As affordability worsens, the government has a solution: cheaper therapy

What the targeted measures in the federal Liberals’ fall economic statement mean for you

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OTTAWA – Whether it is cracking down on so-called “junk fees” or removing the GST for people seeking therapy, the federal government has announced micro-targeted measures meant to increase affordability for Canadians without breaking the bank even more.

Here is a breakdown of measures announced in Tuesday’s fall economic statement and what it means for you.

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For anyone who is struggling with their mental health, the federal government will make psychotherapy and counselling services a bit more affordable by removing the GST. The policy will cost the government $50 million over five years.


Tired of being charged extra to sit with your own kids on an airplane?

The federal government is promising to take further action to crack down on various junk fees, and that includes amending the Air Passenger Protection Regulations to make sure that airlines seat all children under 14-years-old next to their accompanying adult at no extra cost.

Also in the fall economic statement is a promise to extend maternity and paternal benefits to adoptive parents.

Parents welcoming a new child in their home will soon benefit from a 15-week shareable Employment Insurance (EI) adoption benefit, which is expected to provide approximately 1,700 Canadian families each year. Surrogate parents will also be eligible for this benefit.

The federal government is also promising changes to the Canada Labour Code to ensure job protection to workers in federally regulated industries while receiving the EI adoption benefit.

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The federal government says it is committed to removing the barriers to internal labour mobility between provinces and territories to ensure that workers – particularly in construction, health care and child care — can work wherever they choose within Canada.

That means working with provinces and territories towards “full interprovincial labour mobility” for construction and health care workers, enhancing training to meet labour market needs, and eliminating interprovincial barriers such as duplicative credential recognition.


The fall economic statement announced the creation of the new Canadian Mortgage Charter, which is meant to provide relief measures for Canadian homeowners at a time when interest rates are high and many are struggling to renew their mortgages.

The charter would, among other things, allow temporary extensions of the amortization period for mortgage holders at risk and not require insured mortgage holders to have to pass another stress test when switching lenders at renewal time.

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Financial institutions would also have to contact homeowners four to six months before their mortgage renewal to inform them of their different options.

Finally, the charter would give homeowners who are considered at risk the ability to make lump sum payments to avoid negative amortization or sell their principal residence without any prepayment penalties.


While there are no specific measures for renters, the government’s fall economic update is proposing to inject billions to increase supply of long-term rental housing – with the goal of making those units more affordable for renters.

With the hopes of building more apartments faster, an additional $15 billion in new loan funding will be injected into the Apartment Construction Loan Program, which is expected to support more than 30,000 additional new homes across Canada.

The government is putting another $1 billion over three years into the Affordable Housing Fund to to support non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers to build more than 7,000 new homes by 2028.

Finally, the federal government is supporting municipalities that are cracking down on non-compliant short-term rentals such as AirBnb, and is hoping to return some of them to the long-term rental and housing market with these more stringent measures.

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With more than 75 per cent of small business owners planning to retire in the next decade, the federal government is adding a new tax exemption to encourage more business owners to sell to an Employee Ownership Trust.

The fall economic statement proposes to exempt the first $10 million in capital gains realized on the sale of a business to an Employee Ownership Trust to taxation, subject to certain conditions, for the 2024, 2025 and 2026 tax years.

The measure would reduce federal revenues by $52 million over the 2023-24 to 2026-27 period. Finance Canada will be monitoring the adoption of the trusts and their associated impacts on the economy and Canadians.


The federal government will work on an Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program to “help facilitate Indigenous equity ownership in major projects in the natural resource sector” based on its ongoing work to develop a National Benefits-Sharing Framework.


Reports of international students being forced to live in shelters or going to food banks have made headlines across the country.

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In its economic update, the federal government is promising to enhance the Letter of Acceptance verification tool to “help crack down” on the fraudulent organizations that take advantage of students wishing to pursue post-secondary education opportunities in Canada.

It is also intending to reward post-secondary institutions with “high standards” around selecting, supporting and retaining international students, which could include providing them with access to housing.


Amid the chatter about Alberta wanting to pull out of Canada’s Pension Plan, the federal government is announcing new measures to enable pension funds to participate fully in economic growth and to increase transparency around pension investments.

The government proposes to required large federally-regulated pension plans to disclose the distribution of their investments to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which will then be made publicly available to all Canadians.

The government will also explore removing the “30 per cent rule”, which restricts Canadian pension funds from holding more than 30 per cent of the voting shares of most corporations.

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