Federal Budget Targets Consumers With Grocery Rebate

The federal budget that will be delivered in Parliament today (March 28) will focus on helping cash-strapped Canadians with the rising cost of living.

Media reports say the government in Ottawa aims to help consumers with their daily expenses by cracking down on junk fees and extending the GST rebate for low-income Canadians.

Additionally, the federal Liberal government plans to increase the withdrawal limit for a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to $8,000 from $5,000 previously.

Ottawa plans to relabel the GST rebate the “grocery rebate,” though it is not expected to be tied to actual grocery bills. This February, grocery prices in Canada rose 10.6% from a year ago.

Going forward, the federal rebate will provide $234 for a single person with no children, $467 for a couple with two children, and $225 for a senior citizen. Those are the same amounts as the government previously offered through the GST rebate.

The opposition Conservative Party continues to blame government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic for the high inflation that persists across Canada.

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has promised inflation relief for low-income Canadians in this year’s budget, which is otherwise expected to be light on new spending.

The Liberals are expected to outline their plans to crackdown on hidden or unexpected fees, commonly called “junk fees,” that are tacked onto goods and services.

Beyond relief for consumers, the budget is expected to include tax credits to spur growth in mineral production and enhance Canada’s electric vehicle supply chain.

The federal budget will be delivered in Parliament after financial markets close at 4 p.m.