Federal Budget 2014
Parliament for 2014
Richmond Electoral District
Today, the Honourable Julian Fantino, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, is condemning the vandalism of the Richmond Cenotaph, a monument to First World War Veterans that sits in front of City Hall in Richmond, British Columbia. The vandalism took place on Tuesday, according to police.
“Vandalizing a memorial to those who served Canada is shameful. The memories of the men and women who put their lives at risk to protect our country must be preserved, protected and honoured. I encourage any community members with information about this incident to contact local police immediately,” said Minister Fantino. “The perpetrators should face the full force of the law.”
“The department of Veterans Affairs has reached out to the City of Richmond and we will ensure that they have financial support for their restoration efforts if needed,” added Minister Fantino.
The Government of Canada runs the Cenotaph/Monument Restoration Fund in part to help communities make repairs following unfortunate incidents such as this.
“I am deeply troubled by the actions of those who would deface a memorial which represents the sacrifice of lives in service to our country,” said Alice Wong, Conservative Member of Parliament for Richmond. “Richmond has a heritage of service, and acts like this disrespect the memories of the veterans that we cherish.”
Minister Fantino also restated his support for Bill C-217, a private member’s bill from David Tilson, Conservative Member of Parliament for Dufferin-Caledon, that would see harsher punishment for anyone who vandalizes war memorials and cenotaphs. The Government of Canada hopes this legislation passes urgently, to hold criminals accountable.
“This egregious act of vandalism underscores the importance of preserving the sanctity of monuments built in memory of those who served our country. We must ensure that anyone who commits vandalism against a war memorial will face strong consequences,” said Minister Fantino.
On February 26, 2014, Alice Wong was asked a question about Seniors during question period. The following is a transcript:
Mrs. Stella Ambler (Mississauga South, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, seniors are an integral part of our families, communities, and workforce. Statistics show that 36% of them volunteer their time, and 80% are actively involved in their communities. We on this side of the House, and that side, believe in supporting seniors.
Could the Minister of State for Seniors update the House on some of the great initiatives for seniors in economic action plan 2014?
Hon. Alice Wong (Minister of State (Seniors), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague on the Conservative side for that great question.
We are proud of the support we have seen for seniors in economic action plan 2014. We have seen an 11% increase in funding to the new horizons for seniors program; the renewal of the targeted initiative for older workers program, which assists unemployed older workers reintegrate into the workforce; the creation of the Canadian employers for caregivers action plan to help caregivers participate in the labour market, and the list goes on.
All Canadians, especially seniors, can be proud of economic action plan 2014.
On February 25, 2014, Alice Wong asked a question during the Budget debate in the House of Commons. The following is a transcript and the response from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture:
Hon. Alice Wong (Minister of State (Seniors), CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I understand that the budget is great for seniors and also for those people with disabilities. For example, we have already increased accessibility funding by renewing it for another $15 million annually.
I attended two events last week. It was a breakthrough that we put $16,000 through for a low-income society in Downtown Eastside to help those with disabilities, and another $41,000 to the University Women’s Club of Vancouver to help them with accessibility.
At the same time, we have the lowest poverty rate for seniors, thanks to our GIS, which has seen the largest increase in over a quarter of a century.
There are other good things that are happening. Can I ask the parliamentary secretary to highlight some of the things we will do for seniors?
Mr. Pierre Lemieux:
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this government has tremendous respect for our seniors and for the meaningful contributions they have made to Canada.
The minister is absolutely right. This budget contains many very important initiatives to support our seniors. I will list just a few of them. This budget will enhance, by $5 million a year, the new horizons program for seniors. It will expand the targeted initiatives for older workers by investing $75 million to help unemployed older workers put their talents and experience to work. The budget also launches the Canadian employers for caregivers action plan. This would work with employers so that caregivers can maximize their participation in the workforce while being able to provide care for their loved ones.
It is clear this budget supports our seniors, and I thank the minister for the question.
February 22, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Employment and Social Development Canada
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today announced that Canadians with disabilities will gain better access to programs and services offered at the University Women’s Club of Vancouver, thanks to the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF).
The University Women’s Club of Vancouver provides members with a place to share ideas, interests and participate in activities. Through the EAF, the Club is receiving more than $40,000 to build interior and exterior ramps, an accessible washroom and accessible door handles and light switches
- Budget 2014 includes measures that support the inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities in their communities and workplaces through funding for the Association for Community Living’s Ready, Willing & Able initiative and for the expansion of vocational training programs for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
- Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government extended the Enabling Accessibility Fund on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces.
- Since its launch in 2007, the Government of Canada has funded over 1 100 EAF projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain better access to their communities’ facilities, programs and services. Beginning in 2015–16, more Canadians with disabilities will receive training for in-demand jobs through ongoing support from the Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities.
