What the 2024 Federal Budget means to you

On April 16th the Canadian government released the 2024 Federal Budget, the annual fiscal and economic report.

This year’s Budget targeted housing, affordability, and economic growth.

The 2024 fiscal plan anticipates a deficit of $39.8 billion for the 2024/2025 year, about $1.4 billion more than the figures released in the fall. Fiscal prudence continues to take a back seat to the government’s scope of providing additional services. Canadian government spending now amounts to 15.6% of GDP, well above the 13.2% average over the two decades prior to the pandemic. Remarkably, the number of federal public employees has increased by 40% since 2014/2015. The NDP is likely to support the minority Liberal government.

Home Affordability

The following measures aim to make homeownership more accessible to more Canadians:

  • Increase the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit from $35,000 to $60,000, enabling first-time home buyers to use the tax benefits of an RRSP to save up to $25,000 more for their down payment, faster. The newly increased limit would be available to first-time buyers after April 16, 2024.
  • Extend the grace period during which homeowners are not required to repay their Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawals to their RRSP by an additional three years. This grace period extension would apply to Home Buyers’ Plan participants who made a first withdrawal between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2025, who will now only have to begin repaying their Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawals in the fifth year after the year in which they withdraw. For a couple who withdrew the maximum in 2023, extending the grace period could allow them to defer annual repayments as large as $4,667 by an additional three years.
  • Allow 30-year mortgage amortizations for first-time home buyers purchasing newly constructed homes. Extending the amortization limits by five years for first-time buyers purchasing new builds will enable more younger Canadians to afford a mortgage and will encourage new supply. This new insured mortgage product will be available to first-time buyers starting August  1, 2024.

Care for students, renters, workers with disabilities

  • Extend for an additional year the increase in full-time Canada Student Grants from $3,000 to $4,200 per year, and interest-free Canada Student Loans from $210 to $300 per week. Increased students grants and loans will be available for the 2024-2025 school year.
  • Allow renters to choose to report their rent payment history to credit bureaus, to strengthen their credit scores and unlock pathways for more renters to become homeowners. Calling on banks, fintechs, and credit bureaus to prioritize launching these tools.
  • Add up to an additional $821 every year to workers with disabilities through the Canada Workers Benefit Disability Supplement, beyond the basic Canada Workers Benefit amounts of up to $1,590 for a worker and up to $2,739 for a family.

Lowering everyday costs

  • Grant Canadians more flexibility to renew or switch between home internet, home phone, and cell phone plans. Carriers will be:
    • prohibited by the CRTC from charging consumers extra fees to switch carriers.
    • required to help consumers identify plans, which may include lower-cost plans, in advance of the end of a contract.
    • required to provide a self-service option, such as an online portal, for customers to easily switch between or end plans with a provider.
  • Cap the non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees charged by banks to $10 per instance, as well as other NSF measures. The intent is to help Canadians who are struggling to make payments to improve their financial situation. Banks charge NSF fees when there isn’t enough money in a bank account to cover a cheque or pre-authorized debit transaction.

Taxes and rebates

  • Increase the inclusion rate on capital gains realized annually above $250,000 by individuals and on all capital gains realized by corporations and trusts from one-half to two-thirds, by amending the Income Tax Act, effective June 25, 2024. To ensure this increase in the capital gains inclusion rate is concentrated among the wealthiest, while keeping taxes lower on the middle class, the first $250,000 of capital gains income earned by Canadians each year won’t be subject to the new two-thirds inclusion rate.
  • Return fuel charge proceeds from 2019-20 through 2023-24 to an estimated 600,000 businesses, with 499 or fewer employees through a new refundable tax credit. This would deliver over $2.5 billion directly to Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses.