On April 19, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland delivered the federal government’s 2021 budget, which is organized into ten priorities (chapters), spread over four parts and centred around three themes:
- Conquer COVID
- Punch our way out of the COVID recession
- Build a better, fairer, more prosperous, more innovative future
The budget delivers on the commitment made in the Fall Economic Statement that the government would spend up to $100 billion over three years to support Canada's economic recovery, including extending the wage subsidy, rent subsidy, and Lockdown Support for businesses and other employers until September 25, 2021. The budget also proposes a new Canada Recovery Hiring Program, which will run from June to November and will provide $595 million to make it easier for businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones.
The deficit for 2020-2021 was $354 billion. The deficit is anticipated to fall to $155 billion in 2021-22 and be down to $30.7 billion by 2025-26.
The budget contains support for several areas of interest to AUMA members:
Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years to the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects. These investments will accelerate work to reach the goal of 98% of the country having high-speed broadband by 2026 and 100% by 2030.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $2.5 billion over seven years to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. This includes an additional $1.5 billion for the Rapid Housing Initiative and $600 million over seven years to renew and expand the Affordable Housing Innovation Fund.
In addition to these investments, Budget 2021 proposes to advance and reallocate $1.3 billion of previously announced funding, including $1 billion in funding under the National Housing Co-Investment Fund and $300 million in funding from the Rental Construction Financing Initiative.
Budget 2021 proposes new investments totalling up to $30 billion over the next five years and $8.3 billion ongoing for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care. The federal government will work with provincial, territorial, and Indigenous partners to build a Canada-wide, community-based system of child care with the goal of bringing fees for regulated child care down to an average of $10/day within the next five years, including aiming to achieve a 50% reduction in average fees for regulated early learning and child care by the end of 2022.
Infrastructure & Transit:
Budget 2021 reiterated the commitment made on February 10, 2021 to provide $14.9 billion over eight years for public transit projects across Canada. This included new permanent funding of $3 billion per year for communities across Canada, beginning in 2026-27.
The budget also highlighted legislation tabled on March 25, 2021 that proposes a one-time investment of $2.2 billion to address infrastructure priorities in municipalities and Indigenous communities. This funding would be delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund - which will be renamed the Canada Community-Building Fund - and would double the federal government’s regular funding for municipalities and Indigenous communities in 2020-21, with Alberta’s share being $255 million. AUMA will engage Alberta Municipal Affairs to ensure all municipalities see an increase in their Gas Tax Funds.