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A reporter reads a copy of the Federal Budget in the lockup for the Federal budget, Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Ottawa.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The federal government unveiled its 2023 budget on Tuesday with promised spending on the climate and dental care, and increasing taxes on higher-income Canadians. Here are the big takeaways from the budget.

Home savings account comes into effect

Following through on a pledge to create a tax-free home savings account, the government says financial institutions will be able to offer them as of April 1. The accounts will give first-time homebuyers the ability to save up to $40,000 and contributions will also be tax-free. Individuals can contribute up to $8,000 a year.

Dental plan

A national dental care plan for lower-income people will get started later this year. Uninsured Canadians with annual family income of less than $90,000 will be provided with dental coverage, and there will be no co-pays for families with incomes less than $70,000. The plan will now cost $13-billion over five years. Only about $6-billion had previously been budgeted. The government is also expanding coverage in remote communities and spending on getting more data on dental care from Statistics Canada.

Deficit projected to increase

Projections for economic growth have worsened since the government’s fall fiscal update and Ottawa has abandoned its fall projection to balance the books within five years. Instead, the fiscal year that begins April 1 is now projected to show a $40.1-billion deficit, compared with $30.6-billion in the fall update. By 2027-28, the government now forecasts the deficit will drop to $14-billion. That was the year the books had been projected to return to surplus according to the fall update.

A big bet on electricity

The backbone of Ottawa’s green economy plan is a refundable tax credit worth $6.3-billion over four years for clean electricity that would be available to provincial utilities, as well as private and Indigenous-owned assets. Demand for electricity is expected to double by 2050 and the government views low-cost, clean electricity as Canada’s competitive advantage and key to its future economic success.

A growth fund for the clean economy

Previously announced in last year’s budget, the $15-billion Canada Growth Fund aims to capitalize on the trillions of dollars in private capital waiting to be spent on the clean economy by enabling an independent investment team through the Public Sector Pension Investment Board to make investments and manage assets.

Getting the rich to pay more

Ottawa is changing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to make the wealthiest Canadians pay more by raising the rate to 20.5 per cent from 15 per cent, and limiting the excessive use of tax preferences. Under the proposal, the basic AMT exemption would increase to $173,000 from $40,000. The changes are expected to generate $3-billion in revenue over five years.

From flood insurance to alcohol taxes, how the 2023 budget affects Canadians’ wallets

More aid for Ukraine

Canada is lending another $2.4-billion to Ukraine, bringing total support for Kyiv to more than $8-billion since the war began. The budget also provides nearly $172-million in additional support payments for Ukrainian citizens who are making Canada their home, at least temporarily. And Ottawa also announced nearly $85-million in additional humanitarian assistance for mental-health support, removing land mines, agriculture and other purposes.


  • Limiting alcohol tax: The government is capping inflation-adjusted duties on alcoholic products at 2 per cent for one year only.
  • Junk fees: Internet overage charges, concert, shipping and baggage fees are among those being targeted by the government through potential new legislation.
  • Right to repair: In an effort to reduce expenses and waste, the government aims to introduce a right-to-repair framework in 2024, saying “Devices and appliances should be easy to repair, spare parts should be readily accessible, and companies should not be able to prevent repairs with complex programming or hard-to-obtain bespoke parts.”
  • Common chargers: The government will work toward implementing a standard charging port similar to the European Union’s mandate of USB-C for all small handheld devices and laptops by 2025.
  • Automatic tax filing: The Canada Revenue Agency will nearly triple the number of lower-income Canadians eligible for auto-file returns.
  • Pregnancy loss leave: Federally regulated workers will have access to a leave to recover physically and emotionally from a pregnancy loss through planned amendments to the Labour Code.
  • Dividend tax change: Ottawa is planning to raise billions of dollars from banks and insurers through a change in tax rules on dividends that financial institutions receive from Canadian companies.
  • Grocery rebate: The federal government is doubling the one-time GST rebate for lower-income Canadians. It can be used for anything, but the name is a nod to rising food prices.
  • Interest rate cap on expensive loans: The budget proposes setting the cap on the maximum interest rate that lenders can charge at 35 per cent.
  • National flood insurance plan: Ottawa is considering a government insurance plan that would offer low-cost flood coverage to households in high-risk areas.

With reports from Sean Silcoff, Marieke Walsh, Steven Chase and Bill Curry

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