Budget 2024 - the devil is in the details

Published Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Federal Government has released its budget for 2024.

As the Liberals lag far behind Pierre Poilievre’s Conservatives in the polls, Budget 2024 was their bid to win over voters feeling the cost of living crunch.

But faced with right-wing accusations of overspending, Trudeau’s Liberals attempted to walk a delicate line between providing Canadians with immediate relief, while still meeting the corporate class' definition of fiscal responsibility.

The result was a budget that addressed affordability in some important ways — but that, for the most part, let corporations off the hