water, irrigation, and coordinating water regulation across government, and NOT on municipal water utilities).

Canada Growth Fund

  • A new $15 billion fund meant to leverage private investment into green technologies and industries – this is familiar language and is expressly intended to complement the CIB.

Canada Infrastructure Bank

  • The budget announces a slight pivot to allow the CIB to invest in private-sector led projects in addition to its current focus – no new money however

Pension

  • Proposed amendments to the federal Pension Benefits Standards Act and the Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act intended to “improve sustainability” and “long term security” through new options for solvency reserve accounts and variable payment life annuities
    • this point is found in Annex 3 and few details are provided
    • this proposal may provide for changes to expand representation on pension advisory committees or other governance bodies to retirees and possibly other plan member categories
    • more detail would be needed to comment on solvency reserve accounts and variable payment life annuities
  • Budget proposes measures to add two seats to the board of the federal Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSPIB) intended to be for appointments by bargaining agents within the federal public service
    • the PSPIB is the crown corporation Board that invests the funds of the federal employee pension plans and that has recently been a target of the “Make Revera Public” campaign
    • these two seats might appear to be a ‘gain’ by the unions, but there is good reason to be very cautious regarding the substantive impact of this proposal– the PSAC has confirmed that they were not part of an active effort to propose such representation for PSAC on this Board (though it is not yet clear how they will react)
    • assuming the individuals appointed will be subject to now-standard confidentiality obligations, there is no good reason to believe that this will lead to any improvement in the transparency or accountability of the PSPIB itself to either federal public service unions or to the public
    • this proposal may be the government’s response to the Make Revera Public campaign launched by the PSAC and supported by many trade unions, but it will do nothing to require accountability of either Revera itself or PSPIB with respect to the mass casualty events that took place within many Revera long-term care homes, or to require that it be transferred into public hands

Post-Secondary Education

The Liberal’s 2022 federal budget pins its hopes on private sector innovation, a model of “innovation” which has shown limited success since the mid-1990s. This hoped-for innovation is supposed to come from a private sector spurred into investing heavily in growth from advanced research and development by leveraging intellectual property. This research will be paid for and supported by public spending through direct profit subsidies and pushing tighter connections between public university research and business.

Workers in universities, researchers, graduate students, undergraduate students, and lecturers already know why private sector innovation is failing to provide the expected results. The marketization of education access through increased tuition fees, and casualization of teaching has created a highly educated but student-debt burdened workforce – too fearful of poverty to innovate.

Students

  • Continued doubling the Canada Student Grants amount until July 2023—meaning up to $6,000 per year in non-repayable aid for full-time students in need.
  • Waiving interest on Canada Student Loans until March 2023.
  • Continuing the enhancing repayment assistance program for repaying student loans for workers making $40,000 or less.
  • $40.9 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $9.7 million ongoing to the federal granting councils to support targeted scholarships and fellowships for promising Black student researchers.
  • $26.2 million over four years (starting 2023) and $7 million ongoing to increase the forgivable amount of student loans for doctors and nurses who practice in rural and remote communities to $30,000 for nurses and $60,000 for doctors.
  • International students on the path to permanent residency have not been included in foreign ownership of housing ban.
  • The Immigration Levels Plan grants permanent status to temporary residents—including essential workers and international students.

Research

The research focused support is entirely focused on science, technology, and engineering. Social sciences, humanities, and the arts research are all but ignored in the budget document.

  • $1.2 billion to support life sciences and bio-manufacturing in Canada, including investments in clinical trials, bio-medical research, and research infrastructure.
  • $1 billion to the Strategic Innovation Fund to support life sciences and bio-manufacturing firms in Canada and develop more resilient supply chains. This builds on investments made throughout the pandemic with manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics like Sanofi, Medicago, and Moderna.
  • $1.2 billion to launch the National Quantum Strategy, Pan-Canadian Genomics Strategy, and the next phase of Canada’s Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy to capitalize on emerging technologies of the future.
  • $1 billion to the Canada Growth Fund – a new public investment vehicle that will operate at arms-length from the federal government. Initially capitalized at $15 billion over the next five years. It will invest on a concessionary basis, with the goal that for every dollar invested by the fund, it will aim to attract at least three dollars of private capital.
  • Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency creation. A market-oriented innovation and investment agency to enable innovation and growth within the Canadian defence sector and boost investments in Canadian defence manufacturing.
  • $750 million over six years, starting in 2022-23, to support the further growth and development of Canada’s Global Innovation Clusters. Private, but publicly funded, research and innovation groups to support fighting climate change and addressing supply chain disruptions.
  • Further tightening of intellectual property rights for research.
  • $10.6 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $2 million ongoing to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to launch a survey to assess the government’s previous investments in science and research, and how knowledge created at post-secondary institutions [does not] generates commercial outcomes.
  • $125 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $25 million ongoing, for the Research Support Fund to build capacity within post-secondary institutions to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks to research security, $38.3 million over four years, starting in 2023-24, and $12.7 million ongoing for the federal granting councils to add new, internationally recruited Canada Excellence Research Chairs in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This will support a further 12 to 25 new Canada Excellence Research Chairs.
  • A program to explore new ways to better integrate leading university researchers and business partners and further modernize the NRC to better invent, innovate, and prosper.
  • $47.8 million over five years, starting in 2023-24, and $20.1 million ongoing to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to launch a new national lab-to-market platform to help graduate students and researchers take their work to market.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to provide $100 million over six years, starting in 2022-23, to the federal granting councils to support post-secondary research in developing technologies and crop varieties that will allow for net-zero emission agriculture.

