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Canadian Federal Budget Highlights of Interest to the Library and IM Community

Federal Budget Highlights of Interest to the Library and IM Community

The website Librarianship.ca published a document with highlights of interest to the Canadian library and information management community from yesterday’s federal budget.

There are announcements relevant to:

  • Access to Information and Privacy
  • Accessibility
  • Anti-Racism
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Arts, Culture, and Heritage
  • Broadband
  • Charities, Non-Profits, and Community Organizations
  • Data
  • Digital Economy
  • Digital Government
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education & Higher Education
  • Indigenous Matters
  • Infrastructure
  • Mental Health
  • Museums
  • Training
  • Youth Employment

“Highlights from Budget 2021

April 19, 2021

On April 19, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the 2021 federal budget.

Below are some highlights of interest to the Canadian library and information management community:

Access to Information and Privacy

Improving How Access to Information Works for Canadians

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested approximately $35 million in incremental funds to improve Canadians’ access to information. To continually raise the bar on openness, effectiveness, and transparency in government and to provide requestors with the timely responses they deserve:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $12.8 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, to support further improvements to the online Access to Information and Personal Information Request Service, to accelerate the proactive release of information to Canadians, and to support completion of the Access to Information Act review. This will help address delays in response time that the government is committed to fixing.

Accessibility

Making Our Communities and Workplaces More Accessible

Every day, hundreds of thousands of Canadians with disabilities face accessibility challenges. Organizations want to become more accessible but osts can be prohibitive, especially for smaller organizations. The Enabling Accessibility Fund provides funding for renovation, construction, and retrofit projects—from building ramps, to support for the hearing impaired, to automatic door openers—that make communities and workplaces more accessible for persons with disabilities. To reduce barriers to employment, activities, and programs for persons with disabilities:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide additional funding of $100 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada to triple funding for the Enabling Accessibility Fund and support small and mid-sized projects with not-for-profit organizations, women’s shelters, child care centres, small municipalities, Indigenous organizations, territorial governments, small businesses, and businesses of all sizes. This would help offset the costs of renovations, retrofits, and accessible technologies in workplaces.

Anti-Racism

Strengthening the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and Helping Communities Respond to an Increase in Racism

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unequal impact on Canadians, with the increase in reports of harassment and attacks against Asian Canadians being an especially disturbing trend.

The work to address systemic racism is ongoing and must be done alongside engaged and knowledgeable partners. Their invaluable on-the-ground knowledge, experiences, learned best practices, and networks are crucial in the work to create foundational change. And their efforts can effectively bring Canadians together in the common purpose of building a fairer, safer, and more equal Canada where all are free from discrimination.

The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is a Crown corporation created in 1996, as part of the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement. The foundation has a quarter century of history working to eliminate racism, reaffirm the principles of justice and equality for all in Canada, and uphold the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Over the past year, the foundation has focused on supporting specific racialized communities impacted by dramatically rising cases of racism. In Vancouver, for example, there has been a 700 per cent increase in reported cases of anti-Asian racism since the pandemic began.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $11 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to expand the impact of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. This investment would allow the Canadian Race Relations Foundation to scale up efforts to empower racialized Canadians and help community groups combat racism in all its forms. This investment will also enable the foundation to facilitate initiatives like the establishment of a national coalition to support Asian Canadian communities, and create a fund to support all racialized communities directly impacted by increasing acts of racism during the pandemic.

All Canadians should feel safe and be free of discrimination. Sadly, certain people are at risk of racially motivated violence, threatening their personal safety and the security of their communities.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $2 million in 2021-22 to Public Safety Canada to enhance its Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program. This program helps protect communities at risk of hate-motivated crimes, by providing not-for-profit organizations such as places of worship, schools, and community cultural centres with funding to enhance their security infrastructure.

Supporting Black Canadian Communities

Events over the last year have shone a light on the complex and unique lived realities of Black Canadians. Data show that Canada’s Black population remains one of the most disadvantaged, with a higher prevalence of low-income households, lower employment rates compared to the Canadian average, as well as a much higher likelihood of discriminatory treatment at work.

COVID-19 has only exacerbated these inequities linked to anti-Black racism, and many Black Canadian communities, and the organizations that support them, are increasingly vulnerable to economic hardship.

To continue to support the work of community organizations that empower, advocate for, and lift up Black Canadians:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $200 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to establish a new Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. This fund would be led by Black Canadians and would create a sustainable source of funding, including for Black youth and social purpose organizations, and help combat anti-Black racism and improve social and economic outcomes in Black communities.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $100 million in 2021-22 to the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative at Employment and Social Development Canada.

Mobilizing the reach and expertise of community-based organizations is an important tool for empowering Black communities and confronting systemic economic barriers. It also ensures that federal investments best serve the needs of their communities. New research published by the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities and Carleton University found that Black-led and Black-serving charities receive significantly less grant funding than other charities in Canada.

Better Data for Better Outcomes

For every Canadian to reach their full potential, we need to properly understand the circumstances in which people live and the barriers they face. We cannot improve what we cannot measure.

At present, Canada lacks the detailed statistical data that governments, public institutions, academics, and advocates need in order to take fully informed policy actions and effectively address racial and social inequities. From a detailed understanding of demographic trends to economic and employment data, Statistics Canada has a vital role to play in providing the evidence-based foundation upon which good, effective policies can be built—policies that bring the impacts on marginalized groups into the heart of decision-making.

Journalists and researchers have long worked to tell the stories of where and why disparities in our society exist—whether among racialized groups or the power gap that exists between men and women that leads women’s careers to stall. Better disaggregated data will mean that investigative efforts or research projects like this will have more and better data to analyze.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $172 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, with $36.3 million ongoing, to Statistics Canada to implement a Disaggregated Data Action Plan that will fill data and knowledge gaps. This funding will support more representative data collection, enhance statistics on diverse populations, and support the government’s, and society’s, efforts to address systemic racism, gender gaps—including the power gaps between men and women—and bring fairness and inclusion considerations into decision making.

Building on other investments in Budget 2021, this provides a combined $250 million over five years to Statistics Canada, ensuring Canada has the data it needs to make evidence-based decisions across priorities including disaggregated data, health, quality of life, the environment, justice, and business and the economy.

To modernize Canada’s justice system, support evidence-based policies, and ensure accountability within the criminal justice system, the government needs to update and fill gaps in its collection and use of data.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $1.4 million ongoing, to Justice Canada and Statistics Canada to improve the collection and use of disaggregated data. This is part of ongoing efforts to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and racialized groups in the justice system.

