Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to be here today to speak on the topic of Bill C-19, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 and other measures.
Over the past two years, we have faced unprecedented challenges. There is no part of our lives that was not impacted in some way by the coronavirus pandemic. Challenges were both personal and collective in nature. “Budget 2022: A Plan to Grow Our Economy and Make Life More Affordable” contains significant investments in key areas that would help Canadians continue to recover from the detrimental impacts of the pandemic.
Despite the challenges we have faced, Canada has emerged stronger. Because of our government's response to the pandemic, we are able to maintain the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio relative to our G7 international peers, with one of the fastest recoveries. We have the strongest job recovery in the G7, having recuperated 112% and maybe even 115% of the jobs that were lost since the peak of the pandemic, and our unemployment rate is down to 5.5%. This nearly matches Canada's best unemployment rate in 50 years, which we saw in 2019 when the unemployment rate was 5.4%.
The targeted investments in budget 2022 are designed to support people, economic growth and a clean future for everyone as we continue to navigate pandemic recovery. Through these targeted measures, this budget would help make it easier for Canadians to buy a home and move forward on dental care, help Canadian businesses scale up and grow, ensure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share, invest in a clean future, and help Canada become a world leader in producing electric vehicles.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight just a few of the many important investments outlined in this budget that are particularly impactful for my riding of Surrey Centre. These include important investments in housing, immigration, health and dental care. Regarding housing, we know that access to safe and affordable housing remains an incredible challenge for far too many. This is an issue that constituents raise with me often. Access to safe and affordable housing is one of the biggest concerns faced by many residents in the lower mainland. This region has some of the highest housing prices in the country, and as our population continues to grow, we need more homes to meet the demand.
Surrey Centre has been a recipient of significant investments through the rapid housing initiative over the past few years, including $16.4 million under the major city stream to support the creation of affordable housing units for the new Atira Women's Resource Society facility. I had the opportunity to tour the Atira site currently under construction with the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister a couple of weeks ago. This modular housing apartment will provide approximately 44 new affordable units. Owned and operated by Atira Women's Resource Society, this supportive housing complex will serve women experiencing, and at risk of, homelessness, including indigenous women, trans and two-spirited women, and women who are struggling with substance abuse, mental health and spiritual wellness. The $16.4 million funding also assisted Atira to create more units, including next door, where now dozens of units are there to help women in need.
Our government has also invested in the Foxglove supportive housing complex in my riding, which I had the opportunity to visit with the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion recently. This complex includes a total of 130 units: 66 are supportive housing, 34 are for complex care and 30 are shelter beds.
Housing is a complex issue, and I am pleased to see that budget 2022 contains significant investments to address the many layers of challenges with housing that we face and would help expand access to housing in our communities.
This would include doubling the construction of new homes over the next 10 years. Budget 2022 provides $4 billion over five years to CMHC to launch a new housing accelerator fund. This fund aims to remove barriers and help municipalities build housing more quickly. It would target the creation of 100,000 net new housing units in the next five years.
Budget 2022 also contains investments to help Canadians buy their first homes, including by introducing the tax-free first home savings account and doubling the first-time homebuyers' tax credit, and introducing a multi-generational home renovation tax credit that provides up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite in a home for an additional loved one. This would help keep seniors at home longer, and give them better, safer, more comfortable places to say.
The tax-free first home savings account would help thousands of Canadians save, tax free, up to $40,000 to buy their first home. This is on top of their RRSP options, thereby giving Canadian families up to $15,000 or $20,000 in tax savings.
As members may know, immigration is an issue very near and dear to my heart. I have one of the busiest constituency offices in the country and receive hundreds of immigration files each month. Budget 2022 proposes investments to make our immigration system more efficient. Applicants currently face long waits and delays with processing times. Our government has already begun to address these issues and I am pleased to share with everyone that we are continuing to do more.
Budget 2022 proposes $187 million over five years, and $37 million ongoing, for IRCC to improve its capacity to respond to a growing volume of inquiries and to invest in the technology and tools required to better support people using those services. The budget also proposes $386 million over five years, and $86 million ongoing, for IRCC, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and CBSA to facilitate the timely and efficient entry of a growing number of visitors, workers and students.
I also recently introduced a private member's motion, Motion No. 44, to expand pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers. Budget 2022 contains a number of proposed investments relative to Motion No. 44 to improve the temporary foreign worker program.
Throughout the pandemic, employers have found it challenging to find workers. As demand grows for the TFW program, we need to make changes to meet the needs of the system and ensure that TFWs are protected and have health, safety and quality of life while they work and contribute to our communities. These proposed measures include millions of dollars in funding for increasing protections for workers, reducing administrative burdens for trusted repeat employers and ensuring employers can quickly bring in workers to fill short-term labour market gaps.
Health care, pharmacare and dental: Our health care system is vital to the functioning of this country. Our government made significant investments, more than $69 billion, to lead a coordinated federal, provincial and territorial response to fight COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of Canadians, with more funding to be rolled out in the future. This additional funding includes a $2-billion top-up, plus $45 billion to the Canada health transfer to the provinces and territories.
Budget 2022 proposes initiatives to attract more health care workers to rural communities and to support access to mental health resources with $140 million for the Wellness Together Canada portal, as well as $100 million for the substance use and addiction program to address the opioid crisis.
Finally, I would like to highlight the $5.3 billion over five years to provide dental care for Canadians with family incomes of less than $90,000 annually. It starts in 2022, with those under 12 years old, and expands to cover people under age 18, seniors and persons living with a disability in 2023, with full implementation by 2025.
There are far too many other important issues that budget 2022 proposes investments in for me to cover in the 10 minutes I have today. On that note, I will end with the hope that we can work collaboratively to pass this bill and begin the important work of getting these programs to Canadians as soon as possible to make life more affordable from coast to coast to coast.