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When You Need To Know About The 2024 Federal Budget

All’s fair in love, taxes and budget politics.

At least that’s how the federal government wants to sell its 2024 Budget, appropriately titled Fairness for Every Generation.

Other than an increase in capital gains taxes for Canada’s wealthiest individuals and corporations (see below for details), there were no major surprises. We already learned about the big promises in the weeks-long pre-budget roll-out: multibillion dollar plans for housing, a national school lunch program, youth mental health, defense spending and more. 

So, what is new? That capital gains tax increase, a new Canada Disability Benefit, a new 10 percent Electric Vehicle Supply Chain Tax Credit, a promise to improve “National Regulatory Alignment”, and signals Canada will move ahead with a digital services tax and global minimum tax.

The budget lands as the Liberals trail the Conservatives by more than 10 points in most polls with discontent fuelled by twin cost of living and housing crises. This budget seeks to take action on both fronts and pay for it with a return to the “tax the rich” narrative that paid dividends in 2015 and 2019.

The Liberals have also deliberately chosen to cede the “balanced budgets” debate to the Conservatives. There is no path to balance in this document. Rather, they focus on the net-debt-to-GDP ratio, which the document repeatedly reminds us is “lower today than in any other G7 country” and set to fall from above 42 per cent this year to 39 per cent in 2029.

Ultimately, the Liberals wanted to show they “get it”, people are struggling, and they have a real plan to tackle the challenges facing (especially younger) Canadians. It’s a gambit to win back the Millennial voters who swept Trudeau into power in 2015 and win over the Gen Z voters who are now old enough to cast a ballot.

But only the polls will tell if the stated promise of “fairness for every generation” lands with an increasingly discontented electorate.


  • Total revenues: $447.8 billion in 2024.
  • Program expenses: $438.6 billion in 2024, excluding costs to service the debt and actuarial losses, after which total expenses rise to $483.1 billion.
  • Total Deficit: $40 billion in 2024, falling to $20 billion by 2029.
  • Net Debt-to-GDP ratio: 42 per cent in 2024, declining to 39 per cent in 2029.


Tax Increases

Capital Gains

The government is increasing the inclusion rate (the portion of capital gains that is taxed) on capital gains over $250,000 in one year. Individuals and corporations with up to $250,000 in capital gains will continue to be taxed on only half of that; however, all capital gains income earned after $250,000 will face a new inclusion rate of two thirds. (I.e. if you earned $300,000 in capital gains in a tax year, you would still be taxed on half of the first $250,000 – or $125,000. Then on the next $50,000 you would be taxed on two thirds or $33,333).

Selling a principal residence will continue to be exempt from capital gains taxes, and the government has increased carve outs for farmers and entrepreneurs selling their land or business.

The government has framed this as a fairness issue, noting only 0.13 percent of Canadians will be affected by this change, and about 12 percent of Canada’s corporations.


After years of talking about a Global Minimum Tax (GMT) and Digital Services Tax (DST), the budget signals the government is getting close to implementing both.

The budget also signals that following the conclusion of consultations this year, and given the international agreement to implement a GMT, the Minister will introduce enabling legislation to follow the world in a 15 percent minimum GMT. Once implemented it will increase revenues by more than $2-billion a year.

On DST, while the government again maintains it would prefer an international agreement, the budget states “Canada cannot continue to wait before taking action,” even as seven other countries continue to collect their own DSTs (Austria, France, India, Italy, Spain, Türkiye, and the United Kingdom). The budget notes that Bill C-59, which implements the Fall Economic Statement, would enable the government to retroactively collect the tax back to 2022, which would bring in over a billion a year in revenues. Despite the pushback from American officials and trade groups, this budget sends the clearest signal yet Freeland is ready to flip the switch and activate DST in the 2024 tax year.

National Regulatory Alignment

As part of a broader commitment to improve competitiveness and productivity, the government has promised to work with provinces to achieve greater regulatory alignment across industries. Given the fractured nature of the federation’s regulatory patchwork, this will be welcome news to many industries – and an important area to engage on early and often.

Expanding tax credits and support for critical minerals and the green economy

The suite of green economy and critical mineral tax credits announced in FES 2022 and Budget 2023 will all finally be in place and open to businesses by the end of the year, the 2024 budget promises.

It also reaffirms the government’s commitment to “one project one review” as it seeks to revamp regulatory approvals once again, following the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling late last year that parts of the Impact Assessment Act were unconstitutional.

And, the government has announced a new 10 percent Electric Vehicle Supply Chain tax credit to “support the EV supply chain and secure the future of Canada’s automotive industry.” It’s available to companies that assemble, produce or create the cathode active materials required for EV battery production.

There’s another $500 million for the biofuels sector seeking to “decarbonize heavy industry and heavy transportation like marine aviation and rail.”

