Minister touts budget benefits

·3 min read

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Federal Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino toured Thunder Bay on April 12, and spoke with business owners about what his government says are the benefits of the 2022 federal budget.

Mendicino said he wanted to highlight how the budget lowers taxes for small businesses, like the Kitchen Nook and Finnish Bookstore.

“Budget 2022 seeks to ease the burden on small businesses that have created local jobs right here for many years, and are providing important services and supports to the local economy here in Thunder Bay,” he said.

Mendicino said the budget supports people who live in Canada’s North, with a housing strategy that includes $4 million for Indigenous housing.

“There are many, many Canadians, including Indigenous people who are also still struggling to get into that first home,” he said.

“Our housing strategy looks to provide additional stimulus on the supply side. So there are more houses and affordable homes here in Northern Ontario.”

Federal funding has been set aside to “literally double” the total number of new housing starts over the next decade. The high demand for housing will be met by extending the tax credit and the loan possibilities for first-time homeowners to make it “easier for them to walk through the door to their first home,” the minister said.

“We are expanding tax credits, up to $7,500 so (homeowners) can have a little bit more help in financing those home renovations,” he said.

Challenges around cost of living are being met through an agreement with the province for the reduction of child care costs by 50 per cent before the end of this year, significantly increasing the number of spaces for child care for young families and maintaining the Canada child benefit plan that provides up to $7,000 per child per year, tax free.

“When you combine the investments that we’re making around housing, as well as child care, it is ambitious, and that’s the way we create jobs and growth going forward,” he said.

And Mendicino says the national strategy for critical minerals specifically puts Northern Ontario on the map.

“That is going to be a game-changer for the Ring of Fire, which produces many critical minerals including lithium, which are going to be then used to propel us in the next generation of vehicles and the batteries that go into them,” he said.

The minister says in order to meet the challenges of climate change, people “need to make the transition” to using more electric vehicles.

The national strategic approach ties together the relative strengths from different regions and “pieces them together” using critical minerals from Northern Ontario. These minerals can then be used in batteries which will be made in Windsor to make that next generation of vehicles.

“I think Northern Ontario and the Thunder Bay region can be absolutely certain that the federal government is going to continue to invest in Northern Ontario in our critical minerals so that we can drive our economy — going forward — to create more jobs,” he added. “And Northern Ontario can be assured that the federal government will be there to support small businesses by lowering their taxes . . . and be sure the federal government will be there to support families and Canadians who need additional support to meet the challenges around inflation and increases the cost of living through the Canada child benefit plan . . . and our national housing strategy.”

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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