Second reading of Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit)

By: The Hon. Jane Cordy

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Peace Tower and Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Jane Cordy: Thank you, Senator Loffreda, for an excellent detailed speech on Bill C-30 and the comments that you made. Your background as a banker certainly shone through during your speech, and that’s a positive thing. I’m also very pleased that you answered all the questions, so I’m sure there are no questions left to be asked.

Honourable senators, I rise today to speak briefly to Bill C-30, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (temporary enhancement to the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax credit).

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to double the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax, or GST/HST, credit for six months, effectively increasing the maximum annual GST/HST credit amounts by 50% for the 2022-23 benefit year.

The GST credit is targeted to Canadians who need it the most, and that came through in a lot of the questions that were asked earlier of Senator Loffreda. Those with family incomes of $39,821 or less in 2021 receive the full credit, and the GST credit is lowered as incomes rise. As we heard from the minister last week, single Canadians with no children would receive $234 more, and families with two children almost $500 more. As well, seniors will receive an additional $225. This would help almost 11 million Canadian households, in answer to your question, Senator Dupuis.

The world we are living in today is rife with uncertainty — uncertainty about how people will be able to afford their groceries, their rent, and things like transportation to get back and forth to work, whether that is travelling by public transportation or buying gas for their car.

The worldwide pandemic presented many challenges to the supply system for goods and services. Coming out of the pandemic meant the need for goods and services started to climb, which increased costs. The resulting inflationary pressures on Canada worsened — indeed, as it did right across the globe.

The continuing war in Ukraine has also taken its toll on world prices. This unprovoked action by Vladimir Putin has been devastating to the people of Ukraine and to their families around the world. We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine who are fighting for their country against the dictatorial actions of a despot.

Honourable senators, according to the Bank of Canada, inflation in Canada peaked at 8.1% in June 2022, and it has declined for both July and August. However, it is still expected to remain high, which will make life difficult for many Canadians. This bill is one way that the federal government is trying to help Canadians and their families weather the economic storm we are living in today.

According to the Department of Finance, the Affordability Plan is a suite of measures totalling $12.1 billion in new support in 2022 to help make life more affordable for millions of Canadians. They include such things as enhancing the Canada workers benefit, a 10% increase to Old Age Security, helping Canadians afford their rent and dental care for Canadian children under the age of 12. It also includes this bill, Bill C-30, which will double the GST tax credit for six months. Together, these measures will help a great many people in Canada by providing financial relief.

As the Governor of the Bank of Canada said last week in Halifax, “Plain and simple, high inflation feeds frustration and creates a sense of helplessness.”

Through the help provided in this bill and the other measures the government has taken and will take, we will get through this time of economic uncertainty and allay those feelings that so many Canadians are experiencing.

Inflation is painful. As the famed businessman Warren Buffett once said, inflation “swindles almost everybody.” But, honourable senators, we know that inflation hurts the vulnerable the most.

We have been through inflationary periods before. We have weathered this type of economic storm in the past. But, honourable senators, we must remember that inflation, as I said earlier, affects our most vulnerable the most. Therefore, bills like Bill C-30 are important.

Bill C-30 and other measures are part of the government’s affordability package that is designed to help the most vulnerable through this economic crisis.

We will get through this again. The strength of Canadians is boundless. I am hopeful that you will support this legislation. I am also looking forward to receiving more legislation that will provide additional support to low-income Canadians.

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