The 2016 federal budget: Some positive steps, but other priorities put on hold

Ottawa – March 29, 2016 – While the first Liberal budget is a step in the right direction for the country, a number of promises made by the Liberals during last year's election campaign were not addressed. The 2016 budget will spur growth in the Canadian economy by spending on infrastructure and other major policy areas. However, this budget is a ten-year plan with major spending and investments not scheduled until the last five years of the plan. This means Canadians would need to elect the Liberals to a second term to see Justin Trudeau’s full commitment to promises made in 2015.

“I understand that choices need to be made in each budget, and we won’t agree on everything,” says UFCW Canada President Paul Meinema. “I am pleased to see changes being made to Employment Insurance by reducing the hours required for eligibility, and the announcements on retirement security. We have a pension crisis in this country and I think that raising seniors out of poverty is a good thing. Expanding the CPP would be the next logical step, so we will see what's made of Trudeau’s promise to reach a decision on this issue by the end of the year.”

“On another note, the budget only maintains the current health transfers to the provinces. With many UFCW Canada members in long-term care, we hope to see more health care funding in the future to help this growing sector. Child care is another major concern among our members, and we appreciate the increased benefits for families. At the same time, it is disappointing that parents will have to wait another year before seeing the increase,” says Brother Meinema.

“Overall, the budget appears to have good intentions,” says the national president. “However, we need a better strategy to address precarious employment in this country, and I'm hopeful that the federal government will begin to recognize this issue in future budgets.”