canadian parliament

2017 CANADIAN BUDGET PREVIEW: Liberals Move to Eliminate Harper-Era Boutique Tax Breaks

The Trudeau government has already started removing a series of relatively minor tax credits introduced by the Harper government, including fitness and arts credits for children. In last year’s budget, the Liberals instead introduced an all encompassing Canada Child Benefit plan, applied to all children rather than just those in specific programs.

Other so-called “boutique” tax breaks that could be on the chopping block include the public-transit tax credit, the tradesperson’s tool deduction and a tax credit for volunteer firefighters and search-and-rescue workers.

In next week’s budget, the Liberals may also consider broadening access to the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan, expanding the program (which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RSP with no tax repercussions to buy a home. The funds must be paid back within 15 years) to help Canadians facing a job relocation, the death of a spouse, marital breakdown or who need to accommodate an elderly relative.

The feds may also provide details on its proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use. Any mention of marijuana will likely have a major impact on marijuana stocks, which have been extremely volatile since the government raised the possibility of legalization during the election campaign.

Finally, in a decision that is sure to interest the country’s junior mining sector, Ottawa will likely extend the 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, scheduled to expire at the end of March. Last year, Ottawa estimated the credit would cost $20 million over two fiscal years.

MT Newswires will be providing extensive coverage of Budget 2017, with Ottawa correspondent Doug Watt providing stories from the lockup and filing those stories as soon as the budget embargo is lifted at around 4 pm ET on Mar. 22.