On April 16, 2024, the Government of Canada released its 2024 federal budget: Fairness for Every Generation. With affordability and economic growth on the mind of all Canadians, this budget addresses these concerns, all while setting up future generations with the opportunity to build a good middle-class life.

Prior to the release of the 2024 budget, Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada (CMC) submitted its recommendations which focused on making sure fiscal and financial measures are taken for the co-operative and mutual sector. Although CMC would have liked to see more commitments and direct investments for the movement, Budget 2024 did contain many elements that will impact the Canadian co-operatives and mutuals.

Notably, it is important to highlight the government’s continued interest in co-operative housing as well as the proposed expansion of qualifying business transfers to include worker co-operatives. The later was a notable joint-advocacy victory that is part of efforts to promote co-operative conversions and the harmonization of incentives offered to retiring small-business owners.

If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to join us at our 2024 CMC Congress, held June 11-13 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Topics such as the economy and the workforce, housing, artificial intelligence and more will be featured in the agenda.

The State of Canada’s Economy

Budget 2024 explains that the Canadian economy had slowed but has outperformed expectations by avoiding a recession. At its peak of 8.1 percent in June 2022, the inflation rate has fallen to 2.8 per cent in February and is expected to end the year at approximately 2 per cent. In addition, international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development project Canada to see the strongest economic growth in the G7 in 2025.

Budget Highlights

The overall government spending for the 2024-2025 year is slated to be $535 billion, which includes $11.5 billion in new spending. The core elements are focused on housing, with a plan to unlock 3.87 million new homes by 2031, making it easier for renters to save for their first home, investing in programs aimed at future generations, as well as economic growth and productivity.

Budget 2024 was divided into 8 chapters:

  1. More Affordable Homes
  2. A Stronger Social Safety Net
  3. Fairness for Younger Generations
  4. Economic Growth and Productivity
  5. Growing Small Businesses
  6. Safer, Healthier Communities
  7. A Fair Future for Indigenous Peoples
  8. Tax Fairness for Every Generation

The following overview provides context as well as selected highlights and references that may affect or is deemed to be of interest for the co-operative and mutual sector.


Solving the Housing Crisis: Canada’s Housing Plan is a cornerstone component of the federal government’s commitment to helping Canadians find good affordable homes. Many elements were recently announced, including the $1.5 billion Canada Rental Protection Fund that can help housing co-operatives acquire land. That being said, the launch of the Co-operative Housing Development Program, committed to in Budget 2022, is still pending.

The Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada (CHF) has stated it supports the sharp focus on housing in the Budget. CMC congratulates CHF-Canada for its continued efforts and leadership on this file.

Other housing commitments includes:

  • A new Public Lands for Homes Plan to help build 250,000 new homes by 2031. This will be accomplished though the conversion of public lands to support housing. Keeping land under public ownership and leasing it to builders will enable new homes to be affordable.
  • A review of the federal government’s lands portfolio to identify sites for housing.
  • Supporting an overhaul of the Canada Lands Company, and enabling the transfer of land for $1 whenever possible to support more affordable housing.
  • $500 million over five years for Public Services and Procurement Canada to acquire public lands from provinces, territories, and municipalities to help spur sustainable, mixed-market housing.
  • $112.6 million over five years and $4.3 million after that, for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to unlock more federal lands for affordable housing providers.
  • Over $458 million for the new Greener Affordable Housing stream of the Canada Greener Homes Loan program to provide low-interest loans and grants for energy efficient retrofits of affordable housing, which reduces operational costs for non-profit housing providers.
  • Over $4 billion over seven years, starting in 2024-2025, to implement an Urban, Rural and Northern Indigenous Housing Strategy and to establish a National Indigenous Housing Centre.
  • $57.3 billion in support of infrastructure projects across the country from 2023-2024 until 2028-2029.
  • Accelerating the construction and upgrading of housing-enabling infrastructure by providing $6 billion over 10 years through a new Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Fairness for Younger Generations

Budget 2024 has many commitments focusing on younger generations, many of which are related to the ability to access affordable homes or rental housing, However, the Government of Canada has included other elements, such as:

  • Supporting young entrepreneurs by proposing $60 million for Futurpreneur Canada, which has already helped over 17,700 young entrepreneurs to launch more than 13,900 businesses across the country. Please note that CMC successfully advocated to have the Futurpreneur program to be open to co-operatives entrepreneurs back in 2019.
  • $207.6 million for the Student Work Placement Program to create more work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students and help businesses attract and train skilled and trained individuals.
  • $351.2 million create 90,000 youth job placements through Canada Summer Jobs and provide job placements and employment supports through the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, programs that co-operatives access regularly.
  • $167.5 million to ensure Inuit children can access the health, social, and educational services they need, when they need them. This will impact the communities where members of Arctic Co-operatives and the Fédération des cooperatives du Nouveau-Québec are based.

Boosting Research, Innovation and Productivity.

