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Federal budget analysis 2024 


The 2024 federal budget serves as a critical point of reference for non-profits that informs planning, advocacy, and day-to-day operations. United Way East Ontario remains committed to advocating for the needs of our communities and ensuring essential services are adequately supported. 

While housing took centre stage in the Liberal government’s Fairness for Every Generation budget, it was tabled amidst a time of compounded challenges of high inflation, high cost of living and low productivity, in addition to a country-wide housing crisis. This budget’s overall aim was to prioritize the needs of hard-working Canadians dealing with the effects of tough economic times. 

Here are what we saw as key wins in this year’s federal budget: 

By Preeti Prabhu, Senior Director of Public Policy, Government and Stakeholder Relations, United Way East Ontario

United Way is grateful for the Federal government’s investment of $1 billion over five years into the newly announced, National School Food Program. This program will support parents and caregivers by alleviating financial burdens and ensuring kids receive proper nutrition.  

The Childcare Expansion Loan Program also prioritizes access to affordable childcare in fostering a more inclusive and resilient society. 

United Way is a strong advocate for affordable housing. We welcomed a series of encouraging pre-budget announcements by the federal government, especially related to housing. It is great to see investments committed to non-market/non-profit affordable housing development. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement of a $15 billion program to build more than 131,000 apartments within the next decade is a significant step toward addressing the housing shortage. Additionally, the allocation of $1.5 billion to protect and create affordable housing and measures to foster innovation in homebuilding reflects a commitment to tackling housing affordability and accessibility issues.  


We applaud the prioritization of affordable non-profit and co-op homes, recognizing our vital role in supporting vulnerable Canadians. The allocation of nearly $150 million through the Federal Community Housing Initiative, explicitly targeting persons with disabilities, single-parent families, seniors, and newcomers, is commendable. Moreover, the flexibility introduced in the budget to allow eligible housing providers to access funding to maintain housing affordability is a positive step forward.  


United Way emphasizes the importance of federal-provincial-municipal cooperation in effectively implementing housing initiatives. While the budget allocates significant funds to address housing needs, housing experts call for clear plans on how funding allocation and how housing needs will be assessed. A comprehensive nationwide housing needs assessment would be beneficial to ensure resources are directed where they are most needed, similar to the work being down by the government of British Columbia.  

The budget outlines continued health agreements with provinces and territories—maintaining funding levels tailored for home and community care, mental health supports, and addiction services. United Way will continue to monitor the implementation of these agreements.  

Ensuring that resources are directed towards areas of greatest need and that vulnerable populations receive adequate support remains a top priority for us.  

This federal budget recognizes the importance of mental health and wellness, particularly among Indigenous communities with funding allocation of $630.2 million over two years and Black Canadian communities with funding allocation of $4 million over two years. The $ 500 million Youth Mental Health Fund also supports community partnerships and networks to expedite assistance for youth. United Way welcomes these investments as crucial to promoting mental wellness and combating systemic inequities. 

With an allocation of $273.6 million over six years towards Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate—with $29.3 million ongoing—the budget sends a clear message of commitment to eradicate hate in all its forms. This funding is a significant step towards supporting vital community outreach, reforming law enforcement practices, addressing hate crimes, bolstering community security, countering radicalization, and providing essential support to victims.  

Among the notable investments outlined in the budget are crucial programs and initiatives allocations. The $25 million for Anti-Hate programming and promoting intercultural ties emphasizes the importance of fostering understanding and unity among diverse communities. 

The release of Budget 2024 by the Canadian government marks a pivotal moment for our nation’s socioeconomic landscape. As an organization deeply committed to enhancing the well-being of our community, United Way is encouraged by the measures outlined in the budget, which reflect a concerted effort to address pressing issues and foster positive change across various sectors. 

We support steps taken to enact the Canada Disability Benefit but feel the government has not gone far enough with its investment. There needs to be a more substantial benefit to promptly alleviate poverty among individuals with disabilities. 

The $60 million investment announced to address the financial struggles among low- and middle-income Canadian marks significant step to combat affordability issues. Through organizations like Prosper Canada, Canadians will have direct access to tax filing assistance, support in navigating benefits and financial coaching. This will help vulnerable Canadians access and make use of approximately $2 billion worth of unclaimed benefits available 

Another $60 million was allocated over a span of two years to bolster Friendship Centres nationwide, ensuring support and services are available for Indigenous communities in urban areas. 

Budget 2024 also allocated investments in programs aimed at empowering individuals and promoting economic opportunity. The additional $90 million allocation for the Apprenticeship Service underscores the government’s commitment to creating more apprenticeship opportunities, equipping Canadians with the skills and training needed to thrive in today’s workforce. Similarly, the $50 million investment in the Foreign Credential Recognition Program, coupled with efforts to eliminate unnecessary barriers, represents a significant step towards harnessing the full potential of newcomers and ensuring their successful integration into our communities.  

Additionally, Budget 2024 introduces several fundamental policy changes to safeguard workers’ rights and promote fairness in the labour market. The proposed amendments to the Canada Labour Code, which would establish a right-to-disconnect policy, are particularly significant as they prioritize the well-being of employees and seek to strike a balance between work and personal life—a principle that resonates deeply with United Way’s mission of building a more equitable society. 

Finally, we are pleased to see the proposed increase in the capital gains inclusion rate and revised tax treatment for charitable donations reflect a commitment to ensuring a fair and just tax system while incentivizing philanthropy and community engagement. 

What's next

With the significant allocations in Budget 2024, we invite the government to collaborate with non-profits and community and social services to adopt implementation strategies that ensure our community’s interests.  

Budget 2024 represents a pivotal step towards building a fairer and more resilient East Ontario and Canada. United Way East Ontario will continue to advocate for support of the non-profit sector, emergency services, and housing alongside United Way Centraide Canada. As the budget’s initiatives unfold, collaboration between government, stakeholders, and communities will ensure its transformative potential. 




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The Ontario Government tabled its $214-billion budget on March 26, 2024. Read United Way East Ontario's analysis on what it means for social services and the people we serve.

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