Experts: Canadian federal budget 2024

Published: 15 April 2024

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will present the next budget in the House of Commons on April 16, with the government facing considerable political pressure over the economy. Ms. Freeland says the economic plan will be about “building more homes, faster, making life more affordable and creating more good jobs.” (The Globe and Mail

Here are some experts from McGill University who can comment on this topic: 

Political analysis 

Daniel Béland, James McGill Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, McGill Institute for the Study of Canada   

“This year, the Trudeau government decided to announce many components of the federal budget ahead of time so that they receive more media attention than usual. In this context, will budget day prove anticlimactic, as much of the budget’s content will have been announced long in advance? More importantly, will the budget and all the pre-budget announcements help the Liberals in the polls? Finally, how will new spending initiatives affect the fiscal situation of the federal government, especially the size of the budget deficit?” 

Daniel Béland is the Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and James McGill Professor of Political Science. He specializes in the fields of Canadian and comparative politics, as well as the study of public policy, including social policy.  

daniel.beland [at] (English, French)  

Spending strategy 

Christopher Ragan, Associate Professor and Director, Max Bell School of Public Policy    

“As the federal government prepares its budget for 2024, fiscal prudence suggests that any new spending plans be matched by similar-sized spending reductions on lower-priority items. The government needs to ensure that our debt-to-GDP ratio remains low so that it is well placed to respond to the next crisis, whatever it may be.” 

Christopher Ragan is an Associate Professor and Director of the Max Bell School of Public Policy. His areas of expertise include carbon pricing, macroeconomics, inflation, and fiscal policy.   

christopher.ragan [at] (English)   

Bill of Rights for renters 

Pearl Eliadis, Associate Professor, Max Bell School of Public Policy  

“The federal Bill of Rights for renters covers provincial issues and will require the provinces to play along. If implemented, they may be helpful, but will likely have little impact. What is needed is strong ‘right to housing legislation’ beyond the 2019 federal law, to create across-the-board rent control, clear government targets and goals to build housing—especially social housing—with sanctions against governments that do not comply, a legal duty to assist people at risk of homelessness, curbs on financialization, and stronger due process protections against evictions. We need to move beyond tinkering at the edges.” 

Pearl Eliadis is an Associate Professor at the Max Bell School of Public Policy and the Faculty of Law. She is also a member of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism and a member of the Steering Committee of the Quebec Homelessness Prevention Policy Collaborative and co-chairs its research stream on gender.  

pearl.eliadis [at] (English, French) 

Affordable housing  

Avi Friedman, Full Professor, School of Architecture 

“The allocation of $6 billion to affordable housing is a step in the right direction. However, much more needs to be done on two fronts: speed up the construction process and streamline the approval process at the municipal level, where most implementation decisions are made.” 

Avi Friedman is a Full Professor at the Peter Guo-hua Fu McGill School of Architecture, where he directs the Affordable Homes Research Group. His research interests focus on factors which influence the design and implementation of affordable and sustainable building practices at the unit and community levels, including market acceptance, construction, circular economy and resource efficiency. 

avi.friedman [at] (English, French) 

Daycare funding 

Sheryl Smith-Gilman, Associate Dean of Academics, Faculty of Education 

“Trudeau's recent announcement regarding the implementation of a $10-a-day childcare subsidy and increased investment in daycare programs will undoubtedly be a tremendous but necessary undertaking. Access to affordable childcare is not only crucial for supporting working parents but also for promoting the healthy development and well-being of young children. By taking inspiration from successful models like Quebec's, Canada can move closer to achieving universal access to high-quality childcare for all families.” 

Sheryl Smith-Gilman is the Associate Dean of Academics in the Faculty of Education and a faculty lecturer in the Department of Integrated Studies. Her research focuses on early childhood pedagogy, arts and cultural identity in early learning, as well as teacher education and professional development in early childhood education.   

sheryl.smithgilman [at] (English) 

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