Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, delivered the Speech from the Throne, titled “A Stronger and More Resilient Canada,” to officially open the second session of the 43rd Parliament. The speech was triggered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked the Governor General to prorogue Parliament on Tuesday, August 18, effectively ending all ongoing work and setting the stage for government to lay out their plans for Canada’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While delivered by the Governor General, the Speech from the Throne is drafted by the Prime Minister’s Office and serves to set the government’s agenda for the upcoming session.
The speech was built upon four foundations:
- fighting the pandemic and saving lives;
- supporting people and businesses through this crisis;
- building back better to create a stronger, more resilient Canada; and
- standing up for who we are as Canadians.
Housing was mentioned multiple times during the speech, including the role of the housing sector as a key driver of the economy and a job creator.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is pleased to see homeownership remains a government priority, as they announced their intention to continue supporting first-time home buyers: “For the middle class, the government will also move forward with enhancements to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, including in Canada’s largest cities, so families can afford to buy their first home.”
Government also confirmed their intention to make Canadian housing stock more energy efficient while creating jobs for Canadians to retrofit homes and buildings, something CREA has proposed in our written submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.
The importance of home during the pandemic was stressed, as were efforts to help those without adequate housing who have been most severely impacted. CREA has supported calls for solutions to create affordable housing and was pleased to see investment through the Rapid Housing Initiative announced earlier this week.
Regarding government support programs, it was announced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) will be extended through to next summer, while there will be enhancements to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP). There was also further mention of the revamped Employment Insurance system and the Canada Recovery Benefit which is expected to support previous recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, CREA has monitored the implementation of existing measures and continued to advocate on behalf of REALTORS® as new initiatives were developed. We are pleased to see this much needed financial support will remain available to struggling businesses.
Government committed to an update to Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan in the fall, where they intend to outline their economic and fiscal position, provide fiscal projections and set out the new measures that were raised.
The full text of the Speech from the Throne can be found here.
The speech can be debated for up to six days, after which a vote on the main motion is held. Should the Liberals fail to secure support from at least one opposition party in the upcoming confidence vote on the speech, the government will fall, and Canadians will go to the polls before the year is out.