By Marie-Danielle Smith, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — People who receive the GST rebate can expect to see an extra cheque this year that will double the amount of the benefit for the next six months, after the Liberal government’s Bill C-30 became law on Tuesday.
The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, less than a month after the legislation targeting the cost-of-living crisis was introduced in the House of Commons. It received royal assent the same day.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that the bill will “make a difference” and noted that the House passed it unanimously, with the support of Conservative MPs.
Canadians who are eligible for the GST rebate will receive a lump-sum payment equivalent to the rebate cheques that will be sent in October and January — a policy that the NDP has been pushing for since last spring, notes leader Jagmeet Singh.
“If they had taken action then, Canadian families would have had hundreds of dollars back in July to help them manage the rising costs of food,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
The government previously indicated that it would take three to four weeks for the payments to go out after the bill received royal assent.
The federal Liberals are trying to get two other inflation-relief measures through Parliament, which the NDP also pushed for, but Trudeau is accusing the Conservatives of holding up their progress.
Bill C-31 includes a new dental-care benefit for children under 12 in low- and modest-income families — a step toward the dental-care promise underpinning the NDP’s deal to support the Liberal minority government — and a one-time $500 allowance for low-income renters.
Singh said it’s not enough and “we will keep fighting for more.”
He also expressed frustration about the Conservatives’ decision to oppose the bill. “They need to explain to Canadians struggling to make ends meet why they don’t want them to get the help they desperately need,” Singh said.
“The lowest-income families who struggle to be able to send their kids to the dentist, or low-income renters who need a little extra support will benefit greatly from the bill we have (put) forward in the House right now,” Trudeau told reporters Wednesday morning before a Liberal caucus meeting.
“This is why we’re asking for the Conservatives to not only stop blocking it, but actually support it, because we need to get more support out to families in these difficult moments.”
The Liberals are trying to expedite the bill’s passage. The House voted Wednesday afternoon to send the bill to a committee for study, meaning it is another step closer to becoming law.
During question period on Wednesday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre deflected a challenge from Trudeau to reverse his party’s position.
“Unfortunately, the prime minister is proposing to do exactly nothing for the vast majority of struggling families, who will get nothing,” Poilievre responded. “And even those small minority who do will find it gobbled up by increased inflation.”