Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told Finance Minister Bill Morneau to meet with his provincial and territorial counterparts as soon as possible to start enhancing the CPP.
The instruction was one of the top priorities Trudeau listed in his mandate letter to Morneau, which were made public Nov. 13. Mandate letters are given by the PM to Cabinet ministers at the start of their terms. They are used to establish a minister’s core agenda, and his or her success is judged by how much of the mandate letter he or she is able to accomplish.
Read: Who is Bill Morneau?
Another top file in the pages-long letter include implementing the middle-class tax cut, while eliminating income splitting. In fact, the letter suggests the Finance department and other ministries will review “tax expenditures and other spending to reduce poorly targeted and inefficient measures.”
Advisors should also expect a reform of tax credits for post-secondary education, as the Finance department works to make education more affordable for low- and middle-income families.
Plans to remove the GST on new capital investments in rental housing, and modernized the Home Buyers’ Plan, are also mentioned in the letter. Morneau will also work with CRA minister Diane Lebouthillier and other ministers to implement tax changes relating to charities, teachers, labour-sponsored pension funds, and more.
“As Minister of Finance, your overarching goal will be to use the fiscal and budgeting tools at our disposal to implement our New Plan for a Strong Middle Class,” writes Trudeau. “That plan is grounded in the understanding that a healthy economy starts with a strong and growing middle class and that we must invest to strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it.”
In the letter, Trudeau reminds Morneau: “We made a commitment to invest in growing our economy, strengthening the middle class, and helping those working hard to join it. We committed to provide more direct help to those who need it by giving less to those who do not.”
The PM also says he expects Morneau will consult with all Parliamentarians, public service, civil society, business, organized labour and Canadians at large before implementing policies. He also signaled that there the Canadians shouldn’t be surprised by any of the government’s measures.
“Our platform guides our government,” he writes. “Over the course of our four-year mandate, I expect us to deliver on all of our commitments.”
The full list of top priorities that Trudeau provided Morneau:
- Ensure that our fiscal plan is sustainable by meeting our fiscal anchors of balancing the budget in 2019/20 and continuing to reduce the federal debt-to-GDP ratio throughout our mandate.
- Implement the middle-class tax cut and pay for it by asking the wealthiest one percent of Canadians to give a little more.
- Cancel income splitting and other unfairly targeted tax breaks, while retaining income splitting of pensions for seniors.
- Support the Minister of Children, Families and Social Development with the implementation of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), which will build on the existing Canada Child Tax Benefit and the National Child Benefit Supplement and will replace the Universal Child Care Benefit.
- Meet with your provincial and territorial colleagues at your earliest opportunity to begin a process to enhance the Canada Pension Plan to provide more income security to Canadians when they retire.
- Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour in delivering on our plan to make post-secondary education more affordable for students from low- and middle-income families.
- Work with the President of the Treasury Board and your Ministerial colleagues to conduct a review of tax expenditures and other spending to reduce poorly targeted and inefficient measures, wasteful spending, and government initiatives that are ineffective or have outlived their purpose.
- Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to ensure any unspent infrastructure funds are automatically transferred to municipalities through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund.
- Remove the GST on new capital investments in rental housing and modernize the existing Home Buyers’ Plan to support Canadians impacted by sudden and significant life changes.
- Work with the Minister of National Revenue to allow charities to do their work on behalf of Canadians free from political harassment, and modernize the rules governing the charitable and non-for-profit sectors. This will include clarifying the rules governing “political activity,” with an understanding that charities make an important contribution to public debate and public policy. A new legislative framework to strengthen the sector will emerge from this process.
- Work with the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities to develop the Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide low-cost financing (including loan guarantees) for new municipal infrastructure projects in our priority investment areas.
- Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour in improving and modernizing Employment Insurance and the job training system.
- Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to ensure that EI contributions are only used to fund EI programs.
- Work with the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to provide a 12-month break on Employment Insurance premiums for firms that hire new younger workers into permanent positions in 2016, 2017, or 2018.
- Work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to establish a new fiscal relationship that lifts the 2% cap on annual funding increases and moves towards sufficient, predictable and sustained funding for First Nations communities.
- Work with the Minister of Natural Resources to enhance existing tax measures to generate more clean technology investments and work with the provinces and territories to make Canada’s tax system highly competitive for investments in the research, development, and manufacturing of clean technology.
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in creating a new Low Carbon Economy Trust to help fund projects that materially reduce carbon emissions under the new pan-Canadian framework.
- Work with the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to fulfill our G20 commitment and phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the medium-term.
- Develop proposals to allow a Canadian Exploration Expenses tax deduction only in cases of unsuccessful exploration and re-direct any savings to investments in new and clean technologies.
- Work with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to ensure tax measures are efficient and encourage innovation, trade and the growth of Canadian businesses.
- Work with the Ministers of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and International Trade to develop appropriate investments and strategies for the auto sector to adjust to Canada’s potential participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Work with the President of Treasury Board to make government accounting and financial reporting more consistent, transparent and understandable to Canadians. This should include providing costing analysis for all proposed legislation and receiving Parliamentary approval for borrowing plans.
- Restore the tax credit for labour-sponsored funds to support economic growth and help Canadians save for their retirement.
- Introduce a new tax benefit to help teachers and early childhood educators with the cost of school supplies.
- Enhance the Northern Benefit Deduction to help northern Canadians with the high cost of living and support the growth of northern economies.
- Work with the Ministers of International Trade and International Development and La Francophonie on development financing issues.
- Repeal the Federal Balanced Budget Act.