Canada’s Federal Budget 2018: What It Means For Our Community
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Office has reviewed the 2018 Federal Budget, and we are pleased to present these summary highlights, which impact issues of importance to our Ukrainian Canadian community.
- Increase in International Assistance funding of approximately $400 million per year
In Budget 2018, the Government “proposes to provide an additional $2 billion over five years, starting in 2018-19, to the International Assistance Envelope. These new resources will be dedicated to support humanitarian assistance and Canada’s core development priorities, in particular supporting women and girls, and will reinforce Canada’s commitment to reduce poverty and to do its part to support a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world.”
The UCC is advocating for an increase in funding to Ukraine proportionate to the overall increase in the International Assistance Envelope announced in Budget 2018. Canada’s total International Assistance Envelope is just under $5 billion per year per Budget 2017. Under the International Assistance programming, Ukraine receives approximately $50 million per year in funding. The UCC has urged the Government of Canada to commit to maintaining this current level of funding and increase it as necessary. To date the Government has made no commitment to maintain funding at this level for the immediate years ahead.
- Funding to strengthen Canada’s sanctions system
Budget 2018 allocates $22.2 million over five years, with $4.3 million per year thereafter, “Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to strengthen Canada’s sanctions system, including funds for the development of sanctions policy, coordination with international partners, and providing guidance to Canadians on sanctions obligations.”
The UCC will continue to advocate for a significant strengthening of sectoral economic and individual sanctions on Russia and Russian officials, including the removal of Russia from the SWIFT international payments system. In fall 2017, the Magnitsky Act, which provides the Government of Canada tools to sanction foreign officials responsible for human rights abuses, became the law of the land in Canada. The UCC advocated for the adoption of this important legislation. To date, the Government has not sanctioned any Russian officials responsible for egregious human rights violations of Ukrainian citizens in Russian-occupied Crimea or Russian-occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
- $507.7 million in funding over five years for a National Cyber Security Strategy
Budget 2018 states, “Canada is implementing a plan for security and prosperity in the digital age to protect against cyber-attacks. The Government proposes significant investments of $507.7 million over five years, and $108.8 million per year thereafter, to fund a new National Cyber Security Strategy.”
As the National Cyber Security Strategy is planned and implemented, the UCC will advocate for a strong and robust response to these attacks by Russia on our democracy and institutions. As evidenced by the 2016 US election, the NotPetya cyber attack and other events, Russia and other rogue regimes continue to use cyber attacks to attempt to destabilize Canada and NATO allies. As stated by numerous experts, these attacks are likely to grow as the 2019 Federal Election in Canada draws nearer.
- Increase in $23 million over two years for the Multiculturalism Program at Canadian Heritage
Budget 2018 states, “To provide support for events and projects that help individuals and communities come together, the Government proposes to provide $23 million over two years, starting in 2018-19, to increase funding for the Multiculturalism Program administered by Canadian Heritage. This funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach, would bring together experts, community organizations, citizens and interfaith leaders to find new ways to collaborate and combat discrimination, and would dedicate increased funds to address racism and discrimination targeted against Indigenous Peoples and women and girls.”
The UCC will participate in the cross-country consultations to ensure that the perspective of the Ukrainian community is reflected and will suggest ways as to how Ukrainian experiences can inform and educate the wider Canadian public about these important issues. The UCC works closely with the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, Central and East European Council, the Center for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Canadian ethnic communities, and many other institutions, on multiculturalism issues, anti-discrimination initiatives, human rights education and other areas of importance to all our communities.
- $448.5 million increase in funding over five years for Youth Employment Strategy
Budget 2018 “proposes to provide an additional $448.5 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, to the Youth Employment Strategy. This funding will support the continued doubling of the number of job placements funded under the Canada Summer Jobs program in 2019-20 and provide additional resources for a modernized Youth Employment Strategy in the following years, building on the input of the Expert Panel on Youth Employment. A renewed Youth Employment Strategy will be announced over the course of the next year.”
The UCC will work to ensure that the renewed Youth Employment Strategy takes into account the needs of ethnocultural communities and organizations. Many of the UCC’s provincial councils, local branches and member organizations apply for Canada Summer Jobs positions. The Canada Summer Jobs Program is an excellent opportunity to provide valuable experience and skills to our youth.
- Senior’s Care
Budget 2018 “proposes to provide $20 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, and $4 million per year ongoing, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support community-based projects that address the challenges of dementia. Projects could include programs that provide mental health supports and information about self-care for family caregivers, or initiatives that help Canadians locate resources in their communities quickly, including information about best practices for providing care for people living with dementia.”
The UCC will work to ensure that the perspectives of organizations working with Ukrainian Canadian seniors are represented and that these organizations access the funding included in Budget 2018. The UCC works with our member organizations to ensure that senior members of our community receive access to quality medical care in the autumn of their lives.
- Supporting Local Journalism
Budget 2018 states, “To ensure trusted, local perspectives as well as accountability in local communities, the Government proposes to provide $50 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, to one or more independent non-governmental organizations that will support local journalism in underserved communities. The organizations will have full responsibility to administer the funds, respecting the independence of the press.”
The UCC will work to ensure that the perspectives and requirements of local, Ukrainian Canadian press and media are well-represented and that our media have the ability to access the funding support. Local Ukrainian Canadian media are an integral part of keeping our community well-informed and are a fundamentally important community institution.
- Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Budget 2018 states, “In order to ensure that the museum has adequate funding to deliver on its mandate, including promoting respect for others and encouraging reflection and dialogue, the Government proposes to provide $35 million over six years, starting in 2018-19, to support the museum’s operations.”
The UCC will continue to work with the CMHR to ensure that issues of importance to the Ukrainian community in Canada, are appropriately and prominently reflected in the content, exhibits and educational programs of the Museum, including but not limited to the Holodomor Famine Genocide and the internment of Ukrainians in Canada during WWI.