Ottawa Canal at night

Here are highlights, apart from our main coverage, of the federal Liberal budget tabled Tuesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau:

— $1.7 billion over five years, and $586 million a year after that, for a Canada Training Benefit to help workers upgrade skills and acquire new ones while keeping their jobs. The benefit includes a $250-a-year tax credit to pay for training programs and access to employment insurance to cover living expenses for up to four weeks away from work.

— $1.18 billion over five years to toughen border security, including hiring more judges to handle judicial reviews of asylum applications.

— A federal deficit of $19.8 billion, including a $3-billion “risk adjustment,” an increase of $200 million from last year’s forecast. The Liberals’ forecast again includes a gradual reduction in the deficit, but not quite as quickly as anticipated last year. By 2023-2024, the projected federal deficit is $11.4 billion.

— $3.9 billion for farmers in supply-managed industries affected by new trade agreements with Europe and a bloc of Pacific Rim countries.

— $2.2 billion for municipalities’ and First Nations’ infrastructure projects, through a one-time boost to the amount distributed through the federal gas-tax transfer.

— $1.2 billion over three years to enhance social services for Indigenous families and children, the main element in a package of spending aimed at Indigenous Peoples.

— Lowering the interest rate on Canada Student Loans to the prime rate, from the current prime-plus-2.5-percentage-points.

— Creating a new Canadian Drug Agency to centralize the evaluations of the effectiveness and efficiency of new drugs and buy in bulk nationwide, instead of province-by-province.

— $500 million a year, starting in 2022, to subsidize the costs of drugs for rare diseases, whose high costs are distributed among very few patients.

— $300 million over three years for rebates of up to $5,000 on electric or hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicles (with a maximum purchase price of $45,000).

— $950 million for municipal governments to refit their own buildings for energy efficiency and to provide their own subsidy programs for private homeowners to do the same.

— $50 million over five years to devise a new national dementia strategy.

More changes affecting clients

Clients with multi-unit residential properties will benefit from a rule update in the budget when they make changes in use of a portion of their properties. They’ll now be able to elect that the associated deemed disposition that normally arises doesn’t apply.

The change improves consistency in the tax treatment of owners of these properties relative to those of single-unit residential properties, the budget says. The measure applies to changes in property use that occur on of after budget day (Tuesday).

The budget also introduced two new annuities under the tax rules for certain registered plans. The first is an advanced life deferred annuity, which can be deferred until the client turns 85 (learn more).

The second is a variable payment life annuity (VPLA). Tax rules will be amended to allow pooled registered pension plans and defined contribution registered pension plans to provide VPLAs to plan members directly from the plans.

A VPLA will require at least 10 participating members and will provide varied payments based on the investment performance of an underlying annuities fund and on the mortality experience of the participating members.

VPLAs will be required to comply with existing tax rules applicable for pooled pension plans and defined contribution pension plans.