A Tale of Two Budgets

2024 federal budget taxes the really rich and makes significant strides on affordable housing, while falling far short on the Canada Disability Benefit

Strong community advocacy has paid off with important new investments in this year’s federal budget. Released on April 16, the 2024 federal budget raises significant revenue for public services by increasing taxes on the top 0.13 per cent of income earners, makes substantial new investments in affordable housing, and funds the creation of new child care centres. The budget advances the federal government’s recently released Housing Plan through several initiatives, including a $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund, Public Lands for Homes Plan, Rapid Housing funding stream, Canadian Renters’ Bill of Rights, and more. While offering meaningful improvements, the federal budget falls short on key items recommended by SPT and other community groups. The budget fails to provide a funding increase for the Canada Housing Benefit, matching funds required to purchase Toronto subway cars, and full funding for the Canada Disability Benefit.

Highlights from the Community Sector

“‘This [increase to the capital gains tax] will raise an estimated $7 billion in the first year and $20 billion over the next five, and will be paid by the top 0.13 per cent—or 40,000 people[…]If your capital gains are over $250,000 per year, you can afford to contribute more to public services—it’s a question of fairness.’” —Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives 

“…the federal government held a pre-budget announcement of a new $1 Billion low-cost loan program [to expand child care centres], $60 Million in grants to support new public and non-profit child care programs, and a student loan forgiveness [program] for graduates of ECE programs who choose to work in smaller, rural, Northern and remote communities.” —Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

“It is encouraging to see the federal government take a leadership role in tackling the housing crisis…However, it is concerning that the government remains focused primarily on building more housing supply, despite evidence that more supply will not address housing affordability.” —Canadian Centre for Housing Rights

“The budget gives Reaching Home, which supports communities in providing various types of homelessness services, a top-up of $1.3 billion spread over four years. Yet the budget only mentions in passing the government‘s previously stated goal to end chronic homelessness, and does not specify how the new investment in Reaching Home brings us closer to getting there.”—Maytree

“‘This budget doesn’t begin to fulfill the government’s promise to lift people with disabilities out of poverty, let alone the ‘promise of Canada’—a fair shot at a prosperous future,’ said Len Baker, March of Dimes Canada’s President and CEO. ‘The spirit of ‘nothing about us without us’ was not visible in today’s budget. There was nothing for many and too little for most.’ With a proposed maximum benefit of only $200 per month—just $6.66 per day—the funding envelope won’t raise the income of any person receiving disability income support in any jurisdiction to or above the poverty line.” —March of Dimes Canada

“A TTC staff report warns that without federal funding committed by early 2024, the cost of ordering new trains will balloon by at least $90 million and subway service will become less reliable in coming years. The federal government has announced it will create a Permanent Public Transit Fund, but funding will not begin until 2026.”—TTCriders


2024 provincial budget abandons Ontarians amidst ongoing affordability crisis

Released on March 26, the 2024 Ontario provincial budget was a deep disappointment on multiple fronts from poverty reduction, affordable housing, and child care, to homelessness prevention, community services, and climate action. In a pre-budget submission, SPT called for transformative action to reduce poverty in Ontario. Despite making some modest improvements to select income and housing programs, the province failed to deliver in key areas, ensuring continued racial and gender-based inequities and the violation of human rights.

Highlights from the Community Sector

“Far from delivering a plan, homelessness is barely mentioned in this budget.”—Wellesley Institute

“…the flurry of new legislation, policies, and programs are overwhelmingly focused on building more housing, much of it unaffordable to low-income Ontarians.”—Maytree

“The promise of supportive housing development next year pales in comparison to the current depth of need, including for people experiencing homelessness.” —Canadian Centre for Housing Rights

“Provincial allocations to child care remain lower today than they were when the Ford government was first elected in 2018.” —Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care

“An uninspired budget leaves the nonprofit sector under-resourced, again.” —Ontario Nonprofit Network

“The lack of base budget increase for our sector fails to acknowledge the health human resources crisis we are facing.” —Canadian Mental Health Association–Ontario Division 

Ontario is without a credible plan to address climate change, though the government’s own report, released last fall, flagged that climate change threatens Ontarians’ homes, food, farms, forests, and health.” Environmental Defence

“…public services in every major category will receive less funding, per person, in the year ahead, after inflation, than they did in the fiscal year just ending.”—Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives-Ontario Office

© Copyright 2017-2020 Social Planning Toronto. All rights reserved.