With the Liberals mired in the polling doldrums, the Trudeau government has been flooding the zone with pre-budget announcements aimed at addressing the housing crisis and restoring hope among young Canadians who feel the deck is stacked against their generation.

The price tag for the budget – a whopping $39.2 billion over five years – includes new big-ticket spending of $8.5 billion on housing and $9.9 billion on defence that was previously announced.  And while the Liberals can project moderate economic improvement to buttress this spending, half of the budget’s price tag is on the back of a major new tax increase targeting capital gains.

$19.4 billion over five years will be raised from a capital gains tax increase from 50% to 66% on capital gains realized annually above $250,000 by individuals and on all capital gains realized by corporations and trusts by amending the Income Tax Act, effective June 25, 2024. The government will maintain the exemption for capital gains from the sale of a principal residence to ensure Canadians do not pay capital gains taxes when selling their home. This tax hike is expected to impact 40,000 individuals and 300,000 corporations.  While the budgetary impact of the tax hike is enormous, the political signal is just as valuable to the Liberals, who have come under pressure to address growing intergenerational wealth inequality across the economy as affordability pressures continue to rise.

Here is the economic and fiscal summary for Budget 2024:

  • Deficit of approximately $40 billion this year, declining to between $13 and $24 billion in five years, depending on economic forecasts.
  • Federal debt to GDP declining from 42 per cent last year to 39 per cent in five years. The government continues to boast the lowest net debt- and deficit-to-GDP ratios of all G7 countries.
  • The government is setting a new fiscal guardrail to keep deficits below 1 per cent of GDP beginning in 2026-27 and future years.
  • Overall, private sector economists expect growth of 0.7 per cent in 2024 and 1.9 per cent in 2025.
  • Short-term interest rates are expected to decline from an average of 4.8 per cent in 2023 to 4.5 per cent in 2024 and to 3.1 per cent in 2025.
  • Canada received the highest per capita foreign direct investment in the G7 in the first three quarters of 2023.
  • Wage growth has outpaced inflation for the past 13 months. Overall, real average weekly earnings have risen by 4.6 per cent since 2019.
  • Household average wealth after inflation has increased by 8.9 per cent between 2019 and 2023.
  • Affordable childcare has helped enable Canada’s labour force participation rate for women in their prime working years to reach a record high of 85.7 per cent in September 2023, compared to just 77.4 per cent in the United States.
  • With the Trans Mountain Expansion Project anticipated to come online in May, the additional export transportation capacity provided by the twinning of the existing pipeline will make it easier for the energy sector to get products to world markets, providing better pricing for Canadian crude oil.

New Carbon Rebate for Small Business

  • Budget 2024 proposes to urgently return fuel charge proceeds from 2019-20 through 2023-24 to an estimated 600,000 businesses, with 499 or fewer employees through a new refundable tax credit. This would deliver over $2.5 billion directly to Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses. 

Additional Tax Measures

  • The lifetime capital gains exemption currently allows Canadians to exempt up to $1,016,836 in capital gains tax-free on the sale of small business shares and farming and fishing property. This tax-free limit will be increased to $1.25 million, effective June 25, 2024, and will continue to be indexed to inflation thereafter.
  • Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to implement the OECD-agreed Crypto-Asset Reporting Framework, including consequential amendments to the Common Reporting Standard, effective as of 2026 to permit exchanges under the new and amended reporting requirements beginning in 2027.
  • Budget 2024 proposes to increase the tobacco excise duty by $4 per carton of 200 cigarettes, in addition to the automatic inflation adjustment of $1.49 per carton of 200 cigarettes that took effect on April 1, 2024. Starting the day after this budget, the total tobacco excise duties increase will be $5.49 per carton. Budget 2024 also proposes to increase the vaping excise duty rates by 12 per cent.


