The Government of Canada passed their latest budget on April 26th, paving the way for historic investments to weather the ongoing storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, and build a foundation for a strong recovery in the months and years to come.
Here are some of ways the 2021 Federal Budget will impact the Momentum community.
1) Supporting financial stability and security
The federal government will extend many of the programs it introduced last year to support individuals throughout the pandemic. These include changes that expand access to Employment Insurance and making the Canada Recovery Benefits available until September.
More workers earning low wages will qualify for the Canada Workers Benefit, students from families with low incomes could access up to $6,000 towards their post-secondary studies through the Canada Student Grant, and seniors will see a boost to their Old Age Security benefits.
Finally, after years of advocacy, and with renewed media attention, the federal government has committed to reviewing the criminal rate of interest that applies to high-cost credit products like installment loans.
2) Getting People Back to Work
Employment rates continue to rise but there are still more people out of work compared to before the pandemic. The budget includes programs to encourage employers to build back their workforce with the training and skills needed for a strong economy. New programs like Sectoral Workforce Solutions and Community Workforce Development will prioritize training opportunities for people from groups that have been underrepresented in the workforce, while Skills for Success will prioritize literacy, numeracy, and transferable soft skills.
The Government of Canada has also pledged a historic investment in early learning and child care. Families with children have struggled for decades to find quality, affordable childcare that meets their needs and their budgets – and the pandemic made the struggle even harder. The federal government will be working with provinces to increase the number of childcare spaces and reduce the cost to $10/day in the next five years.
3) Supporting Community Businesses
To support businesses from the ongoing unpredictability of the pandemic, the government extended several COVID emergency supports like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Rent Subsidy and Lockdown Support, and the Canada Emergency Business Account.
After a delay in launching the Social Finance Fund, social enterprises will have access to $220 million over the next two years to finance growth and increase their impact. Additional supports for entrepreneurs will be available through Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program, Venture Capital Catalyst, Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, Black Entrepreneurship Program, and funding for Regional Development Agencies.
Small and medium-sized business can receive training and micro-grants through the new Canada Digital Adoption program to incorporate digital technologies into their operations. At the same time, the government will explore ways to reduce credit card transaction fees.