Budget 2017: What the federal finance minister said about Toronto's biggest concerns

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Budget 2017: What the federal finance minister said about Toronto's biggest concerns

The federal budget, unveiled Wednesday, promises billions of dollars for affordable housing, transit and childcare. But how will those funds, set to be rolled out in the coming years, affect life day-to-day for Torontonians? CBC Toronto's Metro Morning spoke to Finance Minister Bill Morneau about what he believes his budget's impact will be.

Public Transit

The Public Transit Tax Credit, a GTA favourite that was worth about $200, was cut as part of the new budget.

"That tax credit… was intended to increase public transit ridership. It's not having that impact," said Morneau. "What we are doing is making very significant investments in public transit around our country."

$20 billion has been promised for transit projects over the next decade, and Morneau argued this will make the biggest difference in drawing more people to public transit, including in Toronto.

Though the transit tax credit was likely used by many in Toronto, the minister said that tax credits don't serve the entire population.

"Some people can't get tax credits if they're not paying taxes," he said.

Childcare

Morneau said help is on the way for families crunched by a lack of affordable childcare spots in the city in the form of a $7 billion pledge to create 40,000 new daycare spaces.

"That $7 billion is a significant investment," he said, adding that other measures taken by the government to boost the number of jobs in the country and look at ways to increase the number of women in the workforce will also have a positive impact.

The daycare spaces "are the foundation of our national childcare strategy," said Morneau.

"What you'll see from this moment forward is Jean-Yves Duclos, our minister responsible for this, will be coming out to talk to the various levels of government to think about how we can actually turn this funding into real support for families across the country."

Housing

Morneau told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that the federal government has taken measures to help Toronto's red hot market, including "significant" investments in affordable housing — $11.2 billion over 11 years for a national housing strategy.

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa had asked Morneau to consider an increase in the capital gains tax that would mean higher taxes for people with second homes, a request which Morneau has delayed responding to.

On Metro Morning, he said that more solutions will have to come from provincial and municipal levels.

"In terms of the federal initiatives, we have taken action. We've increased down payments required for high-end homes, we've put on stress tests for mortgages to make sure people take mortgages that are appropriate. There are other measures that provincial and local levels of government can consider, issues like supply."

"We can't just think about one part of the country — our measures are national."