The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) has reviewed the 2021 Federal Budget, tabled on April 19, 2021, by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland.
With the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, Budget 2021 addresses many government program measures, including the Emergency Wage Subsidy, Emergency Rent Subsidy/Lockdown Support, and the Canada Recovery Benefit and Recovery Care Benefit. We encourage all members of our community to verify whether or not they are eligible for these programs.
We are pleased to present these summary points, which highlight issues of importance to our Ukrainian Canadian community:
- Supporting our Seniors
- National standards for Long Term Care
- Mitigating impacts on non-profit organizations
- Supporting Culture and the Arts
- Supporting Youth
- Expanding access to the Internet
- Canada’s Defence and Security and NATO
- Small business and entrepreneurship
- Memorial to the Victims of Communism
For your information the February 2021 submission of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress to the Federal Government’s Budget Consultation is available here
Join us for a special presentation on Covid-19 Relief and the Federal Budget: A Guide for Business on Wednesday May 5 at 12 pm EDT. Special guest Chris Mazur (,CIRP, LIT), Partner & Senior Vice-President – BDO Canada Ltd. Presented by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation, and the Ukrainian Canadian Profession and Business Association of Toronto. Hosted by Alex Ilchenko, UCC National Vice President. To register for the webinar, please click here or on the image below.
Supporting our seniors
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $90 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Employment and Social Development Canada to launch the Age Well at Home initiative. Age Well at Home would assist community-based organizations in providing practical support that helps low-income and otherwise vulnerable seniors age in place, such as matching seniors with volunteers who can help with meal preparations, home maintenance, daily errands, yard work, and transportation.
The 2020 Fall Economic Statement announced that to support personal support workers, homecare workers and essential workers involved in senior care, the government would work with labour and healthcare unions, among others, to seek solutions to improve retention, recruitment, and retirement savings options for low and modest-income workers, particularly those without existing workplace pension coverage. To follow through on this commitment, Budget 2021 proposes to provide funding of $27.6 million over three years for my65+, a Group Tax-Free Savings Account offered by the Service Employees International Union Healthcare.
Budget 2021 proposes to meet the immediate needs of this group of seniors by providing a one-time payment of $500 in August 2021 to OAS pensioners who will be 75 or over as of June 2022. Budget 2021 then proposes to introduce legislation to increase regular OAS payments for pensioners 75 and over by 10 per cent on an ongoing basis as of July 2022.
UCC Assessment: The Ukrainian Canadian community and Ukrainian Canadian organizations from coast to coast know the importance of supporting senior members of our community. The UCC will work with our member organizations to ensure that our community is well-informed about these initiatives and that our organizations and support workers in our community can benefit from these new programs.
National standards long term care
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $3 billion over five years, starting in 2022-23, to Health Canada to support provinces and territories in ensuring standards for long-term care are applied and permanent changes are made.
UCC Assessment: The UCC supports the development and implementation of national standards for long term care. The Ukrainian Canadian community knows first-hand that community managed not-for-profit long-term care facilities which offer culturally specific programming are able to provide compassionate and effective care for seniors. We will continue to work to ensure that the experiences and knowledge of Ukrainian Canadian long-term care homes and providers is integrated into these standards.
Mitigating impacts of covid-19 on non-profit organizations
To ensure charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations have the skills and capacity needed to access social finance opportunities: Budget 2021 proposes to renew the Investment Readiness Program for $50 million over two years, starting in 2021-22. This program supports charities, non-profits, and social purpose organizations in capacity-building activities such as business plan development, expanding products and services, skills development, and hiring. Budget 2021 proposes to provide $400 million in 2021-22 to Employment and Social Development Canada to create a temporary Community Services Recovery Fund to help charities and non-profits adapt and modernize so they can better support the economic recovery in our communities.
UCC Assessment: Our community’s non-profit and charitable organizations responded to the pandemic with determination and unity of purpose, delivering many valuable programs, initiatives and support to the most vulnerable. The UCC welcomes this announcement in Budget 2021 and will work with our organizations on capacity-building opportunities.
Supporting culture and the arts
To support Canada’s many local festivals, celebrations, and amateur sport events that draw visitors to our communities: Budget 2021 proposes to invest $200 million through Canadian Heritage to support local festivals, community cultural events, outdoor theatre performances, heritage celebrations, local museums, amateur sport events, and more.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $300 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage to establish a Recovery Fund for Heritage, Arts, Culture, Heritage and Sport Sectors.
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $49.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to Canadian Heritage for the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Program ($14 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), the Canada Arts Presentation Fund ($16 million over two years, starting in 2022-23), and the Celebration and Commemoration Program ($19.6 million over three years, starting in 2021-22).
UCC Assessment: From coast to coast, communities organize festivals and events that share with all Canadians the richness and beauty of Ukrainian food, dance, music and art. The culture and arts sectors have been particularly hard-hit by the covid-19 pandemic, and we will work with community organizations to ensure that they are able to access this support. We will also continue to advocate to the Government to expand eligibility for funding opportunities to amateur or non-professional artists and practitioners
The government will also ensure that families in Canada are no longer burdened by high child care costs—with the goal of bringing fees for regulated child care down to $10 per day on average within the next five years. By the end of 2022, the government is aiming to achieve a 50 per cent reduction. To support this vision, Budget 2021 proposes new investments totaling up to $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care.
UCC Assessment: Many Ukrainian organizations provide excellent day care for children and the UCC will work to ensure that their perspectives are included in further developing these new programs. Numerous studies are showing conclusively that women are bearing a disproportionate burden in dealing with the negative effects of the covid-19 pandemic, both in their professional, family lives and in caring for children.
Budget 2021 proposes to invest $239.8 million in the Student Work Placement Program in 2021-22 to support work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students. This funding would increase the wage subsidy available for employers to 75 per cent, up to $7,500 per student, while also increasing employers’ ability to access the program. This is expected to provide 50,000 young people (an increase of 20,000) with valuable experience building opportunities in 2021-22.
Budget 2021 proposes to invest $371.8 million in new funding for Canada Summer Jobs in 2022-23 to support approximately 75,000 new job placements in the summer of 2022. This is in addition to 2020 Fall Economic Statement funding for approximately 94,000 additional job placements in 2021-22. In total, the Canada Summer Jobs program will support around 220,000 summer jobs over the next two years.
UCC’s Assessment: The UCC supports the Student Work Placement Program as an opportunity for young Canadians to begin their careers. Many organizations in our community have benefitted from the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and many young members of our community, in turn, have benefitted from the experience this program has provided. We will continue to work to ensure that these two programs take into account the needs of ethnocultural community organizations and young members of our community.
Expanding access to the internet
Budget 2021 proposes to provide an additional $1 billion over six years, starting in 2021-22, to the Universal Broadband Fund to support a more rapid rollout of broadband projects in collaboration with provinces and territories and other partners. This would mean thousands more Canadians and small businesses will have faster, more reliable internet connections.
UCC’s Assessment: The UCC welcomes this initiative as an important means to keep not only our community but all Canadians connected to each other in covid-19 reality. For almost all Canadians, the new realities of online schooling or work brought on by the pandemic have highlighted the need and importance of affordable and dependable access to the internet.
Budget 2021 proposes to invest $428.9 million over five years, with $398.5 million in remaining amortization, starting in 2021-22, to develop and deliver an enterprise-wide digital platform that would gradually replace the legacy Global Case Management System. This will enable improved application processing and support for applicants, beginning in 2023.
The Government of Canada intends to propose amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to provide the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada with authority to use Ministerial Instructions to help select those candidates who best meet Canada’s labour market needs from among the growing pool of candidates who wish to become permanent residents through the Express Entry System.
UCC’s Assessment: The UCC supports increased immigration to Canada and will continue to support ethno-cultural community-based settlement services for newcomers, which provide the best opportunities for successful integration.
Canada’s Defence and Security and NATO
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $541.2 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to the Department of National Defence to maintain an additional six fighter aircraft and a frigate as part of the NATO Readiness Initiative. Budget 2021 also proposes to provide up to $305.9 million over five years, starting in 2020-21, to the Department of National Defence to cover higher Canadian contributions to NATO’s common budget and military activities.
UCC’s Assessment: The UCC strongly supports Canada’s increasing contributions to the NATO Alliance as the guarantor of peace and stability in Europe and the North Atlantic region. The UCC will continue to advocate for increased and swift integration of Ukraine with NATO with a view to Ukraine’s accession to NATO, as is enshrined in Ukraine’s Constitution.
Small business and entrepreneurship
Budget 2021 proposes to provide up to $101.4 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program.
To provide affordable financing, increase data, and strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem, Budget 2021 proposes to provide up to $146.9 million over four years, starting in 2021-22, to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. Women entrepreneurs would have greater access to financing, mentorship, and training. Funding would also further support the Women Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Fund and the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub.
UCC’s Assessment: Small businesses and entrepreneurship are the primary drivers of Canada’s economy. Small businesses and entrepreneurs have suffered disproportionately because of the pandemic. The UCC welcomes increased support for this vital sector of our economy and will work with the Ukrainian Canadian business and commerce community to ensure that our community’s businesses are able to benefit from this assistance.
Memorial to the Victims of Communism
The Memorial to the Victims of Communism will recognize Canada as a place of refuge for people fleeing injustice and persecution and honour the millions who have suffered under communist regimes. The memorial is currently under construction in Canada’s National Capital Region and needs additional funding in order to be completed. Budget 2021 proposes to provide $4 million in 2021-22 to Canadian Heritage to support the completion of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism.
UCC’s Assessment: The Ukrainian Canadian community and the UCC were instrumental in ensuring that a Memorial to the Victims of Communism be built in Canada’s capital. The UCC supports the announcement in the Budget of the funding necessary to complete this very important project of national and international significance.