Finance Minister hints tax cuts on the table for fall update; no date announced

Tax relief is on the way for Canadians, and Finance Minister Joe Oliver hinted Tuesday it could arrive as early as the annual fall economic update.

TORONTO — Tax relief is on the way for Canadians, and Finance Minister Joe Oliver hinted Tuesday it could arrive as early as the annual fall economic update.

Oliver told a news conference that plans to balance the budget in 2015 remain on track — the same year the Tories return to the polls.

He said the Conservative government will fulfil an election promise to cut taxes, though he declined to offer any details of the cuts or the timeline for his next economic update.

“There will be tax relief because we are confident we are going to have a surplus next year,” he said, referring to predictions earlier this year of a $6.5-billion surplus for 2015-16.

Earlier in the day, Oliver met with private-sector economists in Toronto to discuss the outlook for the country.

He said that average forecasts for Canada remain steady with those made in September, helped by growth in the U.S. economy which has benefited from a boom in the shale oil and gas industry.

“We’re in an environment where our biggest trading partner is doing well, and it’s looking to be sustainable,” Oliver said.

“But there are other regions that are not doing as well, and other risks that we’ll have to take into account.”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that last year’s federal deficit came in at $5.2 billion compared with the $16.6-billion shortfall that was projected in the budget.

However, Harper has insisted there will not be a surplus until 2015-16 despite suggestions by economists and budget watchers that Ottawa may be on pace to balance its books in its current fiscal year.

The Conservatives made a series of expensive campaign promises in the last election that were contingent on a balanced budget including income splitting for couples with children under 18 and a doubling of the annual Tax Free Savings Account limits.

Oliver highlighted the falling price of oil Tuesday as one factor that could impact Canada’s economic growth, as well as the troubled global economy which has been hindered by political turmoil.

“At the same time the IMF downgraded global economy, it upgraded the projection for Canada and the U.S.,” Oliver said.

The IMF said last week it expects the U.S. will grow 2.2 per cent this year, up from an earlier forecast of 1.7 per cent, but kept is forecast for next year unchanged at 3.1 per cent. It also raised its outlook for Canada to 2.3 per cent this year and 2.4 per cent in 2015, up a tenth of a percentage point in both years from a July forecast.

The Conservatives have been unveiling details about planned tax cuts ahead of the election next fall. Small businesses will get a freeze on employment insurance premiums while the government also plans to double the child fitness tax credit.

Last week, a clerical error saw Oliver’s department accidentally leak details of potential tax changes onto the department’s website.

The surprise forced Oliver to hastily table a motion on Friday, earlier than planned, in order to give all Canadians full access to the information.

Oliver the told the news conference that he is “very concerned” about the error and has opened an internal investigation into the matter, which some critics have suggested may have influenced the direction of Canadian stock markets.

“We don’t believe there were matters disclosed which would move markets, but we’re looking at that issue as well,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Jason Kenney and Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw addressed vaccine uptake and the COVID-19 situation in the province Tuesday. (File photo by Government of Alberta)
Red Deer down to 817 active cases of COVID-19

Province reports 1,449 new cases

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

(Advocate file photo)
Red Deer County approves home-based hair salon

Salon would be located in rural residential area just west of Innisfail

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Labour Minister Harry Bains arrives at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, June 26, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

B.C. pledges to introduce permanent paid sick leave program in January

In this June 8, 2017, file photo, fresh nuts, bolts and fittings are ready to be added to the east leg of the pipeline near St. Ignace, Mich., as Enbridge prepares to test the east and west sides of the Line 5 pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac in Mackinaw City, Mich. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Dale G Young/Detroit News via AP, File
‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

‘Massive and potentially permanent disruption’: Canada’s bleak view of Line 5 closure

A Suncor logo is shown at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 2, 2019.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

Oilsands producer Suncor and utility Atco to pursue ‘world-class’ hydrogen project

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

North American stock markets rally to pare early losses over inflation concerns

This photo provided by World Food Prize shows Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted.  On Tuesday, May 11, 2021, Thilsted was named this year's recipient of the $250,000 World Food Prize, which was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize researchers who have improved the quality and availability of food. (Finn Thilsted/World Food Prize via AP)
World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

World Food Prize goes to nutrition expert for fish research

FILE - Norman Lloyd, executive producer of Hollywood Theater, a series of high-class dramatic shows seen on affiliated stations on the Public Broadcasting Service, poses for a photo on Dec. 26, 1974, in Los Angeles. Lloyd, the distinguished stage and screen actor known for his role as a kindly doctor on TV's "St. Elsewhere," has died at 106. Manager Marion Rosenberg said the actor died Tuesday, May 11, 2021, at his home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/George Brich, File)
‘Saboteur,’ ‘St. Elsewhere’ star Norman Lloyd dies at 106

‘Saboteur,’ ‘St. Elsewhere’ star Norman Lloyd dies at 106

A Palestinian man inspects the rubble of a partially destroyed residential building after it was hit by Israeli missile strikes, at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, early Tuesday, May. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates

Israel, Hamas trade deadly fire as confrontation escalates

Heidi Illingworth, federal ombudsman for victims of crime, takes part in an interview at her office in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Watchdog worries federal benefit for parents of missing, murdered kids going unused

OTTAWA — The federal ombudsman for victims of crime says she remains… Continue reading

Most Read