Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to talk about our government's record, about how we have invested in Canadians, including middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join them, about the middle-class tax cuts we introduced in 2015, and about the tax cuts we proposed in 2019.
The economy is strong and growing. Our record proves that, by investing in Canadians, we can have an impact on Canadians' day-to-day lives while growing the economy. However, we are also very aware that too many Canadians are still having trouble making ends meet.
Ever since we took office in 2015, our plan has focused on investing in Canadians and their communities. We are investing in things people need to build a better future for themselves and their families. We are investing in the middle class and those working hard to join it. We know that a strong middle class leads to a strong economy, and a strong economy benefits everyone. Our plan is working.
One of the first actions of our previous mandate was to introduce a tax break for the middle class that is benefiting more than nine million hard-working Canadians. We also introduced the Canada child benefit, which is providing more money to those families who need it most. By doing so, we have helped to lift one million people out of poverty, including 334,000 children, giving them a better start in life.
I would like to talk about how this measure in particular has helped children in my riding. Ottawa—Vanier is one of Canada's most diverse ridings. In fact, I often say that it represents our nation's diversity in one riding. It has some of Canada's highest earners and some of Canada's lowest earners. That is why the Canada child benefit is so important to my constituents. Over 15,000 children in Ottawa—Vanier benefit from the Canada child benefit.
Our government has also increased the guaranteed income supplement to help low-income seniors make ends meet. By working in co-operation and collaboration with our provincial partners, we strengthened the Canada pension plan so that Canadian workers will have more money in retirement. I am sure that hon. members on all sides of the House will celebrate the fact that yesterday Statistics Canada released national poverty figures showing that 73,000 seniors have been lifted out of poverty since 2015.
Furthermore, our government understands that small businesses are the catalyst of our economy. That is why we cut taxes for small businesses to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and create more good, well-paying jobs. This measure was well received, and small business owners responded. Canada has gained over one million jobs since 2015, most of which are full-time jobs.
I would also like to highlight our government's commitment to ensuring that everyone has a safe and secure place to call home. Our government established Canada's first national housing strategy. We have invested in the construction of more affordable housing in communities across the country and we have helped make it more affordable for people to buy their first home through enhancements to the first-time homebuyers incentive.
We have made tremendous progress by working with Canadians. We have listened to their requests so that we can grow an economy that works for everyone.
Through our investments and Canadians' hard work, our country's economy is strong and growing. Over the past four years, Canadians have created over one million new jobs, and stronger wage growth has helped more people get ahead. However, we know that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Over the past few months, leading up to budget 2020, I have met with Canadians and stakeholders in Montreal, Windsor, Regina, Winnipeg, Kenora and elsewhere to understand the needs of Canadians in different parts of this country. One thing that came up is that too many people are still worried about making ends meet.
The rising cost of living is affecting Canadians from coast to coast to coast. They know what it is like to have their livelihoods put at risk by global economic challenges, and they worry about what the future holds for them and their families. We understand that.
I heard from Canadians that a good quality of life for them means not having to worry about living paycheque to paycheque. It means being in good health. It means living in a safe environment and in a society where diversity is celebrated. It means access to quality housing, child care and education, and an opportunity for all to succeed.
We have made a lot of progress over the last four years to grow the economy while ensuring that the middle class prospers, but we know that there is much more to do.
Economic growth and quality of life reinforce one another. We cannot sustain one for long without the other. We need to think about the future of our communities, about fighting climate change and protecting the environment, and about continuing our path to reconciliation with indigenous peoples. As long as these sorts of challenges are out there, our government will keep working to help Canadians overcome them. That is why making life more affordable for Canadians is a central focus for our government. It has been for the past four years and continues to be.
We are looking to grow an economy that works for everyone, not just the rich. By investing in and strengthening the middle class, we are growing the economy to benefit everyone.
Our plan to increase the basic personal amount will make the cost of living more affordable for more Canadians by helping them keep more of what they earn. That means they will have more money in their pockets. I would like to take a minute to explain how we will attain that objective and how that additional measure will benefit nearly 20 million Canadians.
As my hon. colleagues know, to help all Canadians meet their basic needs, no federal tax is collected on a certain amount of income earned. That amount is called the basic personal amount, or BPA. Under the existing rules regarding the BPA, Canadians can earn close to $12,300 in the 2020 tax year before they have to pay federal income tax.
As our first order of business our government proposed to lower taxes for the middle class and those working hard to join it by increasing the basic personal amount to $15,000 by 2023. We also propose to increase two related benefit amounts to $15,000 by 2023: the spouse or common-law partner amount and the eligible dependant credit.