Social Services

  • The Canada Social Transfer is legislated to increase at 3 per cent per year to 2027. However, inflation is quickly outpacing the 3 per cent annual increase and the budget offers little in the way of future actions to address this dilemma. CST funding supports post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, and early childhood development and early learning and child care.
  • $272.6 million over 5 years to support the implementation of an employment strategy for persons with disabilities. This is welcomed news, but Canadians are still waiting for the liberal government to get moving on the promised Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). CUPE has been urging the liberal government to accelerate the development and implementation of the CDB.
  • Canada Child Benefit (CCB) payments are projected to decrease through the 2023-23 fiscal year and then increase beginning in the 2023-24 fiscal year. The decrease in payments is attributed to the phase out of temporary transfers and supplementary payments. CCB payments are expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.9 per cent.
  • $140 million over 2 years, starting in 2022-23, for the Wellness Together Canada portal in support of Canadians’ mental health and well-being.
  • The federal government will engage with the provinces and territories to inform the development of a new Canada Mental Health Transfer that will support the expansion and delivery of high quality and accessible mental health services across Canada.
  • $227.6 million over 2 years, starting in 2022-23, to maintain trauma-informed, culturally-appropriate, Indigenous-led services to improve mental wellness.
  • $87.3 million over 3 years, starting in 2022-23, to enable Indigenous communities to continue to work with the federal government and the provinces and territories to support the implementation of Indigenous child welfare laws

Tax Fairness

Budget 2022 accelerates the implementation of an important tool to address tax-dodging and transnational crime: a public, searchable registry of the beneficial owners of companies and trusts. It will be integrated with provincial and territorial data. CUPE has been part of a coalition pushing for this critical improvement to Canada’s weak transparency laws, to prevent criminals and tax-dodgers from hiding behind anonymous shell companies.

Budget 2022 followed through on the NDP/Liberal agreement to implement an excess profits tax on banks and insurance companies. The budget proposes a one-time 15 per cent surtax on banks and life insurance companies, on taxable income above $1 billion. It also imposes a permanent 1.5 per cent increase on these companies for any income above $100 million.

Unfortunately, Budget 2022 makes no movement on other key tax fairness initiatives, such as increasing overall corporate tax rates, restoring capital gains inclusion rates, or introducing a new wealth tax.

Transportation Sector

CUPE’s priorities for the transportation sector in this budget were not met. We were asking the federal government to:

  • Provide adequate resources to Transport Canada (TC) so that it can perform its duties as regulator.
  • Work with the provinces and territories to establish a program to maintain an emergency supply of PPE.
  • Provide funding to build additional capacity and institutional policy expertise on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).
  • Hire more Health and Safety Officers (inspectors) at both TC and Employment and Social Development Canada to do active workplace inspections to support workers.
  • Unfortunately, the liberal government chose not to address any of our priorities in its 2022 budget. Instead, the budget provides major investments in high frequency rail transportation ($396.8M) and supply chain infrastructure ($603.2M).
  • $396.8 million over 2 years, starting in 2022-23, to Transport Canada and Infrastructure Canada to plan and design climate-friendly, high-frequency rail transportation between Toronto and Quebec City.
  • $450 million over 5 years, starting in 2022-23, to support supply chain projects through the National Trade Corridors Fund (NTCF), to ease the movement of goods across Canada’s transportation networks.
  • $136.3 million over 5 years, starting in 2022-23, to make Canada’s supply chains more efficient.
  • $16.9 million over 5 years, starting in 2022-23, to reduce bureaucratic rules (red tape) and ensure that regulations work effectively across modes of transportation.