2019 Federal and Provincial Budget Highlights

The 2019 federal and provincial budgets were tabled within weeks of each other. Both contain some goods for Regina and municipalities across the province. Here are some of the highlights.

Provincial budget

The 2019-2020 Provincial Budget – “The Right Balance” – was released March 20th. Included in the highlights is the continued commitment to maintain the Municipal Revenue Sharing Program (MRSP), a predictable, reliable, sustainable funding source required to meet the growing needs of the City’s residents.

Highlights specific to municipalities:

  • The Municipal Revenue Sharing Formula will be based on three quarters of one point of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST). The City of Regina will receive $37.8 million for the 2018-2019 year, consistent with the amount included in the City’s 2019 approved budget. Unfortunately, this formula is a step backwards from 1% of one point of the PST to 0.75. In 2016-17 the City of Regina received approximately $42 million in municipal operating grants, before that figure was cut as part of the government's austerity budget.
  • The total amount in the 2019-2020 Municipal Revenue Sharing Program is $251.6 million; a $10.5 million increase (4%) over the previous year.
  • $7 million of the $10.5 million increase in MRS funding will be shared amongst urban, rural and the northern pools.
  • $1.5 million of the $10.5 million increase in MRS funding will be directed to “targeted sector support” – an initiative that is yet to be defined.
  • Commitment to contribute to cost-sharing municipal infrastructure priorities through the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
  • Including revenue sharing, infrastructure funding and a number of other grants and initiatives, more than $437 million in direct provincial support to municipalities (from various ministries across government).
  • Additional $100,000 to the Urban Highway Connector Program (UHCP).
  • $250,000 in new investment in capital for Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities.

Overall highlights include:

  • Surplus of $34.4 million;
  • No new taxes or tax increases;
  • Revenue is forecast at $15.03 billion;
  • Expenses $14.99 billion;
  • Net debt at March 31, 2019, forecast to be $12.1 billion – third lowest among provinces as a percentage of GDP;
  • Regina Bypass construction complete by October 2019;
  • $211 million that will benefit Indigenous communities, businesses and organizations;
  • A $1.1 million increase for drug-impaired driving detection for police;
  • $750,000 for municipal roads through First Nations land.

Federal budget

The 2019 Federal Budget “Investing in the Middle Class,delivered yesterday afternoon, includes significant gains for municipalities, demonstrating the effects of a more direct, modernized, relationship between the Government of Canada and communities across the country.

Highlights specific to municipalities:

1. Gas Tax Fund (municipal top-up):

Doubling this year’s Gas Tax Fund (one-time). The City received approximately $12 million for 2018-19.

Because many municipalities across Canada continue to face serious infrastructure deficits, Budget 2019 proposes a one-time transfer of $2.2 billion through the federal Gas Tax Fund to address short-term priorities in municipalities and First Nations communities.

2. Affordable housing:

  • Help build 42,500 new housing units across Canada, with a particular focus in areas of low rental supply, through an expanded Rental Construction Financing Initiative. Budget 2019 makes available an additional $10 billion in financing over nine years, extending the program until 202728.

  • Proposal to introduce new legislation which will require the federal government to maintain a National Housing Strategy that prioritizes the housing needs of the most vulnerable and will require regular reporting on progress toward the Strategy's goals and outcomes.

  • Over the next year, important measures will be introduced to deliver on the National Housing Strategy commitments. Reaching Home, a new $2.2 billion program to prevent and reduce homelessness, will launch on April 1, 2019, with the goal to reduce chronic homelessness by 50 per cent. Starting in 2020, a new, $4 billion.

Canada Housing Benefit will provide financial relief directly to those in core housing need and, over time, is expected to support 300,000 households. It is currently being co-developed with provinces and territories to ensure that the benefit is tailored to the diverse realities and needs across the country.

Overall highlights include:

  • $19.8 billion projected deficit

  • $705.4 billion in overall debt

  • $1.0 billion investment in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Green

    Municipal Fund (GMF) Program. A link to the FCMs Federal Budget Media Release

    can be found here for your reference.

  • First time home buyers’ incentives to make home ownership more affordable

  • Lower interest rates on Canada Student Loans

  • Advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples with investments to improve water

    quality, preserve and promote Indigenous languages and improve the quality of

    education and health care for Indigenous children in a culturally relevant way

  • $31 million more over 5 years to tackle the opioid crisis

  • $10 billion more for rental construction financing initiative

  • Working towards a new Anti-Racism Strategy

  • $50 million to support Canada’s first National Dementia Strategy

  • New investments to uphold Jordan’s Principle to ensure children get the help needed