OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is expected to release its budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year on Tuesday.
Here’s a look at three big things to expect:
Investments in the clean economy
Ottawa is expected to make big investments in clean energy and technology in the upcoming budget as it tries to keep competitive in the transition toward a greener economy.
Canada’s main competitor is the United States, which decided last summer to invest nearly US$400 billion over ten years in the Inflation Reduction Act.
The law targets that investment in key areas tied to the clean economy: critical minerals, battery manufacturing, electric vehicles and renewable energy, including hydrogen.
As part of Canada’s efforts to keep up, the government is expected to introduce new tax credits in the budget that would encourage the development of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
Promises on affordability
The Liberals have sought to signal that more help is on the way for vulnerable Canadians who are struggling with the cost of living.
In a speech delivered in Oshawa, Ont. last Monday, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the budget would include targeted inflation relief. But she warned the federal government won’t have the capacity to compensate all Canadians for the rise in prices caused by global inflation.
The NDP has called on the federal government to extend the temporary boost to the GST rebate that was offered in the fall. When he was recently asked about the potential move, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say if it was in the cards.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has also called for federal funding for school lunches.
Following a U.S. decision to target hidden and unexpected consumer fees, the government intends to include its own crackdown on “junk fees” in the budget.
Big health-care spending
Last month, the federal government offered provinces and territories nearly $200 billion in funding for health care over the next 10 years. The spending on those agreements is expected to be allocated in the upcoming budget.
But the NDP, which agreed to support the Liberal minority government on key votes in exchange for movement on its priorities, is looking for far bigger commitments on the health front.
As part of the deal, the Liberals have already agreed to create a federally funded and administered dental care program this year. It would replace the dental benefit for children in low-income families that was rolled out in the fall.
The agreement also commits the Liberals to passing legislation to create a national pharmacare program by the end of 2023.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2023.
Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press