Trudeau Unveils Dental Care details, boosts rent benefit, GST rebate
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a package of new measures to help Canadians cope with steeply rising prices, as his governing Liberals face increasing political pressure to mitigate the cost-of-living crisis.
The government will double for a period of six months a sales tax rebate received by low-income earners, at a cost of $2.5 billion. It will also top up a housing benefit for renters, worth about $700 million in additional spending.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the government’s first pieces of legislation introduced in the upcoming Parliamentary sitting would make life more affordable for Canadians who need it most.
The measures in these bills would:
- Double the Goods and Services Tax Credit (GSTC) for six months, delivering support to roughly 11 million individuals and families who receive the tax credit, including about half of Canadian families with children, and more than half of Canadian seniors. Single Canadians without children would receive up to an extra $234 and couples with two children would receive up to an extra $467 in their pockets this year. Seniors would receive an extra $225 on average.
- Provide a Canada Dental Benefit to children under 12 who do not have access to dental insurance, starting this year. Direct payments totalling up to $1,300 per child over the next two years (up to $650 per year) would be provided for dental care services. This is the first stage of the government’s plan to deliver dental coverage for families with income under $90,000, and will allow children under 12 to get the dental care they need while we develop a comprehensive national dental care program.
- Provide a one-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit to deliver $500 to 1.8 million Canadian renters who are struggling with the cost of housing. This more than doubles our Budget 2022 commitment, reaching twice as many Canadians as initially promised. This new one-time federal benefit will be in addition to the Canada Housing Benefit currently co-funded and delivered by provinces and territories. The federal benefit will be available to applicants with an adjusted net income below $35,000 for families, or below $20,000 for individuals, who pay at least 30 per cent of their income on rent.
These measures build on the strong action we have been taking since 2015 to make life more affordable and build an economy that works for all Canadians. From cutting taxes for the middle class and raising them on the wealthiest one per cent, to delivering a Canada Child Benefit and raising it every year to continue putting more money back in the pockets of nine out of 10 families with children, to cutting regulated child care fees in half on average by the end of this year for families across the country, we are delivering support for the middle class and those working hard to join it, according to a press release.
Unlike many of his global peers, Trudeau has avoided taking new measures to ease the burden of rising prices, even with inflation at its highest level since the early 1980s, in part because of concerns more spending could stoke inflation. But it’s becoming become increasingly difficult to hold off, particularly after Pierre Poilievre’s resounding victory in this weekend’s Conservative Party leadership election.
The populist firebrand focused relentlessly on the cost of living during his campaign and will be hammering hard on the prime minister’s unprecedented pandemic spending when parliament resumes sitting next week.
“From helping families pay rent to making sure people can afford the dental care they need and putting hundreds of dollars back in the pockets of Canadians, this suite of new measures will support families who need it the most, when they need it the most. As we head into a new Parliamentary sitting, we are working hard to continue delivering results for the middle class and those working hard to join it,” said the prime minister.