Andrew Scheer pitches tax break for new parents

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer revealed the first tranche of his economic policy on Thursday - a tax credit for new parents.

Conservative leader says credit would be worth $4K for a parent making $50K

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Scheer is trying to pass a private member's bill that would offer a tax break to new parents. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is putting forward a private member's bill to introduce a tax break for new parents.

The Supporting New Parents Act, announced Thursday, would give Canadians on parental leave a credit on their employment insurance benefits equal to the federal tax already on those benefits.

If passed by Parliament, Scheer's bill would create a non-refundable income tax credit for any income new parents earn using either federal program. Quebec residents tapping into the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan would be eligible for an equivalent tax credit.

"A Canadian who before going on EI earned $50,000 per year would be eligible for a tax credit of around $4,000," Scheer said.

He said the government shouldn't be taxing the time parents who take off to bond with their newborns.

According to the rules surrounding private members' bills, only ministers can introduce ones that  deal with the expenditure of public funds. 

But a Conservative spokesperson said that since the Supporting New Parents Act deals with a tax credit, not spending, it has been cleared with Parliament's law clerk.

Thursday's announcement was the first major policy announcement Scheer has made since he took over the helm of the party in May 2017.

The governing Liberal Party axed federal tax write-offs implemented by Scheer's predecessor, Stephen Harper, including the children's fitness and arts tax credits, replacing them with the Canada Child Benefit. The fitness tax gave parents a maximum refund of $150 to help with registration and membership fees.


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