Comprehensive academic research enhances our understanding of the causes of discrimination, the impact of oppression on Canadians and our communities, and strategies to support greater justice, equity, and accountability.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $12 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to fund academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups. This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender, and other forms of diversity.

Making the Public Service More Diverse

Canadians should have confidence that their public sector workforce is representative of the communities it serves. In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government committed to implementing an action plan to increase diversity in hiring and appointments within the public service.

  • Budget 2021 proposes amendments to the Public Service Employment Act to affirm the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce and avoid biases and barriers in hiring.

Artificial Intelligence

Renewing the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Artificial intelligence is one of the greatest technological transformations of our age. Canada has communities of research, homegrown talent, and a diverse ecosystem of start-ups and scale-ups. But these Canadian innovators need investment in order to ensure our economy takes advantage of the enormous growth opportunities ahead in this sector. By leveraging our position of strength, we can also ensure that Canadian values are embedded across widely used, global platforms.

Budget 2021 proposes to provide up to $443.8 million over ten years, starting in 2021-22, in support of the Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy, including:

  • $185 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to support the commercialization of artificial intelligence innovations and research in Canada.
  • $162.2 million over ten years, starting in 2021-22, to help retain and attract top academic talent across Canada—including in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. This programming will be delivered by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.
  • $48 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research to renew and enhance its research, training, and knowledge mobilization programs.
  • $40 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to provide dedicated computing capacity for researchers at the national artificial intelligence institutes in Edmonton, Toronto, and Montréal.
  • $8.6 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to advance the development and adoption of standards related to artificial intelligence.

Arts, Culture, and Heritage

Supporting the Recovery of Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors

To promote recovery from the pandemic for heritage, arts, and sport sectors that contribute so much to the cultural life of Canada:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors.

Supporting Musicians and Music Venues

To help Canadian musicians, concert venues, producers, and distributors:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $70 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Music Fund. This includes up to $50 million in 2021-22 to help the live music sector, including music venues, weather the pandemic.

Making Cultural Spaces Safe During COVID-19

To help arts and heritage institutions upgrade their facilities to meet public health guidelines:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $15 million in 2021-22 to Canadian Heritage for the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.

Supporting Canadian TV and Film Productions through COVID-19

In September 2020, to support Canadian television and film productions interrupted by the pandemic, the government announced a $50 million Short-Term Compensation Fund.

In February 2021, the government extended the fund into 2021-22 and doubled the funding to up to $100 million so that, during the peak spring and summer production period this year, filmmakers and producers have access to this critical backstop that reduces the financial risk productions face amidst ongoing COVID-19 shutdowns.

The fund is administered by Telefilm Canada and will support the resilience of this important $9.3-billion industry and help maintain well over 150,000 jobs for the industry’s artists and workers.

Investing in Telefilm Canada

The shift to digital media is changing the landscape for Canadian film and television production and increasing global competition for online streaming content. To make sure Canadian film tells the story of all of Canada’s diverse peoples and reaches audiences all over the world:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $105 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, for Telefilm Canada to modernize its current suite of programs to provide better access to a diverse range of creators and producers, support green practices, and respond to increasing digitization in the audiovisual industry.

Encouraging Diverse Voices in Canadian TV and Film

To provide opportunities for equity deserving creators to build skills and experience, and to support greater diversity in top-tier productions:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $60 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Canada Media Fund to increase support for productions led by people from equity deserving groups working in the Canadian audiovisual industry.

Support for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Radio-Canada

Like many media organizations, during the pandemic the CBC/Radio-Canada has experienced declining advertising revenues that threaten its capacity to continue delivering public television and radio programs. To support Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC/Radio-Canada, and ensure it can continue to report local and national news in both official languages:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $21 million in 2021-22 as immediate operational support to the CBC/Radio-Canada. This funding will ensure its stability during the pandemic and enable it to continue providing news and entertainment programming that keeps Canadians informed.

Support for the Canadian Book Industry

Canada has given the world some of the best stories, told by some of the best authors. Novels about an orphan on PEI, Mennonite towns in Manitoba, young Black immigrants in the Arctic, or life on a reserve in Northern B.C. draw the world into uniquely Canadian landscapes and export our diverse perspectives. Biographies, histories, and non-fiction that critique Canadian society make sure that a faithful record of the Canadian experience is kept.

Canadian book publishers and booksellers make sure Canadian stories get told and shared with the world. With the rise of e-commerce giants, investment is needed to help Canadian books find their way into the hands of readers.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide a total of $39.3 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to support the Canadian book industry. This includes $32.1 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to help bookstores increase online sales and $7.2 million in 2021-22 to promote Canada’s book industry at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest trade fair for books.

Protecting Canada’s Historic Places

From coast to coast to coast, Canada is home to a rich portfolio of historic places across the country. Canadians expect their governments to protect Canada’s historic places so that they can be enjoyed and preserved for future generations. But currently, there is no legal obligation to protect the heritage value of many of the over 300 federally-owned historic places in Canada.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $28.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $5.8 million ongoing, for the Parks Canada Agency to implement new legislation that, if enacted, would provide for a transparent designation framework as well as the sustainable protection of the over 300 federally-owned historic places.

Broadband

Accelerating Broadband for Everyone

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted much of our lives online and transformed how we live, work, learn, and do business. This makes it more important than ever that Canadians, including Canadian small businesses in every corner of this country, have access to fast and reliable high-speed internet. Canadians and Canadian businesses in many rural and remote communities who still do not have access to high-speed internet face a barrier to equal participation in the economy. Building on the $6.2 billion the federal government and federal agencies have made available for universal broadband since 2015:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects in collaboration with provinces and territories and other partners. This would mean thousands more Canadians and small businesses will have faster, more reliable internet connections.

In total, including proposed Budget 2021 funding, $2.75 billion will be made available through the Universal Broadband Fund to support Canadians in rural and remote communities. Recently, the Universal Broadband Fund provided funding to ensure Quebec could launch Operation High Speed, connecting nearly 150,000 Quebecers to high-speed internet. These continuing investments will help Canada accelerate work to reach its goal of 98 per cent of the country having high-speed broadband by 2026 and 100 per cent by 2030.

Charities, Non-Profits, and Community Organizations

Helping Charities, Non-profits, and Social Purpose Organizations Grow

Communities across Canada face complex social, economic, and environmental challenges—many of which have been deepened by the COVID-19 crisis. Thousands of charities, non-profits, co-operatives, and other social purpose organizations are committed to addressing these challenges directly at the community level. During the pandemic, many have seen demand for their services surge while watching their revenues plummet.

The sector employs over 611,000 people, many of whom are women, Black and racialized Canadians, young people, newcomers, and others who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. These organizations have invaluable on-the-ground knowledge of their communities’ needs and provide much-needed community and social support. They are key partners in our work to reopen and rebuild our communities.

