There was little in the budget to tamp down on rampant inflation — the Consumer Price Index rose 5.7 per cent in February, to the highest levels in more than 30 years — and the federal government did try to set expectations that prices would come back under control in a few years’ time.
There were, however, a few items in the budget that could see some relief come to Canadians’ pocketbooks in the not-too-distant future.
What kind of support could low-income Canadians get?
The 2022 budget set aside $475 million for a round of one-time, direct payments of $500 to Canadians facing “housing affordability challenges.”
The feds said the exact mechanism, timeframe and eligibility requirements are yet to be determined, but that the payment should come in the next fiscal year.
Also on the housing front, the feds unveiled plans for a new Tax Free First Home Savings Account in the budget, allowing prospective homeowners to save up to $40,000 for a down payment.
Will the budget help pay for dental care?
The federal budget had good, if expected, news for those struggling to afford dental care.
Starting with the youngest Canadians, kids under 12 in households with an income of less than $70,000 annually should have access to dental care before the end of 2022.
Dental care will then be rolled out to those under the age of 18, seniors and people living with a disability in 2023. Anyone in a household with income over $90,000 annually won’t have access to the proposed program.
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Households bringing in between $70,000 and $90,000 per year could have co-pays on their coverage. But any household that makes under $70,000 shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket, the budget stated.
Changes to taxes on beer and vapes
Some vapers will soon be paying more per puff, while some beer drinkers will see taxes on lower-alcohol options dropped.
Citing the risk of rising vaping rates among young Canadians, the federal budget plans to implement a previously announced excise duty on vape products as of Oct. 1, 2022.
The excise duty rate would tack $1 per two millilitres of vape fluid for any container with less than 10 mL of liquid.
For containers with more than that amount, the excise tax will be $5 for the first 10 mL and then another $1 for every additional 10 mL.
The feds are calling on provinces and territories to install their own vaping taxation regime, with an extra duty applied equal to the federal rate.
An excise duty is set to end, however, on low-alcohol beer, which is any such beverage with no more than 0.5 per cent alcohol by volume.
Low-alcohol wine and spirits don’t have any excise taxes on them, so the 2022 budget seeks to level the playing field and remove it for beer products.
What about menstrual products?
The federal government is looking to implement a new pilot project that could help make menstrual products more accessible to Canadians.
Under the proposal starting this year, Women and Gender Equality Canada would get $25 million over two years to establish a Menstrual Equity Fund.
The funding will target barriers currently preventing some women, girls, trans and non-binary Canadians from affording menstrual products, as well as reduce the stigma for those who need the basic necessities.
— with files from Global News’ Rachel Gilmore