Madam Speaker, I would like to start off by wishing my colleagues a very safe and happy new year. The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented stress and hardship on Canadians, from small business to long-term care homes and front-line and essential workers. Every Canadian has a story to share of how this pandemic has impacted them. Constituents in my riding of Brampton East are concerned about their businesses, the safety of their workers or simply when they can pay a visit to loved ones they have not physically seen in months.
For said reasons and countless others, the federal government has committed to the implementation of a strong and robust recovery plan presented by our finance minister through the fall economic statement. Our government's message is clear: We will do whatever it takes to protect the health and safety of Canadians for as long as it takes.
This message extends to our commitment to strengthen the economy by creating one million good jobs, investing in training and skills, creating valuable opportunities for youth and investing in green technologies to help combat climate change. This is a critical component in providing Canadians the support they need in Bill C-14. The economic statement implementation act would help put into action what the fall economic statement set out to do, which is supporting middle-class families, helping students manage their debt and investing in resources that will help better protect Canadians and the economy.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act will mean that families entitled to the Canada child benefit will receive additional temporary support of up to $1,200 for each child under the age of six. Families have had to transition their entire household routines in order to accommodate more time being spent at home, which means facilitating extra child care, buying additional school supplies to aid in virtual learning or simply helping with the cost of raising a family.
Throughout 2020, our government saw that families needed our help, which is why we stepped up to provide an extra one-time $300 payment in May and increased the Canada child benefit payment amounts in July. The proposed temporary $1,200 support for families is an increase of almost 20% over the maximum annual CCB payment. Our goal for a stronger and more resilient middle class involves ensuring that families have the resources they need in order to help nourish and support their children's futures. This plan includes a Canada-wide early learning child care program that will help ease the burden of arranging affordable child care. We know that this pandemic has disproportionately affected women. Doing better is not simply a choice, it is a responsibility that this government takes very seriously.
We will continue to support Canadian students. Our government plans to eliminate the repayment of the federal portion of the Canada student loans and apprenticeship loans from April 2021 to March 2022. Students in Canada can feel a sense of relief once these measures are in place to help them manage their student debt. This investment will help 1.4 million Canadian students who are trying to achieve higher education and ultimately begin their careers. I have listened to their experiences. I know that this support is essential. By easing the federal interest portion of student debt, we are allowing students the opportunity to focus on working toward their career goals and not being worried about incurring additional debt.
We also provided financial support to post-secondary students and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who were unable to find work last summer due to COVID-19. Eligible students received $1,250 for a four-week period for a maximum of 16 weeks between May 10 and August 29, 2020. Those with a disability or dependants also received an extra $750.
Most post-secondary students in my riding were unable to access the Canada emergency student benefit and are very positive toward our government's support for students, including the doubling of the Canada student grant amount to a maximum of $6,000 in response to the increased need for the 2020-21 school year.
Our government is actively creating opportunities for youth, whether that be through the investments of over $300 million into the Canada summer jobs program or the youth employment and skills strategy investment. These investments help young Canadians gain practical experience and make meaningful connections in the workplace. Students need our help. They have adapted to new learning methods and have overcome tremendous adversity during these troubling times, which is why our government is here to lend a helping hand.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put immense strain on our health care systems. The amendments made to Bill C-14 mean that we can help better protect those most vulnerable, like seniors, by investing through the new safe long-term care fund. This funding will help prevent and manage outbreaks in long-term care homes, which will ultimately help save lives.
The heartbreak and fear that many Canadians have felt knowing that they have a loved one living in a long-term care home or, God forbid, losing someone to the virus are all too common. We will also be establishing a new national standard for long-term care facilities to ensure that none of our grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or friends must endure a substandard level of care. No person deserves that. Amending the Food and Drugs Act means that we can increase our investments in order to support access to virtual health tools, mental health supports and substance use programming.
Asking Canadians to stay at home can impact the mental health of so many. Restricting social interaction for long periods of isolation and job anxiety can take a toll on people's mental health. As the government, we want to make sure that every Canadian has access to the supports they need.