“Improving accessibility for Canadians with disabilities is important to the Government of Canada. Thanks to our partnership with the University Women’s Club of Vancouver, we are ensuring that new and existing members with disabilities can fully participate in the club’s activities.”
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
Enabling Accessibility Fund
The Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) was originally announced in 2007 as a three-year, $45-million program to support community-based projects across Canada. In 2010, the EAF was extended with an additional three-year, $45-million commitment. Since 2007, over 1 100 projects have been awarded funding to improve accessibility in Canadian communities.
The Government is extending the EAF on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to continue to help improve accessibility for Canadians with disabilities.
All applications for funding though the EAF’s 2012 call for proposals were screened against program criteria. Successful projects demonstrated they were able to create or enhance accessibility for Canadians with disabilities and involve community partnerships.
At least 25 percent of the total eligible costs for each project must come from non-federal government sources.
Economic Action Plan 2014 additional measures
Economic Action Plan 2014 introduced additional measures to support Canadians with disabilities and help them get the skills and training they need to prepare for and find work:
- $222 million annually, matched by the provinces and territories, over the next four years through a new generation of Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities;
- $15 million over three years to the Ready, Willing & Able initiative of the Canadian Association for Community Living; and
- $11.4 million over four years to support the expansion of vocational training programs for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
February 21, 2014 – Vancouver, BC – Employment and Social Development Canada
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today announced that seniors in British Columbia and all across Canada will benefit from a project that will help raise awareness about elder abuse.
The YWCA Metro Vancouver’s project is receiving $485,000 in federal funding. The funding is provided through the pan-Canadian stream of the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), which supports projects led or inspired by seniors who want to make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities.
Through its project, the YWCA Metro Vancouver will develop a “Train-the-Trainer” instructional module and deliver training sessions that will enable front-line staff to better detect and prevent elder abuse. The YWCA aims to engage and educate community members and further promote the safety and security of Canadian seniors.
- Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes an additional $5 million per year for the New Horizons for Seniors Program to support additional community projects that benefit seniors.
- Pan-Canadian projects are eligible for grant or contribution funding of up to $250,000 per year for up to three years. Pan-Canadian funding supports larger projects that increase awareness of elder abuse and help seniors protect themselves from fraud, financial abuse and other forms of abuse, and can be replicated across Canada, complementing community-based projects.
- The YWCA Metro Vancouver’s project is one of 33 pan-Canadian NHSP projects, totalling more than $14 million, which were announced on June 15, 2012.
- Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 11 200 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada. NHSP funding is targeted to both pan-Canadian and community-based projects.
- In 2013, over 1 750 NHSP community-based projects across Canada were approved through the 2012–2013 call for proposals and received more than $33 million in funding.
“Our government is committed to ensuring all Canadian seniors have the information and tools they need to stop elder abuse. By promoting awareness of elder abuse and supporting prevention activities, the Government of Canada is helping to safeguard the well-being and security of seniors.”
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
“YWCA Metro Vancouver has a history of helping women and families, so we were thrilled to expand our services to meet the needs of older adults. The YWCA Community Action on Elder Abuse project complements existing national awareness projects and strengthens the capacity of front-line staff and volunteers. We are grateful to the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program for providing funding that supports action against abuse of older adults.”
– Jemma Templeton, Manager, Community Action on Elder Abuse Project
New Horizons for Seniors Program
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) is a federal grants and contributions program that supports projects led or inspired by seniors who make a difference in the lives of others and their communities. The NHSP is part of the Government of Canada’s commitment to ensure the well-being of Canadian seniors and combat elder abuse in all its forms. Since 2006, the NHSP has funded more than 11 200 projects in hundreds of communities across Canada.
Pan-Canadian projects focus on developing or identifying tools, resources and promising practices that can be adapted and shared across communities, regions and the country to address elder abuse. This funding can enable community members to better recognize elder abuse in all its forms and to improve the quality of life, safety and security of seniors. Eligible pan-Canadian grant or contribution projects must have a broad reach and impact. They are eligible for up to $250,000 in funding per year, for up to three years.
Other actions taken by the Government of Canada to combat elder abuse
In 2008, the Government launched the Federal Elder Abuse Initiative (FEAI), a multi departmental, three-year initiative to help seniors and others recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and to provide information on available supports. This initiative successfully concluded in 2011.
Building on the momentum created by the FEAI, the Government continues to address elder abuse through awareness campaigns that aim to help Canadians recognize the signs of elder abuse and give them information on available resources and supports.
In addition, the Government is addressing elder abuse through legislation that will help ensure consistently tough penalties for offences involving the abuse of elderly people.
