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2024 Federal Budget Wins!

Momentum has played a lead role in advocating for and supporting the advancement of these issues for many years. We are thrilled to see these changes in the 2024 Federal Budget.

  • Article
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Thu May 2, 2024 by Momentum Staff

Momentum is pleased to see the following policy announcements in the Federal 2024 budget – including many financial empowerment policy victories. These are files that Momentum has played a lead role in advocating for over many years and others that we played a supporting role in advancing.

Canada Learning Bond

  • Automatic enrollment is being introduced for children born after 2024, beginning in 2028/2029. Children who do not have a RESP opened for them by the time they turn four will have an RESP automatically opened for them and CLB payments will be auto-deposited to their account.
  • Enrollment for those who were born before 2024 is also possible but must be requested by a caregiver.
  • Approximately 130,000 additional children will receive the CLB each year as a result of this change. At $2000 per child, that’s an additional $260 million in annual education savings for low-income families.
  • The age to retroactively claim the CLB is being extended from 20 to 30 years, enabling people to pursue post secondary education funding later in life.
  • CLB eligibility continues to be income tested – the income eligibility cutoff for a family of one to three children is $53,359.

Momentum has played a lead role in advocating for strategies to increase uptake of the CLB, including automatic enrollment, since 2016.

Criminal Rate of Interest

  1. The Government reiterated the commitments it made in Budget 2023 to lower the criminal rate of interest to 35% APR.
  2. The budget signals the governments intention to additionally:
    1. Amend the Criminal Code to prohibit the offering or advertising of credit at a criminal rate of interest – empowering law enforcement to take action against predatory lenders.
    2. Amend the criminal code to remove the requirement in s. 347 (7) to obtain consent from the attorney general before commencing proceedings.
    3. Work with provinces to standardize consumer protections across Canada, including:
      1. Capping the costs of optional insurance products for high-cost loans, including payday loans;
      2. Enhancing transparency and marketing practices for high-cost and payday loans, including limiting advertising of these products;
      3. Strengthening payday loan regulations, including disclosure requirements to protect Canadians from harmful terms and conditions, including adding a minimum number of days for the loan terms, a requirement for borrowers to repay in installments, and prohibiting loan rollovers;
      4. Increasing action and harmonization on proactive approach towards lead generators; and,
      5. Enhancing monitoring and data collection practices in the high-cost loan market, including payday loans.

Momentum has played a lead role in advocating for an update to the Criminal Code -Criminal Rate of Interest since 2015.

Automatic Tax Filing

  • The File My Return program has been rebranded as SimpleFile by Phone and has increased the number of eligible Canadians to 1.5 million (double 2023 numbers) and is expected to reach two million by 2025.
  • The average low-income tax filer receives an additional $3500 in annual income as a result of filing their taxes. This means that this this policy change is estimated to deliver an estimated $5.25 billion to low-income Canadians.
  • In summer 2024 this program will be expanded to include SimpleFile Digital and SimpleFile by Paper.
  • An update by the CRA on work to expand access to benefits can be expected in fall 2024.

Momentum is a long-time advocate for Automatic Tax Filing and is pleased to see this trial program being enhanced and expanded upon in Budget 2024.

Free Financial Advice

  • Prosper Canada will receive $60 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, to expand the community-delivered financial help services available to Canadians.
  • The enhanced services are expected to help expand services to one million low- and moderate-income Canadians, helping them receive nearly $2 billion in unclaimed tax and benefit income.

Momentum actively supported Prosper Canada in making their request for $85 million and is pleased to see they have received the majority of the funding requested.

NSF Fees

  1. NSF fees will be capped at $10 per instance (can be up to $50 currently).
  2. Multiple NSF fees will be prohibited on the same transaction.
  3. A limit will be placed on the number of NSF fees that can be charged in a 72-hour period.
  4. NSF fees will be prohibited on overdrawn amounts of $10 or less.

Momentum has long advocated for the reduction or removal of NSF fees, which disproportionately impact the financial wellbeing of lower income Canadians.

Free and Affordable Bank Accounts

The FCAC is working with financial institutions to secure agreements to offer $0 to $4 bank accounts that include higher transaction limits and expanded eligibility.

Banking Fairness and Complaints Resolution

As of November 1 2024, the Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments will act as a single external complaints handling body, providing a independent, and transparent complaints resolution body for Canadians experiencing banking issues.

Student Aid and Designated Learning Institutions

  1. The Government will review the designated education institutions status of private learning institutions for the purposes of the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.
  2. More details will be announced in the 2024 fall economic statement.

To learn more about Momentum’s work, position, and advocacy on any of these files, visit our Policy, Research and Evaluation page.