At 4 p.m. today Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled the Conservative government's budget, which aims at eliminating the $25.9 billion federal deficit by 2015, just in time for the next election.
Here are 5 fast facts you need to know.
Today is budget day in Canada, whereby our govt releases & implements its comprehensive (sequester-free) fiscal plan. Americans: take note!
— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) March 21, 2013
— Jim Flaherty (@JimFlaherty) March 21, 2013
1. More Money For Veterans
In a move sure to make members of the Canadian Armed Forces happy, the federal budget proposed an additional $65 million over two years to enhance the funeral and burial programme for vets.
The extra funding will more than double funeral reimbursement costs from $3,600 to $7,376.
2. New Snitch Line And Rewards For Those Who Turn In Tax Cheats
Flaherty estimates the new measures to sniff out tax evaders and cheats could pull in $300 million in revenue this year alone.
For the first time ever, Ottawa is set to offer rewards for tips that help track down Canadians shielding money in foreign tax havens. The reward is set at 15% of the amount snitched upon and recovered.
Flaherty told the media that the government is after the people hiding their money offshore, but anyone who helps set up offshore bank accounts won't get paid as an informer.
We’re not looking for rogues to turn in other rogues.
3. The Foreign Affairs Department Will Absorb CIDA
Canada’s aid programme, the Canadian International Development Agency, will be wrapped into a renamed Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.
It will continue to have its own minister and "core development assistance will remain intact," according to the budget.
It’s not known how much money the amalgamation of Canada's diplomats and aid workers will cost (or save), or how many jobs may be eliminated because of the shift.
CONFIRMED: CIDA now merged with Foreign Affairs Ministry. Now called: Foreign Affairs Trade and Development. #cndpoli
— Desiree Buitenbos (@dbuitenb) March 21, 2013
4. New Canada Job Grant For Worker Training
The budget also emphasized the need for skills development and matching qualified workers to open jobs, but the new Canada Jobs Grant won't be in place for at least another year.
Flaherty pledged to create a $15,000 per-person grant for under- or unemployed Canadians to be used for short-term skills training at colleges, union schools and other educational facilities.
In an attempt to end the labour shortages plaguing the economy, the job grants, expected to help provide 130,000 people a year with skills and training, are estimated to be worth $300 million.
— Petroleum HR Council (@PetroHRCouncil) March 21, 2013
5. Tariffs Eliminated On Hockey Gear, Kids' Clothes
The budget also proposed $76 million in tariff relief for sports equipment and baby clothes, which, when imported, cost up to 40% more north of the border than they do in the U.S.
In particular, tariffs will be reduced on baby clothes, ice skates, hockey equipment, skis and snowboards and golf clubs.
However, it remains to be seen if companies who benefit from the reduction of tariffs will pass those savings along to consumers.
— samuel (@samuelwu_) March 21, 2013
— Umair Ahmed (@UmairAdilAhmed) March 21, 2013
— LPC-SGI (@lpcsgi) March 21, 2013
— Alain Goyette (@algoyette) March 21, 2013