Yesterday, the Government of Canada tabled its 2018 budget. CIJA’s team in Ottawa was invited to participate in the budget “lock-up”, enabling us to review and analyze its contents prior to publication.
We wanted to share the following summary to let you know how the the budget touches on relevant issues to our communal agenda – for individuals, community organizations, and social service agencies alike.
Affordable Housing. In our formal pre-budget submission, CIJA highlighted the importance of federal investments in affordable housing to address the chronic and growing issue of poverty. This was supplemented by a grassroots campaign that thousands of you participated in highlighting the importance of housing.
The 2018 budget will increase the amount of loans provided by the Rental Construction Financing Initiative from $2.5 billion to $3.75 billion over the next three years, which will spur the construction of more than 14,000 new rental units, aimed at alleviating pressures in expensive housing markets.
CIJA will continue advocating for governments at all levels to ensure that dedicated funding for Canadians with disabilities and developmental disabilities are a core component of affordable housing allocations.
Better Statistics Canada Data for Diverse Communities. In recent months, CIJA and Jewish experts have raised serious concerns about changes to the 2016 census that appear to have caused the underreporting of Jewish Canadians.
The 2018 budget proposes $6.7 million over five years, and $600,000 per year ongoing, for Statistics Canada to create a new Centre for Gender, Diversity and Inclusion Statistics.
CIJA will continue engaging Statistics Canada and relevant officials to ensure that the Jewish community is not overlooked in statistical research on diverse populations, and that the unique identity characteristics of Canadian Jewry are taken into account to ensure our numbers are accurately reflected in the census.
Transparency in International Assistance Funding. For years, CIJA has urged the Government of Canada to strengthen accountability measures when it comes to Canadian aid destined for the Middle East.
The 2018 budget states that the government will explore improvements to its international assistance reporting, including consideration of legislative updates as appropriate.
CIJA will engage constructively with the government to determine how this may impact on Canadian aid to the Middle East, in an effort to ensure greater transparency, accountability and oversight.
Fighting Hate. CIJA regularly offers advice and guidance to governments at all levels regarding policies to combat hate.
The 2018 budget provides $23 million over two years to increase funding for the Multiculturalism Program administered by Canadian Heritage. This funding would support cross-country consultations on a new national anti-racism approach.
As part of a broader effort to improve awareness and understanding of antisemitism, CIJA will urge the Government of Canada to ensure federal anti-racism efforts formally adopt or reference the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Foreign Sanctions. CIJA has consistently urged the Government of Canada to use sanctions and other diplomatic tools to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its sponsorship of terrorism and human rights violations.
The 2018 budget provides $22.2 million over five years, with $4.3 million per year thereafter, to Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency to strengthen Canada’s sanctions system. This includes funding for the development of sanctions policy, coordination with international partners, and providing guidance to Canadians on sanctions obligations.
CIJA will continue encouraging the government to modernize Canadian sanctions to betteraddress the threat posed by Iran to its own people, the region, and the global community.
Helping Vulnerable People Access Government Funding. CIJA has made a priority of highlighting policies affecting Canadians with disabilities, including during a recent lobby day in Ottawa for Federations and Jewish social services agencies from across Canada.
The 2018 budget highlights Government of Canada funding to organizations that deliver social services, including for those with disabilities through various grants and contributions programs. Many of these organizations do not have the capacity to pursue government contracts or maximize available funding opportunities. The Government will reallocate $7.8 million over five years to help community organizations build this capacity.
CIJA will continue engaging government officials on the need for creative policies to empower Canadians with disabilities, as well as the community agencies that support them.
Research and Innovation. CIJA has long advocated for expanded Canada-Israel research, tech, and innovation ties – including funding for joint ventures.
The 2018 budget provides significant investments in a range of research areas via granting councils.
CIJA will examine how these investments may benefit Canada-Israel bilateral research ties. We will continue encouraging the government to invest in such projects, primarily through the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF).
Shimon Koffler Fogel
CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs