Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and pleasure to rise in this House.
Before I begin my formal remarks, I want to discuss affordability. It is important to get on the record this morning for my constituents and all Canadians what our government has done to make life more affordable for all Canadians over the last several years we have been in power.
We ran on a promise to cut the middle-income tax bracket from 22% to 20.5%. Every year, that is a roughly $3.5-billion tax cut for Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Over eight years, that is over $26 billion in the pockets of Canadians, about $330 per year per individual and over $600 per couple.
Then we brought in something else, which I want to claim a little credit for. It was to raise the basic personal amount to $15,000 by 2023. That means Canadians will not have to pay federal income tax on the first $15,000 of their income. In fiscal year 2024-25, that will be a $6-billion tax cut for Canadians. It is putting hundreds of dollars back into Canadians' pockets. We should be proud of the $300 or $400 going back into the pockets of individual filers and, more so, families. Combined, we are looking at nearly $10 billion in tax cuts for hard-working Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Then there is the Canada child benefit, which has lifted 653,000 children out of poverty. Along with a strong labour market, growth and wages, it is a $26-billion-plus program that we put in place to help Canadian families and children and to lift children out of poverty. For small businesses, we cut the tax rate from 11% to 9%, again putting more money into the pockets of business owners across this country.
There are so many other measures I could mention, but I want to speak directly to the opposition motion at hand, the energy sector it references and other aspects of it. The energy sector is about 10% of the Canadian economy. I salute the workers, who contribute real export dollars. Trade statistics came out this morning saying the energy sector again led the way and accounts for over 25% of Canadian exports. It will account for them today and tomorrow. Even with the green transition we are seeing in full force, the Canadian energy sector leads the way for Canadian workers and families.
I am pleased to take part in today's debate. The motion brings up important issues. There is no doubt that the effects of climate change are real and are becoming more and more devastating, harmful and expensive. That is why the government has put in place a price on pollution, and stands by it. Economists agree that a price on pollution is one of the least expensive and most efficient ways to reduce emissions. It is much less costly than the cost of doing nothing.
As everyone knows, the majority of proceeds from the price on carbon pollution go straight back into the pockets of Canadians in provinces where the federal fuel charge applies, with eight out of 10 Canadians in those provinces getting more money back through the climate action incentive payments than they pay as a result of the price on carbon. In Ontario, for example, a family of four gets nearly $1,000 back in quarterly installment payments. It is returned to hard-working Ontarians. Eight of out 10, or even more than that, I would estimate, are better off under this system. It is very efficient and the least expensive way to reduce emissions.
Our world-leading carbon pollution pricing system is essential in our fight against climate change. It not only puts money back in the pockets of Canadians, but it is also highly effective because it provides a clear economic signal to businesses and allows them the flexibility to find the most cost-effective way of lowering their emissions.
At the same time, it also increases demand for the development and adoption of clean technologies. Furthermore, investments in strengthening Canada's competitiveness in the clean economy will not only promote the shift towards net zero.
They will also deliver good middle-class jobs for Canadian workers in communities right across Canada.
Today, a climate plan is just as important as an economic plan and a jobs plan. Climate policy is economic policy.
However, the reality is that many Canadians across the country are currently struggling to pay their bills and are under a lot of financial stress. It is important for us to help them.
I would like to say that I will be splitting my time with my colleague and good friend, the hon. member for Whitby.
On October 26, the Prime Minister announced that we will be doubling the pollution price rebate rural top-up rate from 10% to 20% of the baseline amount starting in April 2024.
Our government recognizes that people who live in rural communities face unique realities, and this measure will help put even more money back in the pockets of families dealing with higher energy costs because they live outside a large city and have limited access to clean transportation alternatives.
People in rural communities will receive their first increased payment in April 2024. This increase will be applied every year going forward.
I note that the motion at hand mentions heat pumps. To provide more time and financial support for the roughly 1.1 million homes in Canada, including tens of thousands of homes in Ontario, using home heating oil to switch to heat pumps, as part of that October 26 package, the government also announced that it would temporarily pause the application of a fuel charge on deliveries of home heating oil, in all jurisdictions where it currently applies, for a three-year period.
Canada's cool climate means that heating accounts for over 60% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. Making the switch to more energy efficient heating equipment, such as a cold climate air source heat pump, can save energy, reduce utility bills and, yes, reduce the carbon footprint. Heat pumps are one of the best ways for homeowners to get off of home heating oil when compared to other electric home heating sources, and they are also two to three time more efficient.
In another part of the affordability measures put forward two weeks ago, the Prime Minister also announced a stringent oil to heat pump affordability program, which was introduced in 2022. The program helps low- to medium-income homeowners who are currently heating their homes with oil to transition to electric heat by installing a cold climate air source heat pump system.
To strengthen the program, the federal government is partnering with provinces and territories and collaborating to increase the amount of federal funding that eligible homeowners can receive for installing a heat pump from $10,000 to $15,000 and adding up to an additional $5,000 in grant funding to match provincial and territorial contributions via co-delivery arrangements. The stringent program also includes upfront payments of $250 for at or below medium-income homeowners who use heating oil and sign up to switch to a heat pump through our joint federal-provincial government program. This would make the average heat pump installation free for low- to medium-income homeowners as we continue to minimize upfront costs and make federal programs even easier to access for all households using home heating oil.
Cleaner, more affordable heating options will save people money on their energy bills for years to come. The reality is that, on average, homeowners who switch from oil to a cold-climate heat pump to heat and cool their homes save up to $2,500 a year on their energy bills.
Climate change is real, and so is its catastrophic impact on Canada. It is important to take concrete action to combat it. That is exactly what we are doing.
All the experts agree that a pollution pricing system is the best way to fight climate change. That is why we are continuing to move in that direction.
Finally, we have been very clear. We are going to continue implementing our pollution pricing system while making sure we keep putting more money back into the pockets of Canadian households.