He is promising to do that by offering a new tax credit of 15 per cent on any income earned from the maternity and paternity leave benefits administered through Employment Insurance (EI) to new parents.
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“When a new mom goes on maternity leave, often they’re already giving up up to 45 per cent of their salary, and then the government comes at the end of that and taxes some of that back,” said Scheer during a press conference on Tuesday announcing the plan.
“A new Conservative government will provide a non-refundable tax credit of 15 per cent for any money earned under the EI maternity leave programs.”
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Scheer also added that the tax credit would cover paternal leave benefits.
He suggests that for a family earning $50,000, that would translate to a tax credit of roughly $4,000.
An equivalent credit would be provided to residents in Quebec, who receive their parental leave benefits under a separate program run by the province.
Scheer also said the tax-credit plan would include a carry-forward provision.
“This will allow parents to carry forward any unused portion of their tax credit to a future year in which they pay taxes,” a press release explaining the plan said.
His plan comes after the Liberal government announced major changes to the parental leave benefit program last year.
Under the former rules, new parents could split 35 weeks of paid leave between them.
The new rules extend that to 40 weeks but only allow those additional five weeks to be used by the second parent, which the Liberals billed as a plan to try to encourage more fathers to take parental leave. It matched the program in place in Quebec, which does the same.
The amount of benefits remains the same whether parents choose to split their time over a 35-or 40-week period.
Scheer’s announcement also comes on the heels of a new Ipsos poll conducted exclusively for Global News that suggests Conservatives and Liberals are tied for support among Canadian women and will have to win over their votes in the coming federal campaign this fall.
Both parties sit at 33 per cent support among women and are also in a virtual dead heat when it comes to popular support.
The Conservatives hold 35 per cent of the decided vote while the Liberals sit at 33 per cent.
The federal election is scheduled to take place on Oct. 21.