Social finance is about mobilizing private capital to bring about public good. To support the growth of social finance in Canada, strengthen our social sector, ensure our most vulnerable can access much-needed services, and help our communities recover more quickly:

  • The government is proposing to launch planned disbursements of the $755 million Social Finance Fund and deploy up to $220 million over its first two years. It is estimated that the Social Finance Fund could attract up to $1.5 billion in private sector capital to support the development of the social finance market, create thousands of new jobs, and drive positive social change.

To ensure charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations have the skills and capacity needed to access social finance opportunities:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22. This program supports charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations in capacity-building activities such as business plan development, expanding products and services, skills development, and hiring.

Supporting Community Service Organizations

A majority of the workers in the charity and non-profit sector are women. This sector has been significantly affected by the pandemic, causing further impacts on the she-cession. The effects have been especially significant for small and rural charities, whose ability to raise funds has been severely impacted even as the pressures for their services have grown.

Recent research from Imagine Canada suggests that as of late 2020, the average charity has reported a revenue decline of 16 per cent. Since the pandemic began, community service non-profit and charitable organizations have struggled to provide the fitness, children’s programs, seniors programs, and community building projects that Canadians rely on. These organizations have not been able to easily adapt and transition to remote work and online programming, which has made it hard for workers and left a gap in our communities, at a time when demand is higher.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $400 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to create a temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize so they can better support the economic recovery in our communities.

Boosting Charitable Spending in Our Communities

Every year, charities are required to spend a minimum amount on their charitable programs or on gifts to qualified donees. This is known as the “disbursement quota” and it ensures that charitable donations are being invested into our communities.

While most charities meet or exceed their disbursement quotas, a gap of at least $1 billion in charitable expenditures in our communities exists today. Furthermore, growth in the investment assets of foundations has increased significantly in recent years. In 2019, charitable foundations held over $85 billion in long-term investments. But grant-making and other charitable activities have not kept pace.

  • Budget 2021 proposes launching public consultations with charities over the coming months on potentially increasing the disbursement quota and updating the tools at the Canada Revenue Agency’s disposal, beginning in 2022. This could potentially increase support for the charitable sector and those that rely on its services by between $1 billion and $2 billion annually.

Data

Establishing a New Data Commissioner

Digital and data-driven technologies open up new markets for products and services that allow innovative Canadians to create new business opportunities—and high-value jobs. But as the digital and data economy grows, Canadians must be able to trust that their data are protected and being used responsibly.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $17.6 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $3.4 million per year ongoing, to create a Data Commissioner. The Data Commissioner would inform government and business approaches to data-driven issues to help protect people’s personal data and to encourage innovation in the digital marketplace.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $8.4 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $2.3 million ongoing, to the Standards Council of Canada to continue its work to advance industry-wide data governance standards.

Enhancing Business Condition Data

The government introduced the Canadian Survey of Business Conditions in April 2020 to provide timely measurement of business and economic indicators and better understand changing business conditions. To further this work with partners and enhance the availability of real-time business indicator data:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide up to $5 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Statistics Canada to work with partners to enhance the availability of business condition data, better ensuring that the government’s support measures are responsive to the needs of Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs.

Better Data for Better Outcomes

For every Canadian to reach their full potential, we need to properly understand the circumstances in which people live and the barriers they face. We cannot improve what we cannot measure.

At present, Canada lacks the detailed statistical data that governments, public institutions, academics, and advocates need in order to take fully informed policy actions and effectively address racial and social inequities. From a detailed understanding of demographic trends to economic and employment data, Statistics Canada has a vital role to play in providing the evidence-based foundation upon which good, effective policies can be built—policies that bring the impacts on marginalized groups into the heart of decision-making.

Journalists and researchers have long worked to tell the stories of where and why disparities in our society exist—whether among racialized groups or the power gap that exists between men and women that leads women’s careers to stall. Better disaggregated data will mean that investigative efforts or research projects like this will have more and better data to analyze.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $172 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, with $36.3 million ongoing, to Statistics Canada to implement a Disaggregated Data Action Plan that will fill data and knowledge gaps. This funding will support more representative data collection, enhance statistics on diverse populations, and support the government’s, and society’s, efforts to address systemic racism, gender gaps—including the power gaps between men and women—and bring fairness and inclusion considerations into decision making.

Building on other investments in Budget 2021, this provides a combined $250 million over five years to Statistics Canada, ensuring Canada has the data it needs to make evidence-based decisions across priorities including disaggregated data, health, quality of life, the environment, justice, and business and the economy.

To modernize Canada’s justice system, support evidence-based policies, and ensure accountability within the criminal justice system, the government needs to update and fill gaps in its collection and use of data.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $6.7 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $1.4 million ongoing, to Justice Canada and Statistics Canada to improve the collection and use of disaggregated data. This is part of ongoing efforts to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples and racialized groups in the justice system.

Comprehensive academic research enhances our understanding of the causes of discrimination, the impact of oppression on Canadians and our communities, and strategies to support greater justice, equity, and accountability.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $12 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to fund academic research into systemic barriers facing diverse groups. This research will help inform actions to address social disparities related to race, gender, and other forms of diversity.

Measuring What Matters

There is a growing recognition internationally that economic growth is only one dimension of what makes for a good quality of life. Currently, Canada collects less detailed information about non-economic indicators than economic indicators. Better federal data sets are needed to better incorporate quality of life measurements into decision-making and budgeting, similar to international approaches such as in New Zealand and Scotland.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $7.7 million over five years, and $1.6 million ongoing, to enable Statistics Canada to improve quality of life measures and address key data gaps.
  • Budget 2021 further proposes to provide $6.1 million over five years, and $0.6 million ongoing, to enable Statistics Canada to bring together key economic, social, and environmental datasets and develop a user interface to better support decision-making and budgeting.

These are in addition to more than $285 million over five years, and more than $40 million ongoing, in proposed Budget 2021 investments across government to collect better, disaggregated data that will enable the government, researchers, and others to better understand the experiences of people in Canada and environmental changes.

Digital Economy

Helping Small and Medium-sized Businesses Move into the Digital Age

The pandemic has hastened the economy’s digital transformation as companies, workers, and consumers conduct more and more business online. From 2002 to 2019, labour productivity in digitally intensive industries grew 3.5 times faster than in non-digitally intensive industries. And over the course of the pandemic, digitally intensive businesses actually grew, even though hours worked were down. Building a digital economy is critical to growing a more prosperous economy.