For more information on the NHSP, call 1 800 O-Canada or visit seniors.gc.ca.
February 20, 2014 – Vancouver, BC – Employment and Social Development Canada
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), announced today that Canadians with disabilities will gain better access to programs and services offered through the Lookout Society, thanks to the Government of Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF).
The Lookout Society provides housing and support services for people who are homeless in Metro Vancouver. Through the EAF, the Society is receiving more than $16,000 to install automated door openers at the entrance to one of its buildings.
- The Government extended the EAF on an ongoing basis at $15 million per year to improve accessibility in facilities across Canada, including workplaces.
- Since launching the EAF in 2007, the Government of Canada has funded over 1 100 EAF projects, helping thousands of Canadians gain better access to their communities’ facilities, programs and services.
- The Government of Canada also launched the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) in April 2007, and since then has allocated over $740 million for projects to prevent and reduce homelessness across Canada. In 2013, the Government committed additional funding of almost $600 million over five years, starting April 1, 2014, to renew the HPS using a Housing First approach.
“The Government of Canada is committed to improving accessibility for Canadians with disabilities. This project ensures that people in Vancouver who need help through the Lookout Society will have easier access to their programs and services.”
- The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
Economic Action Plan 2014: Supporting seniors
Ministers of State Wong and Sorenson take part in post-budget consultation
February 19, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Employment and Social Development
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), and the Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), today met with community leaders in Vancouver to highlight key measures from Economic Action Plan 2014 that help improve the quality of life for seniors.
With Economic Action Plan 2014, the Government of Canada proposes a number of initiatives to support seniors, such as:
• investing an additional $5 million per year ongoing to enhance the New Horizons for Seniors Program to enable more seniors to participate in social activities and contribute to their communities;
• improving financial literacy among seniors;
• enhancing disclosure by banks on the costs and benefits of using powers of attorney or joint accounts and more robust bank processes and staff training to better provide this information to seniors; and
• expanding health-related tax relief to help Canadians, including seniors, manage or improve their health and financial situation.
- The Economic Action Plan is working:
• As a result of actions taken to date by the Government, seniors and pensioners are receiving about $2.8 billion in additional annual targeted tax relief.
• Canada has experienced the strongest job growth among the G7 countries over the recovery. Over 1 million more Canadians are working now than at the end of the recession, with the vast majority of new jobs being full-time, high-wage, private-sector positions.
• Canadians have enjoyed the strongest income growth in the G7. Canadian families in all income groups have seen increases of about 10 percent or more in their real after-tax, after-transfer income since 2006.
• Canada places at the top of OECD rankings in terms of post-secondary educational attainment.
“Through Economic Action Plan 2014, our government has set out a plan for safeguarding Canada’s economy and creating long term prosperity. With the help of Canadians, including seniors, we will continue to build on our successes and focus on the drivers of growth and job creation—innovation, investment, education, skills and communities—underpinned by our commitment to lower taxes and return to a balanced budget in 2015.”
– The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
“Creating jobs and opportunities for all Canadians remain our government’s top priorities. Economic Action Plan 2014’s focus on these priorities is the best way to ensure that Canada’s future is a prosperous one, with a healthy, competitive economy fuelled by low taxes, and government services that are sustainable for generations to come.”
– The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)
The following is a Lunar New Year Greeting from Alice Wong:
January 23, 2014 – Gatineau, QC – Employment and Social Development Canada
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the horrible fire at a seniors residence in L’Isle-Verte this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to families and friends of those who were lost in this tragedy.”
-Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
Government seeks Canadians’ views on how to continue to build a stronger, more prosperous Canada
January 17, 2013 – Vancouver, BC– Employment and Social Development Canada
The Honourable Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors), today hosted a pre-budget consultation with business representatives, community leaders and academics. The roundtable was one of several consultations in communities across the country in preparation for Economic Action Plan 2014.
To ensure that all Canadians can participate in this process, in addition to the ongoing series of pre-budget roundtables, Canadians are also invited to submit their views online.
- The Government is committed to having a balanced budget by 2015. The Government has set an ambitious debt-to-GDP target of 25 per cent by 2021, and will reduce that ratio to pre recession levels by 2017.
- Canada leads the G-7 in job creation, income growth, and keeping debt levels low.
“Today’s roundtable is part of a larger series of consultations that will inform future Government policy and help our government create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity, while ensuring the best use of taxpayers’ money. I’m particularly interested in hearing about how the Government can better support seniors in maintaining a high quality of life and continuing to be active members of their communities.”
- Alice Wong, Minister of State (Seniors)
- Introduction to Pre-Budget Online Consultation (Department of Finance Canada)