NEW – Federal: COVID-19 relief and prosperity themes of federal budget
On April 19, Federal Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland tabled the first federal budget in more than two years. The budgetary deficit for fiscal year 2020-21, was $354.2 billion – 49 per cent of the GDP.
The three main themes of the budget included:
- finishing the fight against COVID-19,
- healing the economic wounds left by the COVID-19 recession, and
- creating more jobs and prosperity.
Of interest to the propane industry is the extension of the pandemic support programs for businesses and individuals until at least September.
They include the:
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy,
- Canada Recovery Benefit, and
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.
Overlapping with this programming is a new Canada Recovery Hiring Program that will run from June to November and will provide $595 million to incentivize businesses to hire back laid-off workers or to bring on new ones.
The Budget also proposes to invest $8.9 billion over six years in additional support for low-wage workers, establish a $15/hour federal minimum wage, and extend the EI sickness benefit from 15 to 26 weeks.
Other items of interest
An additional $1.5 billion is being allocated to the Rapid Housing Initiative and $6 billion allotted for Indigenous infrastructure. The budget also refers to investing in clean energy in northern communities. The CPA will relay the details on these programs as they are made available.
The budget outlines the introduction of a Low-Carbon Fuel Procurement Program. The CPA will be reviewing the details and possible applications to propane once they become available.
Budget 2021 recognizes that changes to the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPA) are needed, which is an important step. Presently, propane is not excluded from this federal carbon tax for agriculture applications or for remote power generation, unlike gasoline and diesel. The challenge is that it appears the solution outlined in the budget focuses on rebates to farmers as opposed to tax exemptions. Also, it is not clear what agriculture applications apply and there is no mention of remote power generation. The CPA will look to continue discussions with the Department of Finance to pursue adequate changes to the GGPPA.
For additional information on the federal budget, contact V-P Government Relations, Allan Murphy at email@example.com.