Canadian businesses need to adopt new technologies and digitize to meet customer needs and stay competitive. Embracing these changes also makes our businesses more efficient and more productive, and therefore more prosperous—and able to create more Canadian good middle class jobs.

To fuel the recovery, jobs, and growth, the government is launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program, which will create thousands of jobs for young Canadians and help as many as 160,000 small and medium-sized businesses adopt new digital technologies.

This program will provide businesses with two streams of support.

  • To help main street businesses expand their customer bases online, they can access support to digitize and take advantage of e-commerce opportunities. Eligible businesses will receive microgrants to help offset the costs of going digital—and support to digital trainers from a network of up to 28,000 well trained young Canadians.
  • Some businesses will require more comprehensive support to adopt new technology, and a second stream will be in place for “off-main street” businesses, such as small manufacturing and food processing operations. Support for these businesses will emphasize advisory expertise for technology planning and financing options needed to put these technologies to use.

Budget 2021 proposes to provide $1.4 billion over four years, starting in 2021-22, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, to:

  • Work with organizations across Canada to provide access to skills, training, and advisory services for all businesses accessing this program.
  • Provide microgrants to smaller, main street businesses to support costs associated with technology adoption.
  • Create training and work opportunities for as many as 28,000 young people to help small and medium-sized businesses across Canada adopt new technology.

Budget 2021 proposes to provide $2.6 billion on a cash basis over four years, starting in 2021-22, to the Business Development Bank of Canada to help small and medium-sized businesses finance technology adoption.

Digital Services Tax

The government is committed to ensuring that corporations in all sectors, including digital corporations, pay their fair share of tax on the money they earn by doing business in Canada. Increasingly, many digital companies earn revenues from the active collection and use of Canadians’ data. In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the government announced that it would be moving ahead to implement a tax on corporations providing digital services. This builds on the changes announced at that time to ensure that the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax applies in a fair and effective manner to the growing digital economy.

Canada has a strong preference for a multilateral approach to this issue. Work is underway to reach a multilateral agreement on cross-border digital taxation by mid-2021, and Canada is optimistic about the progress made this year. However, multilateral discussions have been going on since 2013. That is why, while Canada’s hope and preference is for a multilateral solution this summer, whether or not a deal is reached, Canada intends to take action.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to implement a Digital Services Tax at a rate of 3 percent on revenue from digital services that rely on data and content contributions from Canadian users. The tax would apply to large businesses with gross revenue of 750 million euros or more. It would apply as of January 1, 2022, until an acceptable multilateral approach comes into effect. This would help ensure that Canada’s tax rules capture new ways in which businesses carry out value-creating activities.

It is estimated that this measure will raise $3.4 billion in revenue over five years beginning in 2021-22.

Digital Government

Canadian Digital Service

The Canadian Digital Service was established in 2017 to design and deliver digital government services. During the pandemic, its services and expertise were more vital than ever. It launched the COVID Alert App, used by more than 6 million people in Canada and providing over 26,000 exposure notifications, helping to prevent tens of thousands of possible outbreaks in our communities. It also accelerated the development of GC Notify, a platform to provide vital email and text messaging services for an array of COVID-19 services, showcasing how effective design and delivery can serve Canadians. To make sure that the Canadian Digital Service can meet the growing needs of Canadians and Canadian businesses:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $88 million over four years, starting in 2022-23, and $25.8 million ongoing, to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to renew and expand the capacity of the Canadian Digital Service and further improve how the government delivers digital services to Canadians.

Improving and Defending Our Cyber Networks

Threats to cyber security are growing globally. The protection of Canadians’ personal information is a priority for the government. Maintaining secure, up-to-date cyber security and defence capabilities on reliable networks is essential as more Canadians access government services digitally. To ensure the security of Canadians’ information:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $456.3 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, with $60.7 million in remaining amortization and $62.2 million ongoing, to Shared Services Canada and the Communications Security Establishment.

Modernizing Critical IT Infrastructure

Canada’s IT infrastructure is aging faster than the pace of repairs or replacements. By investing in IT infrastructure, the government will ensure that key services like Old Age Security and Employment Insurance benefits or immigration and border case management will continue to be delivered and can be modernized in a timely manner. To perform critical upgrades and a modernization of Canada’s IT infrastructure and improve the way benefits and services are delivered to Canadians over the coming decade:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide a total of $648 million on a cash basis to Employment and Social Development Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat over the next seven years, starting in 2021-22, to continue implementing Benefit Delivery Modernization, invest in Service Canada’s IT systems and related activities, and support service delivery to Canadians going forward.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $300 million on a cash basis to Shared Services Canada over the next three years, starting in 2021‑22, to continue work to repair and replace critical IT infrastructure.

Supporting the Office of the Chief Information Officer

Funding proposed for the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to ensure that the Office of the Chief Information Officer has the necessary resources to provide strategic direction and leadership in the areas of information management, information technology, security, privacy, and access to information across the Government of Canada.

2021-22: $6 million
2022-23: $7 million
2023-24: $7 million
2024-25: $7 million
2025-26: $7 million
Total: $34 million

Supporting Efficient, Stable Digital Applications

Funding proposed for Shared Services Canada to continue to help government departments and agencies assess digital applications and data, then decommission or move them to modern computing facilities. This will reduce service interruptions, loss of data, and security risks for government operations and digital services.

2021-22: $58 million
2022-23: $98 million
2023-24: $20 million
2024-25: $20 million
2025-26: $20 million
Total: $215 million

Digital Skills

Teaching Kids to Code

The CanCode program helps young people gain coding and digital skills needed to succeed in a 21st century economy. It provides training support for their teachers, and has a special focus on reaching young people who are traditionally underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, such as girls and Indigenous youth.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $80 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, to help CanCode reach 3 million more students—with an even greater focus on underrepresented groups—and 120,000 more teachers.

With more opportunities to acquire and develop digital skills, young Canadians—from kindergarten to grade 12—will have a head start in building the skills they need for good jobs in the future.

Early Childhood Education

Establishing a Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care System

The federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of quality child care. This will be a transformative project on a scale with the work of previous generations of Canadians, who built a public school system and public health care. This is a legacy investment for today’s children who will not only benefit from, but also inherit this system.

Just as public school provides children with quality education in their neighbourhoods, the government’s goal is to ensure that all families have access to high-quality, affordable and flexible early learning and child care no matter where they live. The government will also ensure that families in Canada are no longer burdened by high child care costs—with the goal of bringing fees for regulated child care down to $10 per day on average within the next five years. By the end of 2022, the government is aiming to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care to make it more affordable for families. These targets would apply everywhere outside of Quebec, where prices are already affordable through its well-established system.

To support this vision, Budget 2021 proposes new investments totaling up to $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, as outlined below.

