The Liberal government’s legislation doubling the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit for the next six months, which unanimously passed the House of Commons, has now come into law.
Bill C-30, which was sponsored by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, both passed the Senate and received royal assent on Oct. 18.
The bill took just 16 days to pass the House.
“This is great news for families,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a video posted on Twitter on Oct. 18. “It’s going to be real help this fall.”
The GST credit, also known as the Harmonized Sales Tax credit, is a “tax-free quarterly payment” issued to registered Canadian residents aged 19 and older with the intention of offsetting the amount of sales tax they pay.
With the new legislation in place, eligible Canadians will receive credit payments in a lump sum that will be equal to the credits they receive in October and January.
Freeland said the doubled credit means a family of four will receive $500 as their next payment, while single individuals and Canadian seniors will receive around $230, on average.
“We know that this isn’t going to cover everything, but it’s real support for the people who need it,” Freeland said in the prime minister’s video on Twitter.
National Dental Care Plan
Bill C-30 is part of the Liberals’ $4.5 billion inflation-relief package, which includes the first step of their dental care plan.
Bill C-31, introduced to the House on Sept. 20, will provide dental care worth up to $650 per year to children 12 years old and younger whose parents do not have access to dental benefits.
If passed, the legislation will also provide a one-time top-up worth $500 to Canadians who spend 30 percent or more of their incomes on rent.
“Investing in oral health is about more than just avoiding cavities. It is essential to overall health,” said Liberal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos in the House on Sept. 22.
He added that the dental care measure for youth will only be an “interim benefit.”
“While this interim program is in place, the Government of Canada will take the necessary steps to build a comprehensive, longer-term dental care program,” he said.
The federal government is aiming to expand its dental coverage plan in 2023 to include uninsured Canadians under age 18, seniors, and disabled people. By 2025, it hopes to implement a national dental plan to cover all Canadians making under $90,000 a year without dental benefits.
The Conservatives oppose the initiative, saying it will increase taxes and worsen the country’s already-high inflation rates.
“The government’s not proposing a dental care plan,” Conservative MP Michael Barrett told reporters on Parliament Hill on Sept. 21. “They’re going to be sending checks to some folks, and this is something that’s clearly outside the jurisdiction of the federal government.”
“Health care is a provincial responsibility,” he added.
Trudeau has recently blamed the Conservatives for “blocking” Bill C-30’s passage in the House of Commons.
“If the leader of the official opposition wants to help Canadians, why is he not stepping up to help Canadian families give dental care to their kids?” Trudeau asked during question period on Oct. 19.
The Canadian Press contributed to this report.