This increase would be phased in over four years, starting in 2020. As I said earlier, it would cut taxes for close to 20 million Canadians. Importantly, it would mean that nearly 1.1 million more Canadians would no longer pay federal income tax at all by 2023.
To ensure that this tax relief goes to the people who need help the most, we will phase out the benefits of the increased basic personal amount. I will explain what this means in real terms for individuals and families.
It means that a single individual who makes $50,000 a year would pay less tax starting in 2020 with tax savings of close to $300 in 2023. It means that a two-earner couple where one partner works full time at $40,000 a year and the other part time at $20,000 a year would save close to $600 by 2023. It means that a one-earner couple with one child could save close to $600 in 2023. It also means that a single parent who can claim the eligible dependant credit in addition to the basic personal amount could save close to $600 in 2023.
All told, this would put $3 billion back in the pockets of Canadian households in 2020, with this amount rising to $6 billion by 2023. That is $6 billion to help make life more affordable for Canadians and keep our economy growing. That is $6 billion on top of the support that we have already delivered over the past four years.
When the middle-class tax cut, the Canada child benefit and the proposed increases to the basic personal amount are taken into account, a typical family of four could have over $2,300 more in their pockets in 2020 than they did in 2015. Once the changes to the basic personal amount are fully implemented, that family could have over $2,800 more in their pockets than they did in 2015.
That is what we mean when we talk about investing in Canadians. Thanks to the Canada child benefit, a working single mother or father of two earning $30,000 a year now gets $3,000 more in benefits every year than they did under the previous child benefit program. These changes will help more families pay for things that will have a real impact on their children's future, such as healthy food, registration fees for sports, summer camp or music lessons, or even warm clothes in the winter.
Our decision to improve the guaranteed income supplement has provided greater income security for close to 900,000 people, 70% of whom are women.
The guaranteed income supplement has helped lift 73,000 vulnerable seniors out of poverty. Thanks to the implementation of Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, a 10-year, $40-billion investment to provide more Canadians with affordable housing, the housing needs of 530,000 families will be met and chronic homelessness will decrease by 50%.
We will continue to invest in people and in the things that improve their quality of life. The past four years have shown what can happen when we put middle-class Canadians at the heart of our decisions and invest in those areas that make their lives easier.
We have seen that more money in families' pockets, more jobs, more welcoming communities and fewer people living in poverty contribute to our economic growth.
I do not like to repeat myself, but I think it is important to highlight, in both English and French, the results of our government's work to make life more affordable for Canadians. Due to the middle-class tax cut, the Canada child benefit and the proposed changes to the basic personal amount, a typical family of four could be better off by more than $2,300 this year compared to 2015. When the proposed changes to the basic personal amount are fully rolled out, the family could be better off by more than $2,800 compared to 2015.
These changes have been focused on those Canadians who need it most. The effect our plan has had on child poverty and seniors in need has been clear and is documented. We know that more work needs to be done to improve the quality of life for Canadians.
The way we have structured these changes to the basic personal amount clearly shows we are striving to target our efforts to be as effective as possible.
The reason we have focused on housing and the tax system is the flexibility those changes offer to Canadians. By providing tax cuts for those who need it and by providing the Canada child benefit directly to parents and caregivers, we are giving Canadians the tools to make the changes they feel they need.
We will also continue to work with indigenous peoples to help deliver a better quality of life for their families and communities. We will build on the progress achieved for all people in Canada, moving forward with investments that will make a real difference. We will do so in a way that is fiscally responsible and continues to reduce the federal debt relative to the size of our economy.
Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio is low and sustainable. That puts Canada in an enviable position, especially compared to our G7 peers. Our relatively low level of debt gives us a serious competitive advantage, one our government is fully committed to maintaining. Even though our economy is doing well, we need to be ready to respond to whatever challenges might arise. We need to continue to build confidence in Canada's economy, making sure the world continues to see Canada as a great place in which to live, work and invest.
Canada has a AAA credit rating from the three most recognized credit rating agencies. This strong rating reflects the confidence others have in Canada's economic strength. We took timely action during our previous mandate to improve business tax competitiveness in this country. To make it easier for small businesses to succeed and create more jobs, we have cut taxes for small businesses twice. As a result of federal and provincial actions, Canada has the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7.
Our government's objective is to maintain these competitive advantages while implementing measures to make life more affordable and to invest in Canadians. We are building an economy that works for everyone.
We know what can happen when we invest in Canadians: They benefit through their hard work. In just four years, this has resulted in a strong and growing economy that has generated more than a million jobs with a historic low unemployment rate.
These are real changes that help improve the quality of life and well-being of all Canadians. Making it easier for Canadians to get ahead is at the very heart of our plan for the prosperity of the middle-class.
Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for letting me speak about this important matter today. I welcome questions from my colleagues.