  • $2.4 billion in investments in Artificial Intelligence to support AI adoption across the entire economy by helping researchers and Canadian businesses to access the computational power and the digital tools they need to compete. As a result, this will help catalyze the development of Canadian-owned and located AI infrastructure. 
  • $3.5 billion in new strategic research infrastructure and federal research support, including investments in modern, high-quality research facilities and infrastructure.
  • $2.4 billion for core research grants and to foster homegrown, top-tier research talent by streamlining and enhancing scholarships and fellowships through Canada’s research granting councils. This will be of particular interest to academic institutions and researchers involved in the co-operative ecosystem.

Strengthening Investment and Business Growth

  • Delivering, by the end of this year, major economic investment tax credits to attract private investment, create more jobs, and drive Canada’s economy towards net-zero by 2050. Budget 2024 also announces expanded eligibility for the Clean Technology Manufacturing investment tax credit in order to allow more businesses to benefit from it.
  • Funding to grow Canada’s biofuels sector in order to help decarbonize heavy industries and transportation, such as marine, aviation, and rail.

Helping Businesses Grow

  • Budget 2024 will provide businesses with enhanced write-offs for innovation-enabling and productivity-enhancing assets, and investments such as computers and data network infrastructures, to provide businesses with enhanced write-offs for their investments.
  • The new Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Incentive to provide a tax break for entrepreneurs, ensuring they benefit from the fruits of their hard work while facing lower tax burdens.
  • Putting the capital of financial Crown corporations to work more efficiently and ensuring they better address market gaps by taking on more risk, including additional support for new and high-growth businesses, emerging sectors, and under-financed equity-deserving groups. For an overview of co-operatives established by, or primarily serving, equity-deserving groups, please consult these landscape reports.
  • Reviewing internal trade barriers to foster trading across provincial and territorial borders by aligning regulations. This is expected to create more opportunities for Canadian businesses to grow and create greater competition and consumer choices.
  • Advancing work on regulatory “sandboxes” to help create temporary agile rules and approaches that allow businesses to reach their full potential, instead of holding them back.
  • Renewed support for the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program, including up to $5 billion in loan guarantees.
  • Foreign Credential Recognition for an estimated 198,000 internationally educated health professionals and thousands of skilled trade workers will help streamline processes and address labor shortages. This could help the more than 150 co-operatives involved in healthcare and homecare, as well as certain co-operatives involved in manufacturing and construction.

Food Security

Budget 2024 has a commitment to stabilize and lower grocery prices, which have been impacted by the war in Ukraine, grain blockades, and climate impacts on agriculture. With the goal of strengthening competition through the Affordable Housing and Groceries Act and other initiatives, it is also proposing to provide $62.9 million over three years to renew and expand the Local Food Infrastructure Fund. This fund supports community organizations across Canada to invest in their local food infrastructure, which could impact Canada’s more than 500 grocery store locations that are, or are operated by, co-operatives. Furthermore, this could also impact co-operatives that process and supply food product to retailers and wholesalers.

Agriculture and Agri-Food

As of Budget 2024, the government has not yet made permanent, or confirmed the extension of, the Tax-deferred Co-operative Share Program. However, the budget does have initiatives to continue their support for Agriculture and Agri-food across the country.

  • $64 million in 2024-2025 to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to support a $250,000 interest-free limit on Advance Payments Program loans for the 2024 program year. The government will continue to review the Advance Payments Program to improve program delivery and reduce the administrative burden for producers.
  • $200 million over five years, starting in 2024-2025, to boost AI start-ups to bring new technologies to market, and accelerate AI adoption in critical sectors, such as agriculture, clean technology, health care, and manufacturing. This support will be delivered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies.
  • $500 million per year from Clean Fuel Regulations compliance payment revenues to support biofuels production in Canada, which will impact agriculture and forestry. More details will be provided in the 2024 Fall Economic Statement.
  • As a part of its review, the government found that Farm Credit Canada should continue to pursue opportunities to support agri-food and agribusiness, including through venture capital investment, and further deployment of technologies to mitigate climate change. The government also intends to amend the Farm Credit Canada Act to require regular legislative reviews that ensure that their activities are aligned with the sector’s needs.
  • The Livestock Tax Deferral is crucial in mitigating the financial burden on farmers during natural disasters, such as drought or floods. This reliable, predictable support helps farmers build resilience as they face the increasingly severe effects of climate change.
  • The government is supporting efforts to amend the Copyright Act to help achieve interoperability between devices and equipment and will launch consultations this June on interoperability, so that farmers can use their equipment in the way that is best for their farm.
  • In Budget 2024, the government proposes to amend the Employment Insurance Act in order to extend the measure that provides five additional weeks to seasonal workers in targeted regions by two years.

Other ongoing commitments include:

  • Investing $3.5 billion in the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership to strengthen the innovation, competitiveness, and resiliency of the agriculture and agri-food sector.
  • Flowing up to $333 million over the next decade to support dairy sector investments in research, product and market development, and processing capacity for solids non-fat, thus increasing its competitiveness and productivity.