Budget 2024 and Canada’s Housing Plan lays out the government’s strategy to unlock 3.87 million new homes by 2031. While most of this plan has been announced, the following measures caught our attention:

  • Budget 2024 announces that the government will consider introducing a new tax on residentially zoned vacant land. The government will launch consultations later this year.
  • The government intends to restrict the purchase and acquisition of existing single-family homes by very large, corporate investors. The government will consult in the coming months and provide further details in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement.
  • $500 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, to Public Services and Procurement Canada to launch a new Public Lands Acquisition Fund, which will purchase land from other orders of government to help spur sustainable, mixed-market housing.
  • $800 million over five years, starting in 2025-26, will go towards a new Canada Greener Homes Affordability Program that will support the direct installation of energy efficiency retrofits for Canadian households with low- to median-incomes. This program represents the next phase of the Canada Greener Homes Initiative and will be co-delivered with provincial and territorial partners.
  • $30 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, will be spent to develop a national approach to home energy labelling, which will empower prospective home buyers with information about the energy efficiency of their new home, with the support of energy auditors.

Health Care & the Care Economy

  • Budget 2024 proposes to provide $77.1 million over four years, starting in 2025-26, to more effectively integrate internationally educated health care professionals into Canada’s health workforce by creating 120 specific training positions, increasing assessment capacity and providing support to navigate credential recognition systems. There are an estimated 198,000 internationally educated health professionals employed in Canada, but only 58 per cent—114,000 workers—have employment in their chosen field.
  • Budget 2024 announces the government will introduce a Safe Long Term Care Act to support new national long-term care standards to help ensure safe, reliable, and high-quality care, and improve infection prevention and control practices.
  • The care economy provides crucial care to aging parents and grandparents, children, and many adults who live with disabilities or long-term conditions. Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to launch consultations on the development of a National Caregiving Strategy.
  • The government is spending $562.5 million in 2024-25 to support medically necessary services through the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program, which supports a range of benefits for First Nations and Inuit people, including mental health services, medical travel, medications, and more;

Opioid Crisis

  • Building on health care investments, including in mental health and substance use, Budget 2024 proposes to provide $150 million over three years, starting in 2024-25, to Health Canada for an Emergency Treatment Fund, open to municipalities and Indigenous communities to help provide rapid responses to emergent, critical needs related to the opioid crisis.

Persons with Disabilities

  • The government is committing $6.1 billion over six years, beginning in 2024-25, and $1.4 billion per year ongoing, for a new Canada Disability Benefit, including costs to deliver the benefit. The government would begin providing payments to eligible Canadians starting in July 2025, following successful completion of the regulatory process and consultations with persons with disabilities. 


  • The budget includes a $3.5 billion boost to Canada’s strategic research infrastructure and federal research support. To increase core research grant funding and support Canadian researchers, Budget 2024 proposes to provide $1.8 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, with $748.3 million per year ongoing to SSHRC, NSERC, and CIHR.
  • To prevent brain drain of top graduate student talent, the government is spending $825 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, with $199.8 million per year ongoing, to increase the annual value of master’s and doctoral student scholarships to $27,000 and $40,000, respectively, and post-doctoral fellowships to $70,000.
  • The government is adopting the Bouchard Report’s recommendation to create a new organization and structure to advance internationally collaborative, multi-disciplinary, and mission-driven research, and will also create a new advisory Council on Science and Innovation. This Council will be made up of leaders from the academic, industry, and not-for-profit sectors,
  • As part of the modernization of the Scientific Research & Experimental Development tax incentive, the government will further capitalize the program with $600 million over four years, and $150 million per year ongoing, to boost research and innovation.


  • The budget proposes to amend the Canada Education Savings Act to introduce automatic enrolment in the Canada Learning Bond for eligible children who do not have a Registered Education Savings Plan opened for them by the time the child turns four. This will ensure that 130,000 additional children receive the Canada Learning Bond each year through automatic enrolment.
  • To create more work-integrated learning opportunities for postsecondary students, Budget 2024 proposes to provide $207.6 million in 2025-26, to Employment and Social Development Canada for the Student Work Placement Program.

