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On April 7, 2022, the federal budget was tabled by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland. The $452B budget was several hundred pages shorter than last year, and as the Minister noted, “our ability to spend is not infinite.” This new budget commits over $55B in new spending. See https://www.budget.gc.ca/.

As expected, the budget was heavily focused on making a strong economic recovery and making life more affordable for Canadians. This briefing note outlines areas that may be of interest to the CPRA network. Further details will be made available in the coming weeks, as the Government of Canada plans its new initiatives.

Key investments and numbers from the budget, include:

  • $5.3 billion to launch a new dental care program
  • Investments in housing, including a new Tax-Free First Home Savings Account
  • Continued investments in early learning and child care
  • $1 billion over five years to create a federal innovation and investment agency
  • New defence spending
  • Debt to GDP ratio of 45.1% in 2022–2023, with the goal of 41.5% by 2026-2027

As it is a minority government, support from other parties is necessary to pass this budget. However, the deal brokered between the Liberals and NDP two weeks ago essentially ensures that the Budget will pass.

Key considerations for the Parks and Recreation Sector

Below is a summary of the key initiatives contained in the 2022 budget that are of interest to CPRA and its members.

In the coming weeks, CPRA will initiate important conversations with ministers’ offices, parliamentary secretaries and government officials to discuss CPRA’s potential leadership role for many of these initiatives, as well as seek out additional details on the commitments listed below.

 Growing Canada’s Trail Network

  • The Trans Canada Trail is a national initiative that began in 1992 with the goal of developing a network of recreational trails that would stretch across Canada. At 27,000 kilometres, the Trans Canada Trail is now the longest trail network in the world, connecting Canadians to nature from coast-to-coast-to-coast.
  • To maintain and enhance Canada’s trail network, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $55 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, to the Parks Canada Agency for the Trans Canada Trail.
  • To improve access and promote tourism and recreational activities around Rouge National Urban Park, Budget 2022 proposes to provide $2 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, to the Parks Canada Agency to contribute to building new trails outside and connecting to trails inside the Urban Park.

Creating a Safer Sport System

  • Canada’s high performance athletes should feel safe in an environment that is free from abuse, harassment, and discrimination. However, many Canadian athletes have brought forward evidence of unsafe environments in competitive sports.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to provide $16 million over three years, starting in 2022-23, to the Department of Canadian Heritage, to support actions to create a safer sport system. This will include funding for the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada for the implementation of the new Independent Safe Sport Mechanism, and funding to ensure national sport policies and practices reduce the risk of harassment, abuse, and discrimination and create a safer and more inclusive sport system.

Modernizing Labour Market Transfer Agreements

  • Every year, the federal government provides more than $3 billion in funding to provinces and territories to provide training and employment support through the Labour Market Transfer Agreements. These investments help more than one million Canadians every year prepare for their next job through programs ranging from skills training and wage subsidies, to career counselling and job search assistance.
  • The federal government is taking steps to renew this partnership with provinces and territories in order to be more responsive to the needs of workers, businesses, and the economy.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to amend Part II of the Employment Insurance Act to ensure more workers are eligible for help before they become unemployed, and that employers can receive direct support to re-train their workers.
  • Over the coming year, the government also intends to intensify work with provinces and territories to modernize these agreements, reflecting the changing needs and challenges of both the current and future Canadian labour market. This will include working together to support mid-career workers in transitioning to new sectors and help local economies adapt and prosper.

Supporting Canada’s Performing Arts and Heritage Sectors

  • Canada’s performing arts, including our world-class theatre sector, have been devastated by closures and capacity restrictions during the pandemic. Today, both the number of productions and the employment levels in the performing arts sector remain significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Budget 2021 provided $500 million over two years to support the reopening and recovery of Canada’s arts, culture, heritage, and sports sectors. This includes funding to support Canadian festivals, outdoor theatres, and local museums in delivering in-person experiences and events to draw visitors to our communities and encourage the safe return of in-person audiences

Supporting Special Olympics Canada

  • Special Olympics is a global movement that provides programs and competition opportunities to enrich the lives of millions of people with intellectual disabilities around the world through sport—including in communities across Canada.
  • Budget 2022 proposes to provide $1.8 million in ongoing funding, starting in 2022-23, as an extension to the $16 million investment in Special Olympics Canada through Budget 2018. This funding will support more than 45,000 children, youth, and adults through its strong network of 21,000 volunteers
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