Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne on September 23, 2020. The speech opened Canada’s the second session of the 43rd Parliament and outlined the government’s agenda. The Speech merely provided a brief description of each objective, but further details on the upcoming changes will follow when the government releases an update to its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan this fall. It will outline the government’s economic and fiscal position, provide fiscal projections, and include new measures to implement the objectives included in the Throne Speech.
The Throne Speech presented several tax-related objectives; the government has already committed to implementing some of these, and several new objectives were introduced. These tax objectives are:
extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy right through to next summer and working with businesses and labour to ensure the program meets the needs of the health and economic situation as it evolves;
- identifying additional ways to tax extreme wealth inequality, including by concluding work to limit the stock option deduction for wealthy individuals at large, established corporations, and addressing corporate tax avoidance by digital giants;
- acting to ensure web giants’ revenue is shared more fairly with our creators and media, and requiring them to contribute to the creation, production, and distribution of our stories, on screen, in lyrics, in music, and in writing;
- bringing forward a Disability Inclusion Plan, which will have a better process to determine eligibility for government disability programs and benefits (this may affect eligibility for the disability tax credit);
- introducing free, automatic tax filing for simple returns to ensure citizens receive the benefits they need;
- continuing to put a price on pollution, while putting that money back in the pockets of Canadians; and
- launching a new fund to attract investments in making zero-emissions products and cut the corporate tax rate in half for these companies to create jobs and make Canada a world leader in clean technology.
The Speech also announced some non-tax objectives that will result in new supports for individuals and businesses. These are:
working to target additional financial support directly to businesses which must temporarily shut down as a result of a local public health decision;
- expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account to help businesses with fixed costs;
- improving the Business Credit Availability Program;
- increasing Old Age Security once a senior turns 75, and boosting the Canada Pension Plan survivor’s benefit;
- introducing further support for industries that have been the hardest hit, including travel and tourism, hospitality, and cultural industries like the performing arts;
- introducing a new Canadian Disability Benefit modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors; and
- transitioning the CERB to the EI system and the new Canada Recovery Benefit.