2021 Federal Budget Highlights - Personal Measures

On April 19, 2021, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, presented Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, to the House of Commons.

Publish at: 2021-05-06

On April 19, 2021, the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, presented Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience, to the House of Commons.

Here are some highlights:

Canada Recovery Benefits (CRB)

Budget 2021 proposes the following in respect of CRB:

  • The maximum CRB would be extended by 12 weeks to a
    maximum of 50 weeks. The first four additional weeks will be paid at $500 per
    week, with subsequent weeks paid at $300 per week. All new CRB claims after
    July 17, 2021 would receive the $300 per week benefit, which will be available
    until September 25, 2021.

  • The maximum Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit
    would be extended by 4 weeks, to a maximum of 42 weeks, paid at $500 per week.

  • Legislative amendments would
    be made providing the authority for additional potential extensions of CRB, EI
    and related programs until November 20, 2021.

Employment Insurance (EI)

Temporary Measures

Budget 2021 proposes to extend many of the temporary EI measures commenced in 2020, including:

  • Maintaining a 420-hour entrance requirement for
    regular and special benefits, with a 14-week minimum entitlement for regular
    benefits, and a new common earnings threshold for fishing benefits.

  • Simplifying rules around the treatment of
    severance, vacation pay, and other monies paid on separation.

  • Extending the temporary enhancements to the
    Work-Sharing program such as the possibility to establish longer work-sharing
    agreements and a streamlined application process.

Other Benefits

  • Sickness benefits would increase from 15 to 26 weeks, as of summer 2022.

  • Self-employed fishers who submit an EI claim for the winter 2021 fishing benefit period would have extended temporary eligibility for the entire benefit period.

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

Budget 2021 proposes several changes which would provide broader access to the DTC. These proposals would apply to the 2021 and subsequent taxation years, in respect of DTC certificates filed on or after Royal Assent.

Mental Functions

The DTC is generally available to individuals who are markedly restricted in their ability to perform a basic activity of daily living due to a severe and prolonged impairment in physical or mental functions. Budget 2021 proposes to expand the definition of mental functions necessary for everyday life to include: attention, concentration, memory, judgement, perception of reality, problem-solving, goal-setting, regulation of behaviour and emotions, verbal and non-verbal comprehension, and adaptive functioning.

Life-Sustaining Therapy

Individuals can qualify for the DTC where they undergo therapies that have a significant impact on everyday life. Under current rules, the therapy is required to be administered at least three times/week for a total duration averaging at least 14 hours a week. Also, only certain types of therapy are allowed to be included in this computation.

To better recognize additional aspects of therapy for this computation, Budget 2021 proposes to:

  • expand the types of activities which can be included in the 14 hour per week minimum to include:

    • medically required recuperation after therapy;

    • activities related to determining dosages of medication that must be
      adjusted on a daily basis, or determining the amounts of certain compounds that
      can be safely consumed;

    • the time reasonably required by another person to assist the individual
      in performing and supervising the therapy where the individual is incapable of
      performing therapy on their own due to the impacts of their disability; and

  • reduce the requirement that therapy be administered
    at least three times each week to two times each week, retaining the requirement
    that therapy require an average of not less than 14 hours a week.

  • medically required recuperation after therapy;

Canada Workers Benefit (CWB)

The CWB is a non-taxable refundable tax credit that supplements the earnings of low- and modest-income workers.

Budget 2021 proposes to enhance the CWB by, for example, by increasing the phase-out thresholds for individuals without dependents and families (from $13,194 to $22,944 and from $17,522 to $26,177, respectively in 2021). The phase-out rate is also slightly increased. Corresponding changes would be made to the disability supplement.

Budget 2021 also proposes to introduce a "secondary earner exemption" to the CWB which would allow the spouse or common-law partner with the lower working income to exclude up to $14,000 of their working income in the computation of their adjusted net income, for the purpose of the CWB phase-out.

These measures would apply to the 2021 and subsequent taxation years. Indexation of amounts would continue to apply after the 2021 taxation year, including the secondary earner exemption.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Income

Budget 2021 proposes to include postdoctoral fellowship income in “earned income” for RRSP purposes. This measure would apply in respect of postdoctoral fellowship income received in the 2021 and subsequent taxation years. This measure would also apply in respect of postdoctoral fellowship income received in the 2011 to 2020 taxation years, where the taxpayer submits a request in writing to CRA for an adjustment to their RRSP room for the relevant years.

Child Care

Providing new investments totaling up to $30 billion over the next 5 years, and $8.3 billion ongoing for Early Learning and Child Care and Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, with the goal of providing regulated child care for $10/day on average, within the next five years.

Student Loans

Extending the waiver of interest accrual on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans until March 31, 2023 and extending the doubling of the Canada Student Grants until the end of July 2023.

Home Renovation Loans

Providing interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to homeowners and landlords who undertake retrofits identified through an authorized EnerGuide energy assessment. This program will also include funding dedicated to support low-income homeowners and renters including cooperatives and not-for profit owned housing. The program would be available by summer 2021.

Old Age Security Enhancements

Providing pensioners who will be age 75 and older as of June, 2022 with a one-time additional payment of $500 in August 2021. Budget 2021 then proposes to increase regular OAS payments for pensioners 75 and over by 10% on an ongoing basis as of July 2022.

GST New Housing Rebate

The GST New Housing Rebate entitles homebuyers to recover 36% of the GST (or the federal component of the HST) paid on the purchase of a new home priced up to $350,000. The maximum rebate is $6,300. The GST New Housing Rebate is phased out for new homes priced between $350,000 and $450,000. There is no GST New Housing Rebate for new homes priced at $450,000 or more. In addition to these price thresholds, several other conditions must be
met.

In particular, the purchaser must be acquiring the new home for use as their primary place of
residence or as the primary place of residence of a relation (i.e., an individual related by blood, marriage, common-law partnership or adoption, or a former spouse or former common-law partner). Under the current rules, if two or more individuals who are not considered relations for GST New Housing Rebate purposes buy a new home together, all of those individuals must meet this condition – otherwise none of them will be eligible for the GST New Housing Rebate. Budget 2021 proposes to make the GST New Housing Rebate available as long as the new home is acquired for use as the primary place of residence of
any one of the purchasers or a relation of any one of the purchasers.

This measure would apply to agreements of purchase and sale entered into after Budget Day. For owner-built homes, the measure would apply where construction or substantial renovation of the residential complex is substantially completed after Budget Day.

Tax on Select Luxury Goods

Budget 2021 proposes to introduce a tax on the retail sale of new luxury cars and personal aircraft priced over $100,000, and boats priced over $250,000, effective as of January 1, 2022. For vehicles, aircraft and boats sold in Canada, the tax would apply at the point of purchase if the final sale price paid by a consumer (not including GST/HST or provincial sales tax) is above the $100,000 or $250,000 price threshold, as the case may be. Importations of vehicles, aircraft and boats would also be subject to the tax.

Tax on Unproductive Use of Canadian Housing by Foreign Non-resident Owners

Budget 2021 proposes to introduce this new national 1% tax on the value of vacant or underused real estate owned by non-resident, non-Canadians. The tax would be levied annually beginning in 2022.

All owners of residential property in Canada, other than Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, would be required to file an annual declaration for the prior calendar year in respect of each Canadian residential property they own, starting in 2023.

This is article is written only for general information and broad guidance. Please contact our office to discuss your specific circumstances. We are not responsible for any damage resulting from your reliance on the information in this article.

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