The government’s plan ensures that gains are secured for generations to come by making this historic commitment a lasting one, while also recognizing that building the quality system we want will take time.

Combined with previous investments announced since 2015, a minimum of $9.2 billion per year ongoing will be invested in child care, including Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, starting in 2025-26.

This once-in-a-generation transformation will take time and hard work from all orders of government—and that is why the next five years are focused on meaningful goals for families and setting the right foundations for success.

  • Up to $27.2 billion over five years, starting in 2021-22 will bring the federal government to a 50/50 share of child care costs with provincial and territorial governments, as part of initial 5-year agreements. Future objectives and distribution of funding, starting in year six, would be determined based on an understanding of need and progress achieved as part of this initial plan.

Over the next five years, the government will work with provinces and territories to make meaningful progress towards a system that works for families. The aforementioned federal funding would allow for:

  • A 50 per cent reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care in all provinces outside of Quebec, to be delivered before or by the end of 2022.
  • An average of $10 a day by 2025-26 for all regulated child care spaces in Canada.
  • Ongoing annual growth in quality affordable child care spaces across the country, building on the approximately 40,000 new spaces already created through previous federal investments.
  • Meaningful progress in improving and expanding before- and after-school care in order to provide more flexibility for working parents.

The next five years of the plan will also focus on building the right foundations for a community-based and truly Canada-wide system of child care. This includes:

  • Working with provinces and territories to support primarily not-for-profit sector child care providers to grow quality spaces across the country while ensuring that families in all licensed spaces benefit from more affordable child care.
  • A growing, qualified workforce—with provincial and territorial partners, the government will work to ensure that early childhood educators are at the heart of the system, by valuing their work and providing them with the training and development opportunities needed to support their growth and the growth of a quality system of child care. Over 95 per cent of child care workers are women, many of whom are making low wages, with a median wage of $19.20 per hour.
  • A strong basis for accountability to Canadians—the government will work with provincial and territorial partners to build a strong baseline of common, publicly available data on which to measure progress, report to Canadians, and help continuously improve the system. 

Quebec has been a pioneer of early learning and child care in Canada, with outcomes for children and families that have been studied around the world. However, the Quebec experience has also illustrated that building a system is complex, and that phased and sustained investments are required to ensure that everyone has access to the same quality of care at affordable prices. These are valuable lessons for a pan-Canadian system. To build on the current bilateral agreements:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to proceed with an asymmetrical agreement with the province of Quebec that will allow for further improvements to their system, which the people of Quebec are rightly proud of.

In addition, the federal government will authorize the transfer of 2021-22 funding as soon as bilateral agreements are reached with the provinces and territories, enabled by a proposed statutory appropriation.

Education

Providing High-quality Education

A high-quality education is the foundation of success, which every child growing up in Canada deserves no matter where they live. Not only does good elementary and secondary schooling lead to better jobs, studies have shown that better education can lead to better mental heath and improved personal, family, and community well-being. Since 2015, investments the government has made have improved learning experiences for approximately 107,000 students per year and helped build 186 education-related infrastructure projects benefiting 240 First Nations communities. Investing in children’s education is an important part of the government’s plan to build long-term economic resilience. In 2019, the federal government implemented a new, co-developed policy and funding approach to better support the needs of First Nations students on reserve.

To invest in the future of First Nations children and continue to support this new approach:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $1.2 billion over five years, and $181.8 million ongoing, including:
    • $112 million in 2021-22 to extend COVID-19 support so children on reserve can continue to attend school safely, including PPE for students and staff, laptops to support online learning, and more teachers and other critical staff.
    • $726 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $181.8 million ongoing, to enhance funding formulas in critical areas such as student transportation; ensure funding for First Nations schools remains predictable from year to year; and increase First Nations control over First Nations education by concluding more Regional Education Agreements.
    • $350 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to expand access to adult education by supporting First Nations people on reserve who wish to return to high school in their communities and complete their high school education.

Higher Education

Providing Relief from Student Debt

Waiving Interest on Student Loans for an Additional Year

To ensure that the cost of post-secondary education in Canada remains predictable and affordable for everyone during the economic recovery:

  • The government proposes to introduce legislation that would extend the waiver of interest accrual on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until March 31, 2023. This change has an estimated cost of $392.7 million in 2022-23.

This action would mean savings for approximately 1.5 million Canadians repaying student loans, the majority of whom are women.

Enhancing Repayment Assistance

Every year, the Government of Canada provides repayment assistance to approximately 350,000 borrowers with low incomes. Currently, the threshold for this support is earning $25,000 per year or less, for a single borrower. To ensure that no federal student loan borrower ever has to make a payment they cannot afford:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to increase the threshold for repayment assistance to $40,000 for borrowers living alone, so that nobody earning $40,000 per year or less will need to make any payments on their student loans.
  • This will support an estimated 121,000 additional Canadians with student loan debt each year.
  • For students from larger households the threshold will be modified to match the Canada Student Grants. For example, for a household with four individuals, the 2020-21 Canada Student Grant cut-off is $63,735, which rises with inflation, while the current repayment assistance threshold is $59,508.
  • Additionally, the cap on monthly student loan payments will be reduced from 20 per cent of household income to 10 per cent.
  • To ensure that the eligibility for repayment assistance keeps pace with the cost of living, the new income cut-offs will be indexed to inflation.
  • Beginning in 2022-23, these changes will cost an estimated $203.5 million over four years, and $64.2 million per year ongoing.

Doubling the Canada Student Grants for Two Additional Years

Over 580,000 students each year rely on federal grants and loans to help them cover the cost of their tuition, school supplies, and living expenses. When the pandemic caused other sources of income for students—such as part-time jobs—to dry up, the Government of Canada helped out by doubling Canada Student Grants for the 2020-2021 school year, providing an additional $2,600, on average, of non-repayable aid to students in need. This effectively covered 90 per cent of the average undergraduate tuition in Canada for low-income students during the pandemic.

To ensure students from low-income households remain supported throughout COVID-19 and continue to have access to this opportunity as the economy recovers:

  • The government is announcing its intention to extend the doubling of the Canada Student Grants until the end of July 2023.

The cost of this measure is estimated at $3.1 billion over two years starting in 2021-22.

Provinces and territories that do not currently participate in the Canada Student Loans Program will continue to receive equivalent compensation from the Government of Canada for their own student financial assistance programs that offer comparable benefits to the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.

Expanding Access to Supports for Students and Borrowers with Disabilities

Students with disabilities face some of the highest costs and most significant barriers to long-term success. Every year, the Canada Student Loans Program supports over 75,000 students and borrowers with permanent disabilities through enhanced grants and repayment assistance. But these supports are not available to students whose disabilities are not lifelong.

