CDA Recommendations Appear in House of Commons Finance Committee Pre-Budget Report

February 7, 2003 - Ottawa - On November 29, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance chaired by Sue Barnes, MP (Liberal - London West), released a report entitled Canada: People, Places and Priorities, which made 49 recommendations to government in anticipation of the next federal budget.

CDA president Dr. Tom Breneman presented recommendations on October 31, during pre-budget consultations held in Ottawa. Andrew Jones, CDA's director of corporate and government relations, presented the recommendations of the National Professional Association Coalition on Tuition (NPACT) on October 24.

CDA is encouraged by the Finance Committee's recommendations. Its report addresses many of CDA's recommendations, including raising RRSP contribution limits to $19,000 to allow those in the top income tax bracket to shelter 18% of earnings. The committee agrees that the limits should be raised in accordance with the inflation rate, starting immediately.

CDA has been very active on the retirement income issue in recent years and is pleased to see this recommendation in the report. With an aging population, it is important that all Canadians are able to retire with enough financial security to allow them to maintain the lifestyle and quality of life they enjoyed in their working years. This recommendation is very important to CDA and one that the government must address.

As for tuition fees and student loans, the Finance Committee recommends expanding student loan limits to assist students in financing rising tuition fees; implementation of a permanent program financing 40% of the indirect costs of federally-funded research; and an increase in the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) contribution for low-and middle-income families to 30% of the first $1,000 contribution annually to a Registered Education Savings Plan, which would make it easier for CDA members to save for their children's education.

Because Canada is losing researchers due to readily available research funding in the United States, CDA recommended that the federal government make oral health a visible priority by allocating more proportionate funding to oral research. A minimum of 3.5% of Canadian Institutes of Health Research funding should go to oral health, given that oral care comprises 7% of national health expenditures. CDA is disappointed that the Finance Committee did not include this recommendation in its report.

More Information

The full Finance Committee report can be viewed at The Parliament of Canada Web site:

To read Dr. Breneman's pre-budget consultation speech, click here.

To read Andrew Jones' presentation of the NPACT Finance Report, click here.

A longer version of this story will appear in the January-February 2003 edition of Communiqué, CDA's members-only newsletter.


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