NEWS: Finance Minister Bill Morneau tables fiscal update focused on tax cuts for Canadian businesses

At 4 p.m. on November 21, 2018, the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, tabled the Liberal government’s final Fall Economic Statement (FES) before the federal election next fall. The update, titled Investing in Middle Class Jobs, has new measures that include pro-business efforts to reduce regulations and expand international trade.

The update estimates this fiscal year’s deficit at $18.1 billion, $19.6 billion at year after, and predicts that deficit will drop to $11.4 billion in 2023/24.

Regulatory reviews to the health and bio-sciences sector include:

  • Modernizing clinical trial record retention requirements to reduce the current record retention requirement to lessen the cost burden on clinical trial sponsors and investigators, with expected savings of up to $40,000 per clinical trial.
  • Modernizing digital health product authorizations, including artificial intelligence to update how digital health product are regulated, developed and brought to market.

Other health care-related commitments include:

  • Providing a further $800 million over five years to the Strategic Innovation Fund. Though there is no specific portion of the funding allocated to the health and bio-sciences sector, there is the potential for investment in the sector from this fund.Investing $62.6 million over five years and $10.4 million per year after that to the Nutrition North Canada program.
  • A $150 million contribution in support of CAE’s $1 billion investment in research and development in Canada that will harness the power of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, big data, and augmented and virtual reality to develop the next generation of simulation and training products for the aerospace and health care sectors.

The update also provides a status update on November 2015’s Mandate Letter Commitments. Most “Healthy Canadians” priorities – such as ensuring non-discrimination in blood donation policies and moving forward with the implementation of national pharmacare – are reported as “Actions Taken,
progress made.” The complete status update on the Minister of Health’s commitments can be found on pages 148 and 149 of the fiscal update.

Read the press release here.

Read the full report here.