More summer jobs:
Canada’s summer students are some of the big benefactors of Budget 2018. Ottawa is planning to spend an additional $448.5 million over the next five years on summer employment and training through the Canada Summer Jobs program.
Cyber security spending:
$507.7 million is being set aside over the next five years to fund a new National Cyber Security Strategy. The strategy has three key priorities: ensure the resiliency of Canadian systems, build an adaptive cyber ecosystem and foster collaboration with the provinces and global partners.
Sensitivity to rising rates:
Ottawa is warning that a 100 basis point increase to interest rates would shave $600 million off the budgetary balance in the first year, rising to a $2.8-billion hit by the fifth year of sustained higher rates. That reality isn’t outside the realm of possibility, as the Bank of Canada is widely expected to increase its benchmark rate at least one more time this year after a trio of hikes over the last year and a half.
No outlook for recession.
Budget 2018 assumes Canada won’t see a recession over the course of its forecast period, forecasting it will chug along near potential at 2.0 per cent GDP growth per year from 2017 to 2022.
Pushes infrastructure spending out:
Ottawa is pushing its expectations for when infrastructure dollars will go out the door further into the future. The Federal government says it still expects to spend the same amount funding project, but the timeline is more and more weighted to after the end of fiscal 2022-23.
Cash for educating Canadians on cannabis:
$62.5 million over five years is going to educating Canadians on the impact of cannabis use, as the government marches towards legalization this summer. The federal government says that’s roughly proportional with how much the state of Washington spent when it legalized recreational cannabis.
$6 million for the Federal leaders’ debate:
The government is planning on spending $6 million over the course of next two years to ensure the Federal leaders debate is conducted in the public interest, and said it may establish a new process for how those debates are conducted. Ottawa says it earmark the same amount every election and pre-election year going forward.
No love for smokers:
Smokers aren’t getting any breaks from the feds, who plan to increase the excise tax on a carton of 200 cigarettes by a dollar – or about 12.5 extra cents per pack.
Support for local journalism:
The battered Canadian media sector got some attention in the latest budget. Ottawa proposed plans for $50 million over the course of five years to support local journalism in underserved locales. It’s planning to funnel the money through independent non-government organizations to ensure it’s not seen as trying to influence coverage.