Affordability and the social safety net

Pocketbook politics make their way into every budget, and this year the finance minister’s team managed to name drop Taylor Swift into an example of their efforts to combat “junk fees” and other anti-consumer practices. The budget promises to:

  • continue to work with the Competition Bureau to lower grocery prices,
  • combat “drip pricing” on airline tickets and seek to improve how concert tickets are sold,
  • move ahead with right-to-repair measures starting with consultations in June, and
  • work with the CRTC to continue to lower cellphone and internet costs, especially for international roaming.

While the government signals it will continue working to strengthen competition law and support the Bureau’s work as a regulator, it did not in this budget pledge further reforms to the Act.

Given the inflationary challenges across the country, expansions to the social safety net – including $6.1 billion for a new Canada Disability Benefit as well as the previously announced dental and pharmacare plans, $10-a-day childcare and National School Food Program – are framed in terms of their benefit to family budgets as opposed to social good.


Most of the budget’s biggest measures were announced as part of the government’s communications rollout plan over the last three weeks. These include:

Canada’s Housing Plan

In the run-up to the budget, Trudeau and Freeland focused a lot on housing, ultimately unveiling Canada’s Housing Plan the Friday before the budget, which promises (among many other measures) to:

  • Invest $6 billion in the infrastructure required to build new houses with a focus on water and wastewater;
  • Require provinces to sign onto a national Renters Bill of Rights and create as-of-right zoning for fourplexes and along transit lines to boost density and as a requirement to access funds for infrastructure;
  • Remove GST from new rental, co-op, and student housing;
  •  Freeze development charges in all cities over 300,000 to lower the cost of building new homes and condos;
  • Increase rental supply by adding $ 15 billion to the Apartment Construction Loan Program, bringing the fund to $55 billion to build 131,000 new rental homes by 2032; opening more federal lands to construction of said units;
  • Allow renters to build credit for payments made on time;
  • Create a 30-year amortized mortgage for first-time buyers purchasing a newly built home;
  • Raise the amount first-time buyers can take from an RRSP toward a down payment to $60,000 and extend the time required to start paying back that RRSP without penalty from two to five years (retroactively to anyone who has used the program since 2022); and
  • Seek to increase the supply of skilled labour to build homes by streamlining foreign credential approvals and boosting funding for training programs.

Pocketbook Politics Meet Social Policy

The Liberals also sought to untangle the knot of the cost-of-living crisis without further spurring the inflation that’s causing it with too much government spending. They sought to focus on young families who are struggling to build on previous dental care and pharmacare plans to lower healthcare costs. Specifically, the government has already announced it will:

  • Create a $1-billion National School Food Program to provide meals to 400,000 more kids every year;
  • Invest $500 million in Youth Mental Health Programs; and
  • Launch a new Child Care Expansion Loan Program with $1 billion in low-cost loans and $60 million in non-repayable grants to build more childcare spaces and forgive student loans for ECEs to staff those spaces.

Boosting Defence

Amid pressure from allies (and certain U.S. presidential candidates) as well as from our own Canadian Forces, the government unveiled Our North, Strong and Free: A Renewed Vision for Canada’s Defence, which increases defence spending by $8.1 billion over five years and $73 billion over 20 years. It does not, however, bring Canada’s total defence spending to the 2 percent required under NATO, but aims to get us to 1.76 percent by the end of the decade.

Growing the Economy of Tomorrow

For Canada’s economy to keep pace with the global AI revolution, the government announced $2.4 billion in measures “to secure Canada’s AI advantage.” This includes much-needed funding to boost the computational power required to leverage AI and machine learning capabilities. The government also says the investment will create jobs, boost productivity, and ensure AI is adopted responsibly. 


The minority Liberal government requires at least one opposition party to support its budget, and the 2024 document is designed at least in part to maintain the supply-and-confidence agreement with the NDP. The pharmacare deal announced last month, the National School Lunch Program, and the increase in corporate and wealth taxes will go a long way in securing their support.

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre, riding high in the polls thanks to the stark contrast he’s painted with the Liberals, has championed fiscal restraint and prudence long before leading the Conservatives. In 2024, ‘Fix the Budget’ has become one of four messaging planks that will drive his party narrative for the next year and a half – a message in lock with 61% of Canadians who express concern over government policies and current economic instability (Abacus Data).  You can expect the Official Opposition to continue to narrow the pressure on the government’s new spending and debt levels, the productivity gap, the housing crisis, and, of course, the carbon tax. 

Don’t expect the party to waver from this, even if the Liberals seek to paint his opposition as “voting against school lunches” and supporting “lower taxes for the richest.”


Unless NDP leader Jagmeet Singh pulls a serious about-face, expect the government to survive this budget and live to die another day.

The programmatic details of the promised tax hikes and new funds for housing and other initiatives will come out in the Budget Implementation Act (BIA) in the weeks to follow, and the regulations to follow its passage. Expect the Conservatives to continue seeking to delay and obstruct the government’s legislative agenda but it – as has been the case in recent years – continues to get through with the NDP (and occasionally the Bloc Quebecois’) support.

McMillan Vantage will be watching BIA and budget implementation details in the coming weeks. As always, we are here to help you navigate Ottawa and keep your issues at the top of the agenda.

To find out more, contact us at

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