Federal budget priorities out of balance with economic, social realities: report

April 20, 2015

OTTAWA—Tomorrow’s federal budget may deliver a surplus but it will fall short on delivering solutions to many of the problems Canadians are facing, says a report released today by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The report, by CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald, puts forward fully-costed solutions to five pressing issues, none of which is likely to be included in the upcoming federal budget: job creation, child poverty, safe drinking water, affordable child care, and climate change. Each is drawn from the 2015 Alternative Federal Budget.

“Budgets are quintessentially political statements that reflect the values and priorities of those who assemble them. Choices about where to spend (and where not to) are some of the most important any government can make,” says Macdonald. “The federal government has prioritized surpluses over job creation, addressing climate change, and reducing child poverty.”

The report offers five concrete actions the federal government could take to address key problems facing people in communities across the country:

  • Kickstart job creation: The coming year will see the slowest economic growth since the recession.  The federal government should be proactive in offsetting dangeriously low growth in an already weak labour market. Hoping the price of oil rises is not a concrete plan.
  • Cut child poverty: One out of every six children in Canada lives below the poverty line. Doubling the National Child Benefit Supplement would lift 240,000 children out of poverty in Canada, reducing the child poverty rate by a quarter.
  • Clean drinking water: As of last count, there were 139 drinking water advisories in First Nation communities, most of them in place for years, if not decades. It is unacceptable that Canada would let so many of its poorest communities go without potable water for so long.
  • Affordable child care: This year, the federal government will spend $7 billion on the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB), the enhanced UCCB, and income splitting—untargeted programs that won't create a single child care space. If that money was redirected towards a national child care program, we could provide $7/day child care for all families that need it.
  • Act on climate change: It’s high time for the federal government to coordinate with the provinces on climate change and move Canada towards a low-carbon future. Implementation of a carbon tax and investment in green infrastructure are important first steps.  

“This government could easily afford to invest in job creation, improved public services, and a more sustainable economy for future generations but has made a political choice to create a surplus instead,” Macdonald says. “The most immediate consequence of that choice will almost certainly delay Canada’s full economic recovery.”


A Better Balance: Five Items That Should Be in the Federal Budget But Won’t Be is available on the CCPA website.

For more information contact Kerri-Anne Finn, CCPA Senior Communications Officer, at 613-563-1341 x306.