Liberals to spend $500,000 to gather foreign buyer data + budget highlights

Ottawa is spending $500,000 to help understand the role of foreign homebuyers in the country's housing market.

The cash in the federal budget is going to Statistics Canada to help develop methods for gathering data on home purchases by foreign buyers.

The government says comprehensive and reliable data on the number of homes sold to foreign buyers does not exist right now.

The plan may involve collaboration with the provinces, including British Columbia, which recently announced plans to have homebuyers disclose whether they are citizens or permanent residents of Canada or another country.

Many believe the Vancouver housing market has charged ahead in recent years due to an influx of wealthy foreign buyers.

The rapid rise in home prices has pushed the price of detached houses well over $1 million in Vancouver and raised questions about affordability and sustainability for the market.

Some of the highlights of the federal budget tabled Tuesday by Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau:

-A deficit of $29.4 billion in 2016-17, nearly three times the $10 billion promised during the fall election campaign, and a projected deficit of $17.7 billion in 2019-20 rather than the balanced budget that was promised in October.

-$10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, absorbing and replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit. Targeted to low and middle-income families, the government says the new benefit provides an average increase of nearly $2,300 in 2016-17.

-$2.5 billion over two years on a suite of changes to employment insurance, including reducing the required work experience for new entrants and re-entrants; halving the two-week waiting period; extending a pilot project to allow claimants to work while collecting benefits; simplifying job-search requirements; and extending the benefit eligibility window in specific regions with a higher unemployment rate.

-An end to income splitting for couples with children, the children's fitness tax credit and the children's arts tax credit.

- A promised cut to the 10.5 per cent small business tax rate has been deferred indefinitely.

-$2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on First Nations reserves, including language and cultural programs, plus $969.4 million over five years for education infrastructure.

-$1.2 billion over five years for social infrastructure for Aboriginal Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and northern communities.

- $10.4 million over three years for new women's shelters in First Nations communities, and $33.6 million over five years and $8.3 million ongoing for support services.
 
-$5.6 billion more in benefits to veterans and their families over five years, including a disability award that increases to $360,000, retroactive to 2006, and an earnings loss benefit to injured vets of 90 per cent of pre-release salary. The government is also re-opening nine veterans' service offices across the country and adding a 10th.

- Planned National Defence purchases worth $3.7 billion ships, planes and vehicles are being deferred indefinitely.

-$1.53 billion over five years to increase Canada student grants to $3,000 from $2,000 for low-income students, to $1,200 from $800 for middle-income students and to $1,800 from $1,200 for part-time students.

- $3.4 billion over five years to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit by up to $947 annually for single seniors, and restore the old age security eligibility age to 65 from 67.

- $2.2 billion over five years in water and wastewater treatment and waste management as part of a 10-year green infrastructure investment plan.

- $1.9 billion over five years to support Canadian arts and culture organizations and cultural infrastructure, including the CBC and national museums.

-  $2 billion over three years for a new strategic investment fund for infrastructure improvements at colleges and universities, in partnership with provinces and territories.
-$2 billion over two years for a low-carbon economy fund, beginning in 2017-18;

-More than $1 billion over four years to support future clean technology investments, including in forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture, plus $130 million over five years to support clean technology research and development.

- $345.3 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and the National Research Council to take action to address air pollution.

- $40 million over two years for the inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.

- Up to $178 million over two years for the provinces for urgent affordable housing needs.

- $38.5 million over two years to strengthen and modernize Canada's food safety system.

-$142.3 million over five years to add new national parks and improve access during the 150th anniversary of Confederation.


Canadian Press

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