Federal Budget Statement 

Apr 24, 2024

Federal Budget Statement 

On April 16th, the federal government released the 2024 Budget: Fairness for Every Generation. While the budget introduced funding for key issues, such as building more homes, innovation in AI (Artificial Intelligence), and improving interprovincial trade, the lack of funding towards attracting private investment will do little to address Canada’s productivity crisis.  

Fiscal Outlook  

Budget 2024 allocates $53 billion in new spending over five years. A sizable portion of this investment is in housing affordability, technology infrastructure, and economic reconciliation. The deficit for the year 2023-24 is reported at $40 billion, slightly improved on the deficit that was forecasted in last year’s budget. The 2024-25 budget is expected to improve to $39.8 billion and then be cut to $20 billion by 2028-29 due to increased taxation revenues.   

While the Guelph Chamber welcomes the new investments in housing, technology infrastructure, and economic reconciliation, we urge the government to consider measures which would prioritize and boost productivity rather than defaulting to tax increases, which could risk impeding Canada’s economic progress.  


We were pleased to see a cumulative $8.5 billion in new funding to build 3.87 million new homes by 2031-32. Funding and top-ups for key programs such as the Apartment Construction Loan Program, the Housing Infrastructure Fund, and the Housing Accelerator Fund are all steps in the right direction to address Canada’s housing crisis. We commend the government for incentivizing the construction of purpose-built rental and student housing, using existing public land to build housing, and foster collaboration with nonprofits and co-ops to support low-income housing.  

While the funding laid out for these programs are positive measures to help us address Canada’s need for housing supply. We believe that restoring affordability in Guelph and across Canada will require support from these existing funds and the empowerment of the private sector. Specifically, we urge the government to introduce measures to enable the private sector to allocate capital to new projects. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI)  

Budget 2024 announced a $2.4 billion funding package for AI. This package contains measures to boost start-ups by helping researchers and start-ups access AI infrastructure and enable SMEs to deploy AI solutions.  

We believe that there is a strong link between business productivity and AI, and this funding is an important step in assisting AI adoption in critical sectors. Still, we believe and continue to advocate for a federal regulatory environment that will allow for AI adoption to flourish in businesses of all sizes and sectors across Canada.  

Economic Reconciliation 

Budget 2024 included several measures to support Indigenous communities and advance economic reconciliation. Totaling $6.3 billion this funding includes a national Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program, accelerating work in narrowing housing and infrastructure gaps, and aid for Indigenous Financial Institutions.  

We believe the federal government’s commitment to addressing reconciliation is a meaningful step in the right direction to removing significant barriers historically faced by Indigenous communities in economic participation. This funding will lead to faster project development, boost Canada’s prosperity and advance economic reconciliation by ensuring Indigenous communities directly benefit from project development on their territories.  

SME (Small Medium Enterprise) Support  

Budget 2024 announced a $260 million investment into entrepreneurs, the AI funding package, and the awaited climate rebate for small businesses that will return more than $2.5 billion collected through the federal fuel charge.  

The measures announced in budget 2024 are a vital step in helping enable our SMEs to stay afloat during these especially challenging times, but our SMEs need more action to address the factors disproportionally affecting them. Specifically, while some of the proposed acceleration to return processes may alleviate difficulty navigating bureaucratic red tape, our SMEs continue to be affected by layers of taxes and regulation. Additionally, while the Guelph Chamber is happy to see the federal government strengthen access to capital for SMEs, the larger influences of inflation, rising interest rates, and labor shortages continue to hamper recovery.  


Budget 2024 included a series of measures aimed at improving talent supply, skilling opportunities and encouraging labor force participation. The most notable of these measures are:  

  • $50 million for Foreign Credential Recognition Program  
  • $18.9 million for Canada Student Grants and Loans  
  • $207.6 million for more work-integrated learning opportunities  
  • $351.2 million for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy  
  • $1 billion for the Childcare Expansion Loan Program  

The Guelph Chamber believes that building a skilled and resilient workforce is essential to meeting our current labor needs and ensuring our community can grow. The investment outlined in Budget 2024 is a vital way to ensure that more Canadians can pursue careers in the skilled trades while improving internal labor mobility and foreign credential recognition. As an advocate of affordable and accessible childcare, we are encouraged by the support of childcare and believe it is a vital determinant of the participation of women, who have historically been disadvantaged, in our labor force.  


To read more about investment in areas such as interprovincial trade, EV (Electric Vehicle) supply chains, and manufacturing please read the position of our colleagues at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.  

 If you have any questions, comments, or concerns on any of the above please reach out to