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It's Your Money  

Did the budget help you?

The Liberal government released it long overdue federal budget on April 19.

While there is not enough room here to go into detail on each item contained in the 729-page document, I wanted to highlight some key items that are being proposed that will affect your personal financial planning:

*Note that these measures are not yet voted into law.

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) will be extended for an additional 12 weeks to provide a maximum benefit of 50 weeks. The first four weeks will be paid at the current rate of $500 per week, with the subsequent eight additional weeks paid at a rate of $300 a week.

Budget 2021 also proposes to extend the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) an additional four weeks to provide a maximum benefit period of 42 weeks at a rate of $500 a week.

The budget further proposes legislative amendments to allow for additional extensions of the CRB and CRCB as needed until no later than Nov. 20, 2021.

For business owners, they are proposing to extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until Sept. 25, 2021. The applicable subsidy rate will gradually decrease as part of a phase-out of the program.

In addition, business owners taking advantage of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) will see an extension until Sept. 25, 2021 as well. Similar to the CEWS, a gradual phase-out of the program will result in the decrease of the rate of subsidy available in each subsequent period.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been enhanced. This program provides small businesses with an interest free loan for non-deferrable expenses up to $60,000. A third of the loan is forgivable if the remaining amounts of the loan are repaid by Dec. 31, 2022.

The Canada Recover Hiring Program (CRHP) will provide a subsidy of up to 50% (also declining over time) on the incremental remuneration paid to eligible employees between June 6, 2021 and Nov. 20, 2021. An employer can apply for the CEWS or CRHP but not both in a particular qualifying period.

Budget 2021 announced the intention to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, indexed for inflation, to support workers in the federally regulated private sector.

Homeowners and landlords will be able to access interest-free loans of up to $40,000 for undertaking certain deep home energy retrofits identified through an authorized EnerGuide energy assessment. These loans are intended to help finance more costly retrofits such as replacing windows and doors, installing high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters, or making insulation improvements.

There is a proposed increase to Old Age Security (OAS) benefits for seniors aged 75 or older. The first step will be a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to OAS pensioners who are 75 or older as of June 2022. The second step will involve increasing the regular OAS payments (again for 75 and over only) by 10% beginning in July 2022.

Proposed changes to the list of mental functions of every-day life that is used for the assessment for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) are aimed to ease assessment, reduce delays and improve access to benefits. Those that did not previously qualify should look to see if they now can do so.

The introduction of a luxury tax on the retail sale of select automobiles, planes and boats was also proposed. The new tax will be effective as of Jan. 1 2022 and apply to automobiles and planes priced over $100,000 and boats over $250,000.

The excise duty rates for tobacco products are increasing effective immediately and there was also a proposal to implement a new tax on vaping products in 2022.

Vacant or underused property owned by non-residents of Canada will face a new one per cent annual federal tax starting in January 2022.

While certainly not exhaustive, the above list shows the main changes proposed in the federal budget that will affect your bottom line in the short term.

Make sure you are taking full advantage of the programs available to you and to ensure that your plan is as tax-efficient as possible.

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About the Author

Brett, designated as a chartered investment manager and certified financial planner, is the regional director (Okanagan) for IG Wealth Management.

In addition to his “day job," Brett was appointed to the board of directors of FP Canada (formerly FPSC) in 2014, named as the board’s vice-chair in 2017 and took over as board chairman in 2019. 

Brett has been writing a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges that they face in every stage of life.

Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority of Brett’s and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer and on the regulatory side through the FP Canada board focus on this initiative.   

Please let Brett know if you have any topics that you’d like him to cover in future columns by emailing him at [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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