  • The government is announcing its intention to extend disability supports under the Canada Student Loans Program to recipients whose disabilities are persistent or prolonged, but not necessarily permanent.

This change will benefit an estimated 40,000 recipients with non-permanent disabilities each year through access to up to $22,000 in grants, in-study supports, and specialized repayment assistance on their loans. Beginning in 2022-23, the estimated cost of this measure will be $428.9 million over four years, and $118.6 million per year ongoing.

Supporting Post-secondary Education in the North

People in Canada’s North face longstanding inequities in education, which puts northern residents at a disadvantage, especially Indigenous peoples. Closing gaps in education improves health and well-being, and spurs economic growth and innovation. Building on investments in Budget 2019 for Yukon College, and to further increase access to quality post-secondary education in Canada’s North:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $8 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to the Government of the Northwest Territories to support the transformation of Aurora College to a polytechnic university. This would help create new opportunities in the Northwest Territories and prepare northerners for good jobs.

Supporting Indigenous Post-secondary Education During COVID-19

The pandemic continues to affect Indigenous post-secondary students and institutions. To help Indigenous students complete their studies and ensure that Indigenous-led post-secondary institutions can provide online services and continue to implement health and safety measures:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies. Many students are facing financial difficulty during the pandemic, as young people have suffered some of the worst job losses. This support would help offset lost income that many Indigenous students rely on to pay for tuition, books, housing, and other living expenses. The federal government knows that young people need support to get through this crisis so they can complete their education and succeed in their chosen fields.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $26.4 million, in 2021-22, through the Post-Secondary Partnerships Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies to support Indigenous post-secondary institutions during COVID-19.

Indigenous Matters

Responding to the Tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The government is accelerating work on the National Action Plan in response to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice and the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

Budget 2021 lays out a plan that will build on progress and remain accountable to communities, families, and survivors across Canada.

To end the national tragedy of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, a new approach is needed—one that addresses the root causes of violence, that recognizes the scope of the problem, and one that factors in the different experiences of Indigenous peoples from coast-to-coast-to-coast. This work is anchored in four interconnected thematic areas from the national inquiry: culture, health and wellness, human security and safety, and justice.

Actions to address this tragedy must be broad in order to address the socio-economic root causes including loss of culture and languages, poverty and lack of access to housing, and the need for community safety, food security, employment, education, health care, infrastructure, and the many threads that tie the fabric of society together.

Budget 2021 proposes to invest an additional $2.2 billion over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $160.9 million ongoing, to help build a safer, stronger, and more inclusive society.

Culture

The preservation, restoration, and promotion of culture and language, as well as participation in sport, are powerful tools for healing, reconciliation, and fostering a strong sense of identity. To support this work in Indigenous communities:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $275 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $2 million ongoing to Canadian Heritage, to support the efforts of Indigenous peoples in the reclamation, revitalization, and strengthening of Indigenous languages as a foundation for culture, identity, and belonging. This funding will support various initiatives such as languages and culture camps, mentor-apprentice programs and the development of Indigenous languages resources and documentation.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $14.9 million over four years, beginning in 2021-22, to support the preservation of Indigenous heritage through Library and Archives Canada. This will ensure that Indigenous women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and all people in Canada have meaningful access to their cultures and languages.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $108.8 million over two years, beginning in 2021-22, to reestablish and revitalize Indigenous cultural spaces. Having a dedicated, permanent space to share culture is a key component of building strong Indigenous identities. Establishing cultural spaces that are inclusive of Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people will help ensure they have a seat at the decision-making table. This proposal responds to the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which calls for all Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people to be provided with safe, no-barrier, permanent, and meaningful access to their cultures and language.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $40.1 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to support the Indigenous Screen Office and ensure Indigenous peoples can tell their own stories and see themselves reflected on-screen.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $14.3 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $2.9 million ongoing, to ensure that Indigenous women and girls have access to meaningful sports activities through the Sport for Social Development in Indigenous Communities program.

Health and Wellness

The tragic death of Joyce Echaquan last summer made clear the devastating consequences of anti-Indigenous racism in our health care systems.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $126.7 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, to take action to foster health systems free from racism and discrimination where Indigenous peoples are respected and safe. This funding will support patient advocates, health system navigators, and cultural safety training for medical professionals.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $12.5 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $2.5 million ongoing, to support the well-being of families and survivors through project-based programming in collaboration with the National Family and Survivors Circle.

This builds on critical investments outlined earlier in this chapter, including $597.6 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22 for distinctions-based mental wellness supports which provide community-based, culturally relevant, and trauma-informed wellness services for families and survivors, as well as broader investments to support the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

Human Security and Safety

Indigenous communities, like all communities in Canada, should be places where people and families feel safe and secure. A well-funded, culturally sensitive, and respectful police service is essential for community safety and well-being.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $861 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $145 million ongoing, to support culturally responsive policing and community safety services in Indigenous communities. This includes:
    • $43.7 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, to co-develop a legislative framework for First Nations policing that recognizes First Nations policing as an essential service.
    • $540.3 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $126.8 million ongoing, to support Indigenous communities currently served under the First Nations Policing Program and expand the program to new Indigenous communities.
    • $108.6 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, to repair, renovate, and replace policing facilities in First Nation and Inuit communities.
    • $64.6 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $18.1 million ongoing, to enhance Indigenous-led crime prevention strategies and community safety services.
    • $103.8 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, for a new Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities Initiative to support Indigenous communities to develop more holistic community-based safety and wellness models.

This investment seeks to address the Calls for Justice, which are further supported by critical investments outlined in Chapter 9 to advance a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, including $55 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, for the Department for Women and Gender Equality to bolster the capacity of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations to provide gender-based violence prevention programming aimed at addressing the root causes of violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people.

Justice

Building on recent actions to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system through Bill C-22, to improve Indigenous peoples’ access to justice in all areas of the justice system:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $74.8 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, to improve access to justice for Indigenous people and support the development of an Indigenous justice strategy to address systemic discrimination and the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system. This includes:
    • $27.1 million to Justice Canada to help Indigenous families navigate the family justice system and access community-based family mediation services.
    • $24.2 million to Justice Canada to support engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations on the development of legislation and initiatives that address systemic barriers in the criminal justice system, including collaboration on an Indigenous justice strategy.
    • $23.5 million to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to support victims of violence by increasing prosecutorial capacity in the territories.

