Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House on behalf of the residents of Brampton South in favour of the fall economic statement, as tabled by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
The past two years have been challenging for residents in Brampton and for all Canadians. We worked together and Canadians rolled up their sleeves to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the government is focused on supporting Canadians who need it while ensuring inclusive economic growth.
As the Deputy Prime Minister said, this is about building an economy that works for everyone from coast to coast to coast. It is a plan that will set Canada up for success and it is a plan that is balanced, targeted and responsible.
Already, as a country, we have the lowest deficit and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, as well as an AAA credit rating. Our economic engine in Canada is strong, but there are challenges on the horizon due to global inflation. This is why we need to take targeted steps. When I talk with parents, families, seniors and youth in my riding, I hear they are grateful that this government is taking targeted action to make sure Canadians in all our communities are supported.
The programs announced in this fall economic statement add to the series of recent announcements over the past months. These supports have already been reaching Canadians, and I want to begin with some perspective that leads us to where we are today. Recently, I was speaking with a single senior who lives in downtown Brampton. She told me about how impactful the increase to the old age security pension has been, as it is giving her greater peace of mind. I met her at an art class supported by the federal government. She also told me that she is looking forward to the eventual rollout of the dental care program, which will cover Canadians who need it.
On that point, I have served proudly on the health committee since 2015. Over the years, we have heard about the importance of dental care. We know many families do not have the means to send their kids to a dentist. In committee, we heard about how 2.2 million school days are missed by children every year because of emergency dental care. This is a smart investment from the federal government that will save thousands of dollars through prevention per patient and will help make sure our kids do not need to endure emergency surgeries.
The actions in the fall economic statement are informed by things we are already seeing on the ground. I also hear about the need for more affordable housing supply, and I am glad this government is recognizing this. Housing density in Brampton is high, with more than 26% of households having five or more people under one roof. In other words, according to the 2021 census, we have hundreds of multi-generational homes in our community. We need to respect and support the choice of families to live together.
The fall economic statement introduces a multi-generational home renovation tax credit. It would provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary unit for a family member who is a senior or an adult with a disability, starting in January 2023. I know $7,500 will make a big difference for families in Brampton who want to have a grandparent or family member live with them.
This government is also advancing the age well at home initiative, which will help seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible, providing practical assistance for everyday tasks.
Brampton is growing, and we have great economic opportunities, but we need more affordable housing options and an increased supply. I was very grateful to see the launch of the third round of the rapid housing initiative, which will be allocated in Peel. This is in addition to the largest investment ever made for housing in the region of Peel, in 2020, of more than $276 million. It means more affordable units in a region that is experiencing a high demand for new housing. In addition to large systemic investments to our regions and cities, we are also giving tools to Canadian families.
The fall economic statement would also implement the new tax-free first home savings account, which would allow Canadians under 40 to not only save up $40,000 toward their first home, but also withdraw it tax-free. For those most impacted and with income under $35,000, a one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit program will roll out soon.
This government has made it a priority to make life more affordable by also reducing long-term inflationary pressures. I want to highlight the impact that our policies have been on young families. We see across the country how impactful our investments in child care have been. In some provinces, parents have already seen a decrease of 25% in their fees, and by the end of the year, they will see another 25% decrease, fulfilling our commitment to cut child care fees in half as we work toward $10-per-day child care by 2025. It is saving parents money and also giving them the chance to step into the workforce.
Building on that success, the fall economic statement introduces new measures for recent Canadian graduates. I recently spoke with a university graduate from my youth council who was born and raised in Brampton and who has accessed federal loans. This has already been a beneficial program, but we know Canadian students need additional support. That is why this government is making it easier for students to start their careers without the burden of federal student loan interest.
The fall economic statement includes a commitment to permanently eliminate the federal interest on Canada student loans and Canada apprentice loans. This will benefit over one million student loan borrowers and save an average borrower more than $3,000 over the lifetime of their loan. This will make a real difference to support young Canadians and is a great step in addition to increasing the loan repayment threshold from $25,000 to $40,000. I often say that young people are our leaders of today, and we need to make sure they are set up on the path to excel in their bright futures.
Immigration is also a key way to create a strong foundation for economic growth. I was pleased to see new investments for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that will address backlogs and speed up the processing of applications. These applicants will help fill labour shortages in crucial areas such as health care, manufacturing and the trades. This comes with a much-needed $1.6 billion over six years and $315 million in new, ongoing funding, as well as $50 million to make sure that the department has the resources it needs to facilitate efficient processing.
This government recognizes the importance of attracting newcomers to rural and northern communities to address specific labour shortages in some provinces while providing additional much-needed support to communities with diverse populations such as Brampton. Families in Brampton waiting for their relatives applications to be processed will be pleased with our significant investments to reduce wait times and improve file processing.
Another important measure will be the creation of a new quarterly Canada workers benefit with automatic advance payments. This will be in the form of a refundable tax credit that tops up the earnings of low- and modest-income workers. It will put up to $2,400 in the pockets of low-income families. This will reward and encourage workers for doing essential jobs.
As we know, the backbone of a strong economy is made up of our small and medium-sized businesses. I received an email from a local grocery store earlier this summer that told me that the majority of the payments it processes are digital, with debit or credit cards, and it wants to continue to offer excellent services to its customers. It is a relief for it to hear the fall economic statement will advance efforts to lower credit card transaction fees for small and medium-sized businesses. This is something we have to do for small business owners. They were hit hard by COVID-19.
Finally, this past summer, when the Deputy Prime Minister visited Brampton to meet with workers in the trucking industry, we heard the concerns of some employees about their employment status. Last week the Minister of Labour was in the GTA to update industry members and highlight investments in the fall economic statement that will make sure employees can access their rights and what they are entitled to.