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The Ministry of Finance has unveiled the 2023 budget, which outlines several measures to attempt to address issues such as healthcare, affordable housing and inflation.
Some key takeaways from the budget for Canadians include a one-time grocery rebate, a crack-down on “hidden junk fees”, investments in healthcare and dental, and more.
Some inflation relief is on the way for 11 million low and modest income Canadians in the form of a grocery rebate. The rebate would provide an extra $467 for eligible couples with two children; an extra $234 for single Canadians without children; and an extra $225 for seniors, on average.
The budget includes $13 billion over five years to move forwards with the new Canadian Dental Care Plan.
Budget 2023 proposes to provide $13 billion over five years, starting in 2023-24, and $4.4 billion ongoing, to Health Canada to implement the new dental care plan, which will provide dental coverage for uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000, with no copays for those with family incomes under $70,000.
The plan would begin providing coverage by the end of 2023 and will be administered by Health Canada, with support from a third-party benefits administrator.
Also allocated in the budget is a $250 million investment into a fund that would reduce barriers to accessing dental care for those living in rural and remote communities, starting in 2025-26.
For the public health care system, the 2023 budget delivers $198.3 billion to reduce backlogs and expand access to family health services. $46.2 billion in new funding is on the way to provinces and territories through new Canada Health Transfer measures. The ministry of finance says the fund is to be used to improve and enhance the health care, not to be used by provinces and territories in place of their planned health care spending.
Additionally, the federal government is promising $2 billion over 10 years to support Indigenous health priorities, which will be distributed on a distinctions basis through the Indigenous Health Equity Fund.
Some other healthcare highlights include:
The federal government says they are building on significant investments made in last year’s budget to address affordable housing.
One new measure includes a tax-free first home savings account that will launch on April 1, 2023. The savings account for first time home buyers was a commitment made in 2022, and will give people the opportunity to save $40,000 on a tax-free basis. Like a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), contributions will be tax-deductible, and withdrawals to purchase a first home—including from investment income—will be non-taxable, like a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA). Tax-free in; tax-free out.
In addition, the budget goes over intentions to boost construction of new affordable housing, new protections for mortgage-holders, investing in an Indigenous housing strategy and more.
The 2023 budget promises to crack down on “hidden junk fees”, such as higher telecom roaming charges, event and concert fees, excessive baggage fees, and unjustified shipping and freight fees. The budget says the government will do this by “strengthening existing tools or creating new ones,” including through new legislative amendments.
To check out the full 2023 budget, click here.