Working with Partners

At present, only three national Indigenous women’s organizations and one regional organization receive dedicated federal funding for operations. There are over 30 regional organizations that are either unfunded or receive only time-limited, project-based funding.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $36.3 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $8.6 million ongoing to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, to enhance support for Indigenous women’s and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations, ensuring that the voices and perspectives of Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people are reflected in all aspects of decision-making that impacts their lives. This proposal responds directly to the MMIWG Call for Justice 1.8, which calls upon governments to provide core and sustainable funding to national, regional, and local Indigenous women’s and 2SLGBTQQIA+ organizations.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to provide $20.3 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, to work with Indigenous partners to ensure that appropriate monitoring mechanisms are in place to measure progress and to keep the government accountable, now and in the future.

Walking the Path to Reconciliation and Self-determination

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting self-determination and self-government as part of its efforts to forge stronger relationships with First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

The federal government also recognizes that meaningful action is required to address the systemic racism many Indigenous peoples face, including in their interactions with public institutions.

Budget 2021 presents the next steps in the federal government’s plan to ensure Indigenous peoples have greater say over the policies and programs that affect their lives.

Implementation of Legislation on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous peoples. It provides guidance on co-operative relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the principles of equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. In December 2020, the Government introduced Bill C-15, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which was developed with Indigenous partners, fulfilling its commitment to introduce legislation to implement the Declaration as government legislation.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $31.5 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support the co-development of an Action Plan with Indigenous partners to implement this legislation and to achieve the objectives of the Declaration. This process will support Indigenous self-determination and enhance nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationships.

Supporting Indigenous Governance and Capacity

Core governance support is essential for First Nations leaders to effectively serve their communities and advance self-determination.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $104.8 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support the administrative capacity of First Nations governments and other organizations that deliver critical programs and services.
  • Budget 2021 also proposes to invest $151.4 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to provide wrap-around supports for First Nations with the greatest community development needs.

Commemorating the Legacy of Residential Schools

The Residential School System is a shameful, tragic, and defining part of Canada’s history. It was born of colonial practices that left negative impacts on generations of Indigenous peoples. As part of our collective duty to remember:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $13.4 million over five years, with $2.4 million ongoing, to Canadian Heritage for events to commemorate the history and legacy of residential schools, and to honour survivors, their families and communities, as well as to support celebrations and commemoration events during the proposed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This builds on investments since 2015 to commemorate the legacy of residential schools; support the efforts of Indigenous peoples to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures including the passage and support for the co-developed Indigenous Languages Act; and to continue to provide healing supports for residential school survivors and their families. The government has also announced more than $700 million in new funding through a variety of programs and initiatives to help strengthen Indigenous languages and cultures, with additional proposed investments of more than $460 million in this Budget.

Support for Indigenous-led Data Strategies

Access to reliable and culturally relevant data on Indigenous peoples is critical to building a complete portrait of Indigenous lived experiences, unmasking inequalities, and ensuring delivery of effective policies and programs.

Indigenous-led data strategies can further self-determination by providing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation governments and organizations with the data they need to support their communities.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $73.5 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to continue work towards the development and implementation of a First Nations Data Governance Strategy.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $8 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to support Inuit and Métis baseline data capacity and the development of distinctions-based Inuit and Métis Nation data strategies.

Engagement with Indigenous Peoples

The government is committed to renewing the relationship with Indigenous peoples through increased engagement, partnership, and co-development of policy and programs. In Budget 2016, the government announced new investments to support the capacity of Indigenous Representative Organizations to engage with the government. To continue to support this important work:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $50 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $10 million ongoing, to renew and make permanent dedicated consultation and policy development funding.

Infrastructure

National Infrastructure Assessment

Twenty-first century energy systems, public buildings, broadband networks, roadways, public transit, and natural spaces all contribute to our long-term economic productivity and prosperity. But smart, resilient public infrastructure projects also require careful planning. To support Canada’s long-term infrastructure planning:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $22.6 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, to Infrastructure Canada to conduct Canada’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment. The assessment would help identify needs and priorities for Canada’s built environment.

This measure would improve infrastructure planning and help all orders of government make informed decisions about infrastructure projects that ensure we have stronger, cleaner, more resilient communities.

Mental Health

National Standards for Mental Health Services

Before the pandemic began, almost one in ten Canadians reported that their mental health care needs were not met. A set of clear national standards is needed so that Canadians can access timely care, treatment, and support. To move forward on establishing national mental health standards:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $45 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to help develop national mental health service standards, in collaboration with provinces and territories, health organizations, and key stakeholders.

Supporting the Mental Health of Those Most Affected by COVID-19

Young people have seen the greatest decline in good mental health compared to pre-pandemic levels. Seven in ten health care workers reported worsening mental health during the pandemic. Sixty-four per cent of Indigenous people said their mental health had worsened. Racialized and Black Canadians can also face distinct challenges with mental health including structural racism and inequities in access to care.

To support populations most affected by COVID-19 in dealing with mental health challenges:

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $100 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support projects for innovative mental health interventions for populations disproportionately impacted by COVID 19, including health care workers, front-line workers, youth, seniors, Indigenous people, and racialized and Black Canadians.
  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Health Canada to support a trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stream of mental health programming for populations at high risk of experiencing COVID-19 trauma and those exposed to various trauma brought about by COVID-19.

Working Towards a New Crisis Hotline

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing mental health challenges for Canadians and increased the number of Canadians in crisis. Making mental health services easier to access will have substantial benefits for Canadians and help save lives. The funding for the Kids Help Line that was initially provided in 2020-21 was extended into 2021-22 to ensure that it can continue to deliver counselling services to youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is continuing to work with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and partners to implement and sustain an expanded pan-Canadian suicide prevention service. Once fully implemented, people across Canada will have bilingual access to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, crisis support using the technology of their choice: voice, text, or online chat.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is launching a regulatory proceeding to consult on a proposed three-digit hotline so Canadians have a memorable number they can call when they need help. The government is supportive of these efforts including ensuring funds are available to support the creation of this hotline.

Museums

Support for National Museums and the National Battlefields Commission

Funding proposed for Canada’s six national museums and the National Battlefields Commission to address financial pressures caused by COVID-19 and program integrity issues. Funding is also proposed for the RCMP Heritage Centre as it begins the process of transitioning to a new national museum, and to support the completion of the National Museum of Science and Technology’s Ingenium Centre. Finally, funding is proposed for the Canadian Museum of History to support the purchase of the collection of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

2021-22: $47 million
2022-23: $6 million
2023-24: $4 million
2024-25: $4 million
2025-26: $4 million
Total: $66 million

Enhancing Digital Access to our Heritage

Funding proposed for Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program to support the digitization of information and collections by non-national museums and heritage institutions, which will allow these institutions to create original content such as educational materials, apps or other virtual activities to enhance the visitor experience.

