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March 21, 2016

Here’s what people will be looking for in the federal budget

Here are some of the things that various sectors should look out for in the upcoming federal budget announcement

The Liberal government is expected to announce on Tuesday a new federal budget with a deficit in the area of about $30 billion.

There’s been a lot of concern about that huge deficit but a number of economists calculate that Canada could actually absorb a much larger deficit and that it may not be even enough to push the economy along and pull down the unemployment rate.

Here are some of the things that various sectors should look out for in the upcoming budget announcement.

Employers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised $40 million a year to aid business owners to create co-op placements for students in science, engineering, technology, math, and business.

The Liberals also promised $10 million to expand apprenticeship programs and $25 million to bring back the Youth Service Program that will provide the youth with work experience in community projects

The party also promised a 12-month break on employment insurance premiums to businesses that hire workers between the ages of 18 and 24 into permanent positions in 2016, 2017 or 2017.

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Students

The Liberals said they will increase the Canada Student Grants for low-income students to $3,000 per year for full-time students and $1,800 for part-time students.

High-income earners

The Liberal party said it will make sure that Canadian Controlled Private Corporation status “is not used to reduce income tax obligation for high-income earners rather than supporting small businesses.”

A University of Ottawa study estimates that some $500 million a year is lost as high-income individuals use CCPC status as an income splitting tool.

There are now some worries that the government will restrict the ability of some professionals to use income splitting with a spouse or partner or adult children.

Stock options

During the elections, the Liberals promised to limit the benefits of the 50 per cent employee stocl option deductions. They said they would place a $100,000 cap on annual eligible stock option gains. Recently, there have been news reports that Finance Minister Bill Morneau might postpone or drop such a change.

Capital gains

Investors want to know if the Liberals will increase the capital gains inclusion rate from 50 per cent to 66 per cent or even more.

Staying the course

The Liberals are aiming for a pretty aggressive increase in the deficit, but many economists are aching to find out just how big the deficit will be and where the government will spend the money on.

Stephen Gordon of Laval University told MacLean’s he wants to know if the Liberals will be able to their spending program.

“…I will be paying close attention paying close attention to where the end point of the Conservative’s baseline compares to where the Liberals plan to be in five years,” he said.

Trevor Tombe of the University of Calgary wonders if the federal government will be able to respond to calls for help from provinces like Alberta and Newfoundland that have budget challenges that will remain difficult for some time.

“In our federation, the fiscal challenges of one government can affect the others,” he told MacLean’s. “Will the feds respond? And if so, how?”

 

About this author

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Nestor Arellano

Nestor is a Toronto-based journalist who specializes in writing about technology and business. He is the editor of Vanguard Magazine and the associate editor of IT in Canada and a regular contributor to CGE.

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