Indigenous Education

  • $649.4 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, to improve elementary and secondary education on reserve, and ensure funding formulas meet the needs of growing communities; and,
  • $545.1 million over three years, starting in 2024-25, for K-12 infrastructure to build and renovate safe and healthy learning environments for First Nations students.
  • $242.7 million over three years, starting in 2024-25, to increase access to post-secondary education for First Nations students through the Post- Secondary Student Support Program.

Zero Emission Vehicles

  • Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to introduce a new 10 per cent Electric Vehicle Supply Chain investment tax credit on the cost of buildings used in key segments of the electric vehicle supply chain, for businesses that invest in Canada across three supply chain segments: electric vehicle assembly; electric vehicle battery production; and, cathode active material production. The EV Supply Chain investment tax credit is expected to cost $80 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, and an additional $1.02 billion from 2029-30 to 2034-35. The design and implementation details of the EV Supply Chain investment tax credit will be provided in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement and the ITC would be available retroactively to January 1, 2024.
  • Budget 2024 proposes to provide $607.9 million over two years, starting in 2024-25, to Transport Canada to top-up the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program.

Right to Repair

  • The government will launch consultations this June to develop a right to repair framework, which will focus on durability, repairability, and interoperability.
  • The federal government is also calling on provinces and territories to amend their contract laws to support a right to repair and interoperability. Quebec’s Bill 29 is an example of how provinces can protect consumers by promoting the right to repair. 

Auto Thefts

  • Budget 2024 announces the government’s intent to amend the Criminal Code to provide additional tools for law enforcement and prosecutors to address auto theft. These include: new criminal offences related to auto theft involving the use of violence or links to organized crime; possession or distribution of an electronic or digital device for the purposes of committing auto theft; and laundering proceeds of crime for the benefit of a criminal organization; and, a new aggravating factor at sentencing if an offender involved a young person in committing an offence under the Criminal Code.
  • Budget 2024 also announces the government’s intention to amend the Radiocommunication Act to regulate the sale, possession, distribution, and import of devices used to steal cars. This will enable law enforcement agencies to remove devices believed to be used to steal cars from the Canadian marketplace. 

Contracts for Difference

  • The Canada Growth Fund has around $6 billion remaining to continue issuing, on a priority basis, all forms of CCFDs and carbon offtake agreements. Budget 2024 announces the government will ensure that the Canada Growth Fund continues to have the resources it needs to fulfill its role as the federal issuer of CCFDs. The government is also evaluating options to enhance the Canada Growth Fund’s capacity to offer CCFDs, including by exploring the possibility of a government backstop of certain CCFD liabilities of the Canada Growth Fund.


  • The government is making new investments to grow Canada’s biofuels sector, which can be used to decarbonize heavy industry, and heavy transportation like marine, aviation, and rail.
  • It will retool the Clean Fuels Fund to deliver funding faster, and extend the Fund for an additional four years, until 2029-30. With reprofiled funding proposed through this extension, a total of $776.3 million will be available to be deployed from 2024-25 to 2029-30 to support clean fuel projects.
  • The government will disburse up to $500 million per year from Clean Fuel Regulations compliance payment revenues to support biofuels production in Canada. 

Major Projects

  • The government will advance Indigenous participation in major projects, through the Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program, with up to $5 billion in loan guarantees to unlock access to capital for Indigenous communities, creating economic opportunities and supporting their economic development priorities.
  • The government will implement the recommendations of the Ministerial Working Group and reduce interdepartmental inefficiencies, including preventing fixation on well-studied and low-risk impacts, ensuring new permitting timelines are upheld throughout departments, and improving data sharing between departments to reduce redundant studies.
  • The government will work to establish a new Federal Permitting Coordinator within the Privy Council Office’s Clean Growth Office.
  • The government will set a target of five years or less to complete federal impact assessment and permitting processes for federally designated projects, and a target of two years or less for permitting of nonfederal designated projects.
  • The government will issue a Cabinet Directive to drive culture change, achieve new targets, and set out clear federal roles and responsibilities within and across departments with the objective of getting clean growth projects built in a timely and predictable manner.
  • The government will build a Federal Permitting Dashboard that reports on the status of large projects which require permits, to improve predictability for project proponents, and increase the federal government’s transparency and accountability to Canadians.
  • The government will amend the Impact Assessment Act to respond to the October 2023 Supreme Court of Canada decision.

