Press release: Budget 2016

Significant progress, glaring omissions 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON: March 22, 2016 — The 2016 Federal Budget, released today by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, includes significant measures that work to advance public justice in Canada. However, Citizens for Public Justice, noted that this budget fails to live up to the federal government’s commitments to national plans to combat poverty in Canada and the effects of climate change.

Read CPJ’s full budget response here.

On poverty in Canada, CPJ was pleased to see the introduction of the Canada Child Benefit. Sadly, the budget did not include the promised Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.

While Budget 2016 acknowledged Canada’s Paris commitments and included preliminary funding to support the development of “the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change,” it falls short on fossil fuel subsidies and putting a price on carbon.

Refugees, especially those from Syria, have been at the front of the government’s agenda since the moment the Liberals stepped into office. CPJ is happy to see that the federal budget has pledged $245 million over five years to resettle an additional 10,000 government-assisted Syrian refugees by the end of 2016. Budget 2016 has also proposed an additional $25 million in 2016-17 to target the refugee resettlement backlog and to reduce application processing times.

With spending due to rise, Canada’s ability to pay for the type of society we need must also be enhanced. Unless future budgets find the revenue to pay for social benefits, the only other option is for governments to revert to often painful spending cuts.  There was no indication in “Growing the Middle Class” as to how our government will face this revenue challenge over the medium term. And yet, for the good of all, it is a challenge we must address.

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For more information, contact Brad Wassink at brad@cpj.ca or 613-232-0275 x. 225.