Mr. Speaker, it is my absolute pleasure to take part in this debate on Bill C-59. It is a bill that I am very proud of and a bill which will make a big difference to my constituents in Winnipeg South Centre.
To begin, Bill C-59 builds on our government's record of support for Canadian families by keeping taxes low and helping families save more and invest more in their children, their families, their future.
Since 2006, our government has introduced measures to make life much more affordable for families. These measures include: reducing the lowest personal income tax rate and increasing the basic personal amount, so making more income tax-free; cutting the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%; introducing pension income splitting for seniors, which makes a huge difference to so many seniors, and certainly is one thing I hear about in my riding; establishing tax credits to support working low-income individuals and families, public transit users, first time homebuyers. I received a thank you note from someone who had just bought their first house. Especially for families caring for disabled relatives, we have done amazing work in that area.
We have also provided additional support for families with children through the children's art and fitness tax credits, enhancements to the registered education savings plan, and adoption expense tax credits. Most recently, the government has proposed a new family tax cut and enhancements to the universal child care benefit and child care expense deduction.
Canadians of all income levels are benefiting from tax relief introduced by our government with low- and middle-income Canadians receiving proportionally greater relief.
I am going to speak specifically to what economic action plan 2015 has done for families, for seniors and for students.
This year, Canadian families and individuals will receive $37 billion in tax relief and increased benefits as a result of actions we have taken in government since 2006.
For example, a typical two-earner family of four will receive tax relief and increased benefits of up to $6,600 annually in 2015 and every year going forward in perpetuity. This is thanks to measures such as the family tax cut, the universal child care benefit, the goods and services tax rate reduction, the children's fitness tax credit and other new credits, especially the broad-based income tax relief, including the reduction in the lowest personal income tax rate.
By reducing taxes year after year and enhancing benefits to Canadians, our government has given families and individuals greater flexibility to make the choices that are right for them. Families are just like pantyhose: one size does not fit all.
Additionally, while we have been busy cutting taxes for families, we have in turn made sure that federal transfers to our provinces and territories, the transfers that help pay for what Canadians cherish so much, education and health care, have continued to grow. In fact, including the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer, this year, 2015-16, the amount is going to be almost $68 billion. This is an all-time high, and all the more impressive, it is at the same time as we brought the budget into balance.
This economic action plan is also very supportive of seniors who are already benefiting from important money-saving measures such as pension income splitting and of course, their TFSAs.
Bill C-59 will introduce new measures that give seniors freedom and more flexibility when it comes to managing their retirement income. For example, our government will be reducing the minimum withdrawal factors for registered retirement income funds. This will make a huge difference for many seniors in my riding of Winnipeg South Centre and across Canada. By permitting more capital preservation for our seniors, the new factors will help to reduce the risk of outliving one's savings, while ensuring that the tax deferral provided on RRSP and RRIF savings continues to serve a retirement income purpose.
I am also very pleased that our government is introducing the new home accessibility tax credit. This proposed 15% tax credit will apply on up to $10,000 of eligible home renovation expenditures per year for seniors and for people with disabilities all across Canada. Eligible expenditures will be for improvements that allow a senior or a person who is eligible for the disability tax credit to be more mobile, safe and functional within their homes. We will also be providing up to $42 million over five years to help establish the Canadian centre for aging and brain health innovation. We have allocated $37 million annually to extend employment insurance compassionate care benefits from the current six weeks to six months as of January 2016.
Our government continues to invest significant funding in training and education for students. Federal support for post-secondary education amounts to $10 billion annually and includes financial assistance, such as Canada student loans, Canada student grants, the Canada apprentice loan, and specific programming targeted to first nations and Inuit students. There are also programs designed to enhance skills training among specific groups, including through our youth employment strategy, through our opportunities fund for persons with disabilities, and of course, for aboriginal peoples, through investments of over $440 million annually.
In addition to ensuring Canadians have the skills they need, we also invest in labour market programming, which helps to bridge the current needs of our labour market with the future evolution of our labour force. In 2014-15, the government transferred $2.7 billion to support labour market programming, including $500 million for provinces and territories through the Canada job fund agreements, which include the Canada job grant.
The government has also taken action to support the labour market participation of older Canadians who wish to remain in the workforce by providing $75 million to renew the targeted initiative for older workers, providing assistance to improve the ability and employability of unemployed workers age 55 to 64.
This budget builds on existing measures to help people find jobs and help jobs find people. It commits to working with provinces and territories to facilitate the harmonization of apprenticeship training and certification requirements in targeted Red Seal trades. Some members know that Red Seal trades include mechanics, electricians, carpenters, and even bakers. Our government, since last year, has made it so apprentices in these trades have had access to over $100 million in interest-free federal loans each year.
Overall, Canada saw a 20% increase in registrations in apprenticeship programs between 2006 and 2012. Based on that success, Bill C-59 will provide $1 million over five years to Employment and Social Development Canada's Red Seal secretariat to promote the adoption of the Blue Seal certification program across Canada. Blue Seal certification recognizes business training among certified tradespeople. Currently offered in a few provincial jurisdictions, the certification can help increase the chances of business success for entrepreneurial tradespeople.
Finally, our government has fulfilled a long-standing commitment of increasing the annual contribution limits of tax-free savings accounts to $10,000. This will be helpful to all Canadians, including families, young people and seniors. TFSAs help Canadians save at every stage of life, whether for retirement, starting a business, or buying their very first home. By doubling the TFSA limit, which when we introduced the TFSA in 2009 was $5,000 annually, we are empowering Canadians to save even more of their own money for their own priorities. We hope that more Canadians will take advantage of the tax-free savings account going forward. Of the nearly 11 million individuals who already have a TFSA, 2.7 million are seniors.
I am extremely proud of our government and the continued commitments it has made to Canadian families, Canadian students and Canadian seniors.