Critical Minerals

  • The government is extending for an additional year collaboration with the Canada-U.S. Energy Transformation Task Force, which is bolstering critical mineral and nuclear energy supply chain integration.
  • Budget 2024 proposes to modify the Clean Technology Manufacturing investment tax credit to include the cost of investments in eligible property used primarily to produce qualifying critical minerals at mine or well sites, and to make certain other adjustments to provide greater clarity to businesses involved in polymetallic extraction and processing.

Investments in Canada by Pension Funds

  • The government will do more to encourage Canadian pension funds to invest in Canada, by launching a working group chaired by Stephen Poloz (former Governor of the Bank of Canada), and supported by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, to find more opportunities for Canada’s largest pension funds to drive economic growth at home.

Cyber Security & Procurement

  • The budget is providing $11.1 million over five years to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat to implement a whole-of-government cyber security strategy. This will help ensure the government is best equipped to combat cyber threats, and quickly and effectively resolve any vulnerabilities across digital government services.
  • Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to propose legislated procurement targets for small- and medium-sized businesses and innovative firms. The government will consult with industry stakeholders, and innovation organizations, as well as evaluate international best practices in developing a proposal. 

Combatting Hate, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and Supporting Holocaust Remembrance

  • To confront hate in all its forms, Budget 2024 proposes to provide $273.6 million over six years, starting in 2024-25, with $29.3 million ongoing, for Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate to support community outreach and law enforcement reform, tackle the rise in hate crimes, enhance community security, counter radicalization, and increase support for victims.
  • To create a new National Holocaust Remembrance Program, Budget 2024 proposes to provide $5 million over five years, starting in 2024-25, and $2 million ongoing, to the Department of Canadian Heritage, to support initiatives that seek to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and help improve Canadians’ understanding, awareness towards the Holocaust and Antisemitism.

Political upshot

This budget is almost certain to pass due to the government’s Supply and Confidence Agreement with Jagmeet Singh’s NDP, who extracted a skinny pharmacare program from the Liberals covering contraceptives and diabetes medications.  Accordingly, the budget delivers the previously announced $1.5 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, to Health Canada to support the launch of the National Pharmacare Plan. In addition, the NDP will be able to take some credit for the capital gains tax increase, which is in keeping with their longstanding call for a wealth tax.

Riding high in the polls, Pierre Poilievre will decry the budget as fueling inflation, providing band-aid solutions to a housing crisis that the Liberals caused, and harming productivity by chasing away business investment. He is promising to get rid of the Canada Infrastructure Bank, cut personal income taxes, and legislate a dollar-for-dollar mandate for government spending, in contrast to the government’s approach.

Will this budget turn around the Liberals’ fortunes ahead of the next federal election, expected in fall 2025? The answer is riding on the reaction of Millennials and Generation Z voters who are feeling vulnerable to the affordability challenges in the post-pandemic economy. The government will need to overcome voter fatigue with Prime Minister Trudeau by reclaiming the political narrative from the Conservatives’ well-understood “Axe the Tax” refrain. If the government walks away from Budget 2024 with a new narrative focused on generational equity, that may be the best they can expect for now.

Counsel’s federal team is advancing policy change in multiple sectors, including energy, natural resources, climate change, Indigenous affairs, mental health, pharmaceuticals, culture, labour, transportation, public safety, gender equality, research, and post-secondary education. Our federal team is ready to assist organizations large and small in achieving your public policy goals.

Sheamus Murphy Headshot

Sheamus Murphy
Partner, Federal Advovacy

John Delacourt Headshot

John Delacourt
Practice Lead, Federal Advocacy

ben parsons counsel public affairs

Ben Parsons
Vice President, Federal Advocacy