2021-22: $5 million
2022-23: $8 million
2023-24: $10 million
Total: $23 million

Quantum Technology

Launching a National Quantum Strategy

Quantum technology is at the very leading edge of science and innovation today, with enormous potential for commercialization. This emerging field will transform how we develop and design everything from life-saving drugs to next generation batteries, and Canadian scientists and entrepreneurs are well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities. But they need investments to be competitive in this fast growing global market.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to provide $360 million over seven years, starting in 2021-22, to launch a National Quantum Strategy. The strategy will amplify Canada’s significant strength in quantum research; grow our quantum-ready technologies, companies, and talent; and solidify Canada’s global leadership in this area. This funding will also establish a secretariat at the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to coordinate this work.

The government will provide further details on the rollout of the strategy in the coming months.

Training

Supporting Skills for Success

The skills needs of businesses are changing as they adopt new technologies and new ways of doing things. Yet, today, 45 per cent of Canadians lack the literacy, numeracy, and digital skills that are increasingly necessary to succeed in jobs in the knowledge economy.

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $298 million over three years, beginning in 2021-22, through Employment and Social Development Canada, in a new Skills for Success program that would help Canadians at all skills levels improve their foundational and transferable skills.

The program will fund organizations to design and deliver training to enhance foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy, as well as transferable and soft skills. This could include helping employers deliver training to increase communication and teamwork skills of their employees, or community organizations looking to strengthen basic literacy and numeracy of marginalized groups. Additionally, funding will support the creation of assessments and training resources available online to all Canadians at no cost.

Approximately 90,000 Canadians will be able to improve their literacy and essential skills to better prepare for, get and keep a job, and adapt and succeed at work.

Extending Federal Supports for Adults Who Return to School Full-Time

In 2018, the government launched Skills Boost, a three-year pilot program to help working adults afford the cost of returning to school full-time to upgrade their skills.

  • The government intends to extend the $1,600 adult learner top-up to the full-time Canada Student Grant for an additional two school years—until July 2023. This will ensure that benefits to adult students are not interrupted.
  • Additionally, the government intends to make permanent the flexibility to use current year income instead of the previous year’s to determine eligibility for Canada Student Grants, so students with financial need won’t have their previous workforce participation count against them.

Together, these measures are expected to cost $365.8 million over the next five years, and $26.7 million per year ongoing.

Youth Employment

Helping Youth and Students Build Job Skills and Connect with Employers

Young Canadians have seen more job losses due to COVID-19 than any other age demographic. This not only deprives them of income that could be used to pay for schooling, build their savings, or cover basic living expenses, but can also lead to long-term consequences by disrupting important experiences in the crucial early years of their working lives. These impacts are often more severe for youth facing multiple barriers to employment such as Indigenous youth, racialized and Black youth, and newcomers to Canada.

To ensure youth and students can access valuable job skills and experience, Budget 2021 is proposing to invest $721 million in the next two years to help connect them with employers and provide them with quality job opportunities.

Student Work Placement Program

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $239.8 million in the Student Work Placement Program in 2021-22 to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. This funding would increase the wage subsidy available for employers to 75 per cent, up to $7,500 per student, while also increasing employers’ ability to access the program. This is expected to provide 50,000 young people (an increase of 20,000) with valuable experience-building opportunities in 2021-22.

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $109.3 million in 2022-23 for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to better meet the needs of vulnerable youth facing multiple barriers to employment, while also supporting over 7,000 additional job placements for youth. This builds on funding announced in the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, which is expected to result in over 30,600 new placements in 2021-22. This will make it easier for young people to get good jobs.

Canada Summer Jobs

  • Budget 2021 proposes to invest $371.8 million in new funding for Canada Summer Jobs in 2022-23 to support approximately 75,000 new job placements in the summer of 2022. This is in addition to 2020 Fall Economic Statement funding for approximately 94,000 additional job placements in 2021-22. In total, the Canada Summer Jobs program will support around 220,000 summer jobs over the next two years.

Proposed Legislative Changes

Measures (other than tax-related measures) that would be implemented through legislation:

Canada Community-Building Fund

On March 25, 2021, the government tabled a bill that proposes to provide $2.2 billion for a one-time top-up to the federal Gas Tax Fund, which would double the government’s commitment to municipalities and First Nations communities in 2020-21. The bill also proposes to rename the fund as the Canada Community-Building Fund. The government intends to proceed with this proposal.

Public Service Employment Act

The public sector workforce should be representative of the communities it serves. In the 2020 Speech from the Throne, the government committed to implementing an action plan to increase representation in hiring and appointments within the Public Service. The government is committed to diversity and inclusion and will review key aspects of the staffing process in hopes of removing conscious and unconscious bias and systemic barriers, with the goal of increasing representation in hiring and appointments within the Public Service.

To this end, the government will propose amendments to the Public Service Employment Act to reaffirm the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce and to strengthen provisions to address potential bias and barriers in the staffing processes.

Amendments to the Canada Elections Act

Budget 2021 proposes to introduce amendments to the Canada Elections Act to specify that making or publishing a false statement in relation to a candidate, prospective candidate, or party leader would be an offence only if the person or entity knows that the statement is false.

Establishing a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care System

Budget 2021 proposes to include in legislation a financial authority for the transfer of funding to provinces and territories in support of new bilateral agreements, including an asymmetrical agreement with Québec, towards a Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Care system, for the year 2021-22.

Reforming Student Financial Assistance

The government proposes to introduce legislation that would extend the waiver of interest accrual on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until March 31, 2023.

Annual Regulatory Modernization Bill (ARMB)

The government intends to introduce a second annual cleanup legislation to concurrently amend multiple acts to improve regulations and remove outdated or duplicative regulatory requirements that will strengthen Canada’s economic competitiveness.

Amendments to the Telecommunications Act to Facilitate Broadband Delivery

The government proposes to amend the Telecommunications Act to allow the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to share more information with federal, provincial, and territorial broadband partners and to take steps to avoid unnecessary delays in respect of CRTC decisions to allocate funding to recipients to expand access to telecommunications services in underserved areas.

Clarifying the Suspension of Interest on Student Loans Announced in the Fall Economic Statement

The government is announcing its intention to introduce legislation that will clarify the changes made to the Canada Student Loans Act, Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and Apprentice Loans Act as part of Bill C-14 in order to ensure they reflect what was announced in the Fall Economic Statement.

Protecting Canada’s Historic Places

In Budget 2021 the government proposes to introduce legislation to establish a framework for the transparent designation and sustainable protection of federally-owned historic places.

(Via Government of Canada)”

Posted on: April 22, 2021, 1:09 pm Category: Uncategorized

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