As we begin this new year, there is a great sense of hope among Canadians. This sense of hope was created by the hard work that was put into composing the largest vaccine portfolio in the world. I was excited to hear that all the long-term care homes in the region of Peel have received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As a government, we will continue to ensure that our vaccine rollout happens as efficiently as possible. We will also continue to prioritize those who are at high risk of or vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
The amendments made in Bill C-14 under the Food and Drugs Act will help our government increase funding to support testing, vaccine procurement and distribution, as well as isolation sites. In November, the federal government, in collaboration with various levels of government, granted $6.5 million to establish an isolation centre for residents of Peel, in my riding of Brampton East, and throughout the region, to isolate safely if they cannot do so safely at home.
It is imperative that the messaging we continue to convey to Canadians is that we will support them for as long as it takes. That means including investments, such as the one proposed in the fall economic statement, which will help upkeep our efforts for medical research, countermeasures and rapid testing, and ensure that every Canadian can receive the vaccine.
Adapting to new research and trusting the science our health officials advise us on is how we can best protect the health and safety of Canadians. That is why investing in research is so critical under the presented amendments of Bill C-14.
The Canadian economy cannot function without the success of our small businesses across the country. Unfortunately, this pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on the ability of our small businesses to succeed. They account for over 90% of all businesses in Canada, and our economy cannot afford to stand back and allow businesses to close their doors. We must continue to provide a prudent fiscal plan that helps businesses stay viable and keeps employees on the payroll.
The Canada emergency rent subsidy saw over 20,000 organizations apply within the first four days of the application period. As a government, we are also cognizant of employees who have seen a reduction in their working hours or have been told not to come into work. Therefore, supports such as the Canada emergency wage subsidy have been extremely important to small businesses and their employees.
In my riding of Brampton East, I had the pleasure of speaking with various small business owners who were able to access both programs. I spoke with Mr. Dheri, the general manager of a local Turtle Jack's restaurant, who was thankful to have access to the Canada emergency wage subsidy so that he could keep his employees on the payroll. His is one of the over 350,000 small businesses across Canada accessing the Canada emergency wage subsidy program.
We want small businesses to be able to open back up once it is safe to do so. As we continue to fight COVID-19, our government will be there for Canadian small businesses every step of the way, so we can safely rebuild our economy and make us stronger than ever before.
While speaking to constituents, I have heard first-hand their concerns surrounding climate change and the state our children and grandchildren will inherit. Our fall economic statement represents actionable steps and investments to tackle these concerns. By taking steps to making homes greener and more energy efficient, Canadians can reduce their carbon footprint while lowering their energy bills.
Our government's efforts to establish a network of zero-emission vehicle charging stations across the country in convenient locations, including where we work, live and travel, will help accelerate the use of zero-emission vehicles. We will build on current investments and zero-emission vehicle infrastructure by providing an additional $150 million over three years to help ensure that charging stations are available and conveniently located where and when they are needed. This is on top of the 500 electrical vehicle charging stations at more than 250 locations across Ontario announced last year. Brampton is currently home to many electrical vehicle charging stations, and I look forward to welcoming many more.
Building back our economy requires a jump-start of investments to help stimulate growth once we get through this pandemic. As we stated in the fall economic statement in November, the federal government will invest billions of dollars over three years to help make this happen. The amendments proposed will help our government continue to make investments in resources to best manage the pandemic and support the recovery of our economy.
As I said before, there is a sense of hope among Canadians. We will continue to roll out and distribute vaccines over the coming months, and Canadians will be ready to return to a sense of normality. We must support these hopes and ensure that the economy, and Canadians' return, is adaptive, innovative and strong.
A lot of changes have happened this year due to COVID-19. Working from home has now become common practice among businesses. Students have adapted to online learning, and businesses have amplified their online capacities. The decisions and amendments that we decide on as members of Parliament will allow positive change to come to fruition. It will help us save lives, improve mental health supports, help middle-class families and create a more inclusive economy and society for all. Let us continue to move forward together.