The Budget did not propose a number of changes that were the subject of speculation prior to the Budget. The capital gains inclusion rate will not increase and remains at 50 per cent. In addition, proposals in respect of “surplus stripping” first introduced in July 2017 and then abandoned have not been reintroduced.
Personal income tax rates will not increase under the Budget.
Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)
The Budget enhances the existing Working Income Tax Benefit and renames it as the Canada Workers Benefit, effective for 2019 and subsequent years.
The CWB will be 26 per cent of “earned income” in excess of $3,000 to a maximum of $1,355 for single taxpayers without dependents and $2,335 for families (couples and single parents). The CWB is reduced where net income exceeds a threshold amount. The CWB disability supplement for individuals certified as eligible for the disability credit will be $700. Amounts will be indexed after 2019.
The Budget also proposes to allow the CRA to determine if a taxpayer is eligible for the CWB even if not claimed on their tax return and assess as if it had been claimed. This measure applies to tax returns for 2019 and subsequent taxation years.
Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) — Service Animals
The Medical Expense Tax Credit is currently available in respect of expenses incurred for a service animal specially trained to assist an individual in coping with blindness, profound deafness, severe diabetes, severe epilepsy, severe autism or a severe and prolonged impairment that markedly restricts the use of the individual’s arms or legs. The Budget proposes to extend the METC to expenses for animals specially trained to perform tasks for an individual with a severe mental impairment. An example is a psychiatric service dog trained to assist an individual with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Expenses for animals that provide comfort or emotional support, but are not specially trained, will not qualify. Qualifying expenses include the cost of the animal, costs for care and maintenance such as food and veterinary care, and costs for training the individual in handling the animal. This measure will apply in respect of expenses incurred after 2017.
Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP)
The plan holder of a Registered Disability Savings Plan must be the individual’s legal representative where the capacity of the of the individual to enter into a contract is in doubt, for example where the individual has a cognitive disability. Where the individual does not have a legal representative in place, certain family members (parents, spouses and common-law partners) are allowed to be the RDSP plan holder. This provision was to expire at the end of 2018. The Budget extends it to the end of 2023. If a family member becomes a plan holder before the end of 2023, they will be able to continue as the plan holder after 2023.
Contributions to Enhanced Portion of the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP)
Individuals are currently entitled to a non-refundable credit in respect of employee contributions and the “employee” portion of self-employed contributions to the Quebec Pension Plan. The QPP is being enhanced, starting in 2019. The Budget proposes that the enhanced part of the contributions be deductible to the individual.
Foreign-born Status Indians who legally reside in Canada but are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents are eligible for the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), provided all other eligibility requirements are met. The Budget proposes to make them retroactively eligible for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the National Child Benefit supplement and the Universal Child Care Benefit, the predecessors to the current CCB.
The Budget also proposes to provide authority for the federal government to share taxpayer CCB information with the provinces for the purpose of administering their social assistance payment regimes. This measure is effective July 1, 2018.
Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for Flow-Through Share Investors
Eligibility of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit is proposed to be extended for one year under the Budget. The credit will apply to expenses renounced under flow-through share agreements entered into on or before March 31, 2019.
Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit
The Budget proposes a new five-week Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit, effective June 2019. This benefit will be available as a top-up in situations where both parents agree to share parental leave. It will be available to eligible two-parent families, including same sex-couples and adoptive parents. This new benefit is intended to provide greater flexibility, particularly for mothers, to return to work sooner.
Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women
Current legislation provides for the Apprenticeship Completion Grant which is a one-time taxable cash grant of $2,000 to a registered apprentice who has completed their apprenticeship training and obtains their journeyperson certification. The Budget proposes a new Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women. Under this program, women in male-dominated Red Seal trades will be able to receive $3,000 per year for each of their first two years of training. Nearly 90 per cent of Red Seal trades would be eligible, according to the Budget documents. Presumably this grant would be taxable, but this is not clear from the budget documents.