Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in New Delhi, India on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. A man with an attempted murder conviction who was invited to a reception with Justin Trudeau in India says he had a friendly relationship with the prime minister, and stayed away from the event to save Trudeau from further embarrassment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal budget to focus on gender equality

Liberals take aim at 2019 election with budget to focus on gender equality

Gender equality and a national pharmacare plan are expected to be two of the cornerstones of the federal budget when it is presented in the House of Commons Tuesday afternoon by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

He has already hinted at efforts to boost the participation of women in the workforce as part of an overall plan to promote so-called inclusive growth.

One measure expected in the spending plan is dedicated paid leave for new fathers — or, in the case of same-sex relationships, the non-birthing parent. The goal is to allow parents to handle the task of raising children more equitably.

The focus on gender equality — a key priority for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government — could also mean federal dollars to help close the gender wage gap in federally regulated workplaces.

Related: Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

The budget will also include plans to take the first steps toward a national pharmacare plan — a strategy which would outflank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has made such a program one of his top priorities.

Senior government officials have told The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity that former Ontario health minister Eric Hoskins will be tasked with leading the effort to breathe life into the pharmacare plan.

Hoskins hinted at his new position when he abruptly resigned both his cabinet position and his seat in the Ontario legislature Monday, saying he was leaving “to continue building better health care for all Canadians.”

The parliamentary budget watchdog calculated last fall that a national, universal pharmacare program would cost more than $19 billion, but could still slash the overall cost of drugs in Canada by more than $4 billion a year.

Related: B.C. gender-equality groups get federal cash

The federal budget is not expected to balance the books, nor is it likely to include a revised timeline for erasing the deficit, which the Liberals initially pledged to do by 2019.

The budget is instead expected to unveil major investments in basic scientific research and environmental conservation.

It is also expected to include nearly $80 million over five years to build and run a computer system aimed at ending no-fly list mismatches and $50 million over five years to support local journalism in underserved communities.

Investments in child welfare and housing for Indigenous communities, expanding a tax credit for low-income earners and spending to help Canadians upgrade their skills for a rapidly changing job market are other expected budget measures.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tweedsmuir Park wildfires grow to encompass more than 200,000 hectares

Four fires now managed under one as Tweedsmuir Complex, evacation orders and alerts still in place

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark criticizes feds for buying pipeline

The $4.5 billion purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline second worst decision, she said

‘Takes more courage to fail’: B.C. ultra-marathon swimmer reflects on cancelled try at record

Susan Simmons halted her swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back because of hypothermia

Animals moved from B.C. Interior shelters to make way for pets displaced by wildfires

The Maple Ridge SPCA houses animals to make space for pets evacuated from B.C.’s burning interior.

$21.5 million medical pot plant to be built in B.C.

The facility is to be built in Princeton

Spokane man enlists 500,000+ box fans to blow wildfire smoke back to B.C.

Spokane man Caleb Moon says he’s had enough with smoky skies from B.C.’s forest fires blanketing his city

Feds agree to look at easing jury secrecy as part of review

At issue is a law that forbids jurors from talking about closed-door deliberations

Forest fuel work needed to slow wildfires, B.C. premier says

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joins John Horgan for tour

Liberals unveil poverty plan with lofty goals, but no new spending

Government’s goal is to lift 2.1 million people out of poverty by 2030

Most Read