Backgrounder: Continued Progress for the Middle Class

The Fall Economic Statement 2018 is a plan to invest in the economy, strengthen and grow the middle class, and offer real help to people working hard to join it. The Government is delivering on its commitments to Canadians—investing in a fiscally responsible way that will keep the economy strong and growing today, and for the long term.

Results for Canadians

The Government has made a commitment to deliver real results for Canadians. Of the 289 commitments made in Ministers' mandate letters in November 2015, 97 have been successfully completed, and 189 have had actions taken and progress made.

Figure 1 Mandate Letter Commitments (November 2015)

Figure 1 - Mandate Letter Commitments (November 2015) - For details, refer to the preceding paragraph.

The Government's plan is helping people and communities across the country, especially hard-working middle class families.

Real progress has been made, including:

The full and equal participation of women in the economy is important for economic growth and a strong middle class. However, a persistent wage gap between the average earnings of Canadian women and men is a stark reminder that there is more work to do. The Government's actions to address the gender wage gap and achieve pay equity in Canada include:

New Measures for Continued Progress

While much progress has been made, more work remains to be done. With the Fall Economic Statement 2018, the Government is highlighting new measures to promote equal and full participation by all Canadians in our economy and society.

Proactive Pay Equity for Federally Regulated Workers

As part of the multi-pronged strategy to address the gender wage gap and achieve gender equality, the Government recently introduced proactive pay equity legislation for federally regulated workers.

Gender Wage Gap

For every dollar of hourly wages earned by a man working full time, a woman working full time earns on average about 88 cents. This gap places Canada in the middle of the pack compared to other developed economies.

On October 29, the Government introduced proactive pay equity legislation to address the gender wage gap. This legislation would apply to approximately 1.2 million employees in federally regulated workplaces, and is designed to ensure that women and men working in the federally regulated sector receive equal pay for work of equal value.

Highlights of the new legislation include:

To support the implementation of this new legislation, the Government proposes to provide the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour; the Minister of Justice; and the Treasury Board Secretariat with funding needed to implement, administer, and adjudicate the new proactive pay equity regime. 

The Social Finance Fund

To encourage innovative approaches to persistent and complex social challenges, the Government is creating a Social Finance Fund. This will give charitable, non-profit and social purpose organizations access to new financing to implement their innovative ideas, and will connect them with non-government investors seeking to support projects that will drive positive social change.

To help accelerate that change, the Government proposes to make available up to $755 million on a cash basis over the next 10 years for a new Social Finance Fund and an additional $50 million over two years for social purpose organizations to improve their ability to successfully participate in the social finance market.

The proposed Social Finance Fund could generate up to $2 billion in economic activity, and help create as many as 100,000 jobs over the next decade. In addition to these measures, the Government will continue to work on exploring other recommendations from the Steering Group's report.

Support for Canadian Journalism

A strong and independent news media is crucial to a well-functioning democracy. It empowers citizens by providing them with the information they need to make sound decisions on important issues.

In order to ensure Canadians' continued access to informed and reliable civic journalism, the Government is announcing its intention to propose three new initiatives: allowing non-profit news organizations to receive charitable donations and issue official donation receipts; introducing a refundable tax credit to support original news content, including local news; and introducing a new temporary non-refundable tax credit to support subscriptions to Canadian digital news media.

The Fall Economic Statement also proposes to:

With the Fall Economic Statement 2018, the Government is doing more to strengthen the middle class and build an economy that works for everyone.

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