Budget 2017 inches forward on poverty and climate

Government plan includes cautious forward movement for low-income Canadians and refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON: March 22, 2017 — Federal Budget 2017 inches forward but requires Canadians to continue to wait for full measures that address poverty in Canada and climate change.

“With Budget 2017, Finance Minister Bill Morneau has made tentative financial commitments to key priorities identified in their consultations on housing and climate change, though not on international development,” said CPJ’s executive director Joe Gunn.

“However, the government’s spending priorities fail to understand the depth of the problems of poverty in Canada, climate change, and the concerns of refugees and newcomers – leaving them for our children to resolve.”

This year’s budget makes positive steps for those carrying the burden of poverty in Canada, including investments in affordable housing and supports for families and Indigenous people. Yet many of these investments are spread over several years. With the federal government beginning the development of strategies on both housing and poverty, it is critical that they address the most urgent needs of those living in poverty.  

For the first time, the federal government has built a climate plan based on national consultations, established an important whole-of-government approach to implementation, and followed this with budget allocations. Unfortunately, however, very little of the identified funding will flow in this current budget year. 

CPJ is glad to see the government commit $27.7 million to resettle 1,200 Yazidi refugees from Northern Iraq and Syria, as promised in 2016. CPJ had hoped to see a financial commitment to reduce application processing times and to enhance resettlement from other parts of the world as well.

In Building a Strong Middle Class, the government has declined to move ahead resolutely on these key issues. Instead, Budget 2017 proposes cautious actions that delay meaningful change on these critical problems facing Canada today.

Read CPJ’s full budget response here.

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