Rural and Remote Communities

Although this was not a focus of the 2024 Budget, the following information relates to rural and remote communities. Co-operatives and mutuals, as well as their members who reside in rural and remote communities will be impacted by the following commitments:

  • Amendments to the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act and the Canada Student Loans Act to permanently expand the reach of the Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program to early childhood educators, dentists, dental hygienists, pharmacists, midwives, teachers, social workers, psychologists, personal support workers, and physiotherapists, who choose to work in rural and remote communities.
  • Doubling the rural top-up for the Carbon Rebate from 10 per cent to 20 per cent, starting this year, and expanding eligibility to more Canadians.
  • Provinces and territories wishing to access the $5 billion for earmarked for housing agreements under the new Canada Housing Infrastructure Fund must dedicate at least 20 per cent of their agreement-based funding for northern, rural, and Indigenous communities.
  • $42 million in 2024-2025 for CBC/Radio- Canada news and entertainment programming, ensuring Canadians across the country, including rural, remote, Indigenous, and minority language communities, have access to high-quality, independent journalism and entertainment.
  • Investments in passenger rail, including 462.4 million for VIA Rail network operations, to replace aging fleets. This also includes 63.1 million over three years to renew the Remote Passenger Rail Program in Manitoba, Quebec, and Labrador.

Key ongoing actions include:

Financial Services

In Budget 2024, there are many references to the Consumer-Driven Banking Framework, also known as open banking, as a follow-up to upcoming legislation announcement found in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement. In essence, open banking provides a way for people and businesses to securely transfer their financial data to different service providers, without sharing access to their accounts. For those who are interested, more information on the Consumer-driven banking implementation can be found here.

Please note that relevant stakeholders from the sector, notably apex bodies, have been actively involved in consultations on this in recent years and will continue to do so going forward.

This is an opportunity for financial co-operatives and mutuals to innovate and recruit new members and clients. However, this could also potentially create loses as new applications and tools will allow Canadians to track, budget and compare their financial information. It is also expected that the Framework will help businesses reduce administrative burden, have integration between banking data and accounting, tax, payroll, and other software. This will also allow for faster adjudication of loans and access to new forms of financing, while also permitting time and cost savings from secure access to broader digital services. Moreover:

  • The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) will be mandated to oversee, administer, and enforce Canada’s Consumer-Driven Banking Framework and deliver a consume awareness campaign.
  • Starting in 2024-2025, $4.1 million will be provided over three years to the Department of Finance in order to complete the necessary policy work, marking the desired timeline of 2026-2027 for a national security regime.

In Budget 2024, the government proposes to introduce legislative amendments to the Financial Institutions Statutes to adapt the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) diversity disclosure model for application to federally regulated financial institutions. The CBCA model requires annual disclosure of diversity on boards and in senior management.

Financial Crown Corporations

The government reviewed the operations of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Export Development Canada, and Farm Credit Canada and new guidance was announced to mobilize more financing and take on greater risk. CMC was involved in the legislative review of the Business Development Bank of Canada consultations and was pleased that the report recognized that the BDC needed to better serve the co-operative and mutual sector.

Small Business

  • $2.5 billion will directly go to Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses as the 2019-2020 to 2023-2024 fuel charge proceeds are returned to an estimated 600,000 businesses. These business with 499 or fewer employees through a new refundable tax credit.
  • Budget 2024 also proposes to expand qualifying business transfers to include the sale of shares to include worker co-operative corporations. However, a worker co-operative would generally need to meet the definition set out under the Canada Cooperatives Act.  Therefore, provided the relevant requirements are met, this would allow an individual to claim an exemption on selling a business to a worker co-operative. A qualifying business transfer would also be eligible for the 10-year capital gains reserve and the 15-year exception to the shareholder loan and interest benefit rules which was announced in Budget 2023. Additional details on this aspect of the exemption will be released in the coming months.

Ongoing commitments include:

  • Supporting small- and medium-sized businesses to hire 55,000 first year apprentices in construction and manufacturing Red Seal trades through a grant of $5,000 which will be put towards upfront costs, such as salaries and training.
  • Budget 2024 will continue to cut taxes for Canada’s growing small businesses by gradually phasing out their access to the small business tax rate.
  • Secured commitments with Visa and Mastercard to lower credit card interchange fees for small businesses while protecting reward programs for consumers.
  • Ongoing support for small- and medium-sized businesses through Canada’s seven Regional Development Agencies, including over $3.7 billion since 2018 to help businesses scale-up and innovate through the agency.
  • Since 2018, there has been almost $7 billion invested in the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy to help women-owned businesses access the financing, networks, and expertise they need to start-up, scale-up, and access new markets.
  • Enhancements to the Canada Small Business Financing Program, increasing annual financing to small businesses by an estimated $560 million.
  • Up to $265 million for the Black Entrepreneurship Program to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed and grow their businesses.
  • $150 million investment in the Indigenous Growth Fund, to help recruit other investors, and in turn provide a long-term source of capital to support continued success for Indigenous businesses.
  • $49 billion in interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $60,000 to nearly 900,000 small businesses and not-for-profit organizations through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

We look forward to continued advocacy on behalf of Canadian co-operatives and mutuals. If you have questions, are assessing the impact of a new budget commitment on your organization, or want to connect further, please contact:

Daniel Brunette
Senior Director, External Affairs
Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada