2016 Federal Budget good news for Canadians living in poverty

24 March 2016
Yesterday’s 2016 federal budget, entitled Growing the Middle Class, was good news for many Canadians with low and modest incomes, containing many positive changes and investments in income supports, post-secondary education financing, youth employment, transit, affordable housing, and infrastructure and programs to support a renewed relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.
 
While the Budget Plan paints a sobering picture of the Canadian economy, rising income inequality, and growing financial pressures facing many Canadian families, it also clearly commits the government to a course of significant investment in families, communities, and a more innovation-based economy for the future. Investments targeted to Canada’s Indigenous peoples and households with low incomes are likely to support real and immediate gains in the fight against poverty and inequality, while the government works with stakeholders on longer term strategies to build stronger, more inclusive communities.  
 
Prosper Canada was excited to see the commitment of important new funding to connect Canadians with low incomes to income benefits they are eligible for, but not getting. Access to benefits through tax filing assistance and other supports is one of the fastest means to help people with low incomes to boost their income and financial wellbeing.  We look forward to working with the Canada Revenue Agency and the government more broadly to make real headway in this area over the coming year.
 
The upcoming financial sector legislative review is another important opportunity to engage Canadians on the question of what it means to be financially included in today’s financial marketplace and what changes may be needed to ensure fairness for all financial consumers and protection for those who are most vulnerable to discriminatory, predatory and abusive practices. We look forward to engaging with the government and our stakeholders on these important topics once we know more about the timelines and process for this review.
 
In the meantime, we invite you to read our summary of key highlights from the 2016 federal budget. This focuses on budget commitments that particularly affect people living in or at risk of poverty, and the community organizations that support them. 
 
To read more about these commitments, you can access the full 2016 Budget speech, plan and related documents at: www.budget.gc.ca