The Honourable Bill Blair, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, appeared at the YMCA on Wright Crescent in Kingston today, Tuesday, Apr.19, 2022, to speak about the federal government’s “Budget 2022 investments to make life more affordable in Kingston and Eastern Ontario.”
Blair was joined by Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, and Rob Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Eastern Ontario.
Gerretsen introduced the minister as someone who, “always takes time in our government lobby to come over and sit down with the backbench MPs like myself and say, ‘What’s going on in your community?’ And [he] is trying to really understand what we do and how we deliver on behalf of Canadians.”
Blair, who spent many years as a police officer and Chief of Police in Toronto, called himself and Gerretsen, “municipal guys who understand the importance of the municipality’s involvement with the people they serve.”
Blair then took to the microphone to thank the YMCA staff for a great tour of their child care facility on site: “My staff enjoyed this the most; we had the opportunity to see the YMCA child care centre. This is a facility that has been providing quality child care for children and families in Kingston for more than 37 years. And that’s what we came here today to talk about and to learn about.”
The minister called attention to, “the government’s work with partners like the YMCA to make life more affordable for Canadians — and for many families — that starts with access to child care. Last month, Canada and Ontario announced an historic arrangement that will deliver affordable, inclusive, and high-quality child care for families in Ontario.”
Blair explained, “The Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement is a five-year deal that reduces child care fees in the short term, and it will deliver $10-a-day child care for Ontario families by the end of March 2026.”
The agreement is intended to create 86,000 new licensed early learning and child care spaces in Ontario, he explained.
“The agreement has already reduced licensing child care fees for children under six years old on average by 25 per cent as of this month – saving Ontario families an average $2,200 per child. By the end of the year, fees will be further lowered, and families will see an average savings of approximately $6,000 per child, per year,” said Blair.
He then reminded the assembly that his government introduced the Canada Child Benefit in 2016. This benefit, which went up again last year, is saving up to $6,832 a year for some parents and children. “This support has been effective in helping lift 782,000 children out of poverty over the past six years,” Blair said.
“A child raised in poverty is limited in their opportunity to realize their full potential,” the minister stated, “and that’s one of the most important investments any country can make: in their children.”
Blair said that the 2022 budget also helps make retirement more affordable for seniors. The government has restored the age of the OAS [Old Age Security] and GIS [Guaranteed Income Supplement] to the age threshold of 65, the minister explained.
“We’ve enhanced the Canada Pension program and increased the GIS, which helps lift thousands of seniors out of poverty, as well, and now we are making sure that low-income seniors and families get connected to high-speed Internet for $20 a month through the Connecting Families Initiative,” he added.
“Budget 2022 is making significant investments in a variety of areas that will make life more affordable for everyone,” Blair said, noting that these investments include, “a tax-free first home savings account that will give prospective first-time home buyers the ability to save up to $40,000. This money will be tax-free in and tax-free out. And we are also introducing a multi-generational home renovation tax credit, which will provide up to $7,500 in support for constructing a secondary suite for a senior or an adult with a disability living with their children.”
“These are just some of the investments we’re making to make sure that life will be more affordable for everyone living in Kingston, Ontario,” Blair concluded.