Northern Residents Tax Deduction increases, more funding for Nutrition North in federal budget

The federal finance minister announced an increase to the Northern Residents Tax Deduction and more funding for the Nutrition North program as part of the 2016-2017 budget unveiled today.

Just under $100M over 2 years pledged for the territories for affordable housing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left) speaks with Minister of Finance Bill Morneau as he arrives to table the budget on Parliament Hill on March 22 in Ottawa. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The federal finance minister announced an increase to the Northern Residents Tax Deduction and more funding for the Nutrition North program as part of the 2016-2017 budget unveiled today.

Along with a new Child Tax Benefit and an $8.4 billion investment in indigenous communities, other highlights for Northerners included:

  • Northern Residents Tax Deduction: an increase to the maximum daily residency deduction to $22 from $16.50, effective Jan. 1, 2016
  • Nutrition North: $64.5 million over five years, starting in 2016–2017, and $13.8 million per year ongoing to expand the program to all northern isolated communities
  • extending EI benefits: regular benefits extended by five weeks to all eligible claimants, and up to an additional 20 weeks for long-tenured workers in certain economic regions including Whitehorse and Nunavut
  • affordable housing: over two years, $8 million to Yukon, $12 million to the Northwest Territories, $76.7 million to Nunavut, plus an extra $15 million just for the N.W.T.'s Inuvialuit settlement region 
  • broadband internet: $500 million over five years for a new program to extend and enhance broadband service in rural and remote communities
  • climate change adaptation: $129.5 million over five years to seven federal departments and agencies for building the science base to inform decision-making, protecting the health and well-being of Canadians, and building resilience in the North and Indigenous communities

  • renewable energy: $10.7 million over two years to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to implement renewable energy projects in off-grid Indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel and other fossil fuels to generate heat and power

  • CanNor: $40 million over two years to renew the Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development program delivered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
  • ​national parks: $42.4 million over five years to continue work on developing new national parks and national marine conservation areas, including the Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area in Nunavut and Thaidene Nene National Park in Northwest Territories
  • Arctic environment studies: $19 million over five years to Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to help assess the potential environmental impacts of future oil and gas activity in the Beaufort Sea, Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, and Kivalliq, Kitikmeot and the Arctic Islands of Nunavut and inform whether oil and gas activity should proceed in these regions
  • paving Wood Buffalo: $21.6 million to pave highways through Wood Buffalo National Park in the Northwest Territories

  • Mineral Exploration Tax Credit: extension of the credit for an additional year, until March 31, 2017

The Liberal government's first federal budget, unveiled Tuesday, plans to spend almost $30 billion more than it takes in this coming fiscal year, a big jump from the $5.6-billion deficit for the current year straddling the previous Tory and current Liberal governments.

The deficits are planned to continue, at $29 billion in 2017-2018, $22.8 billion in 2018-2019 and $17.7 billion in 2019-2020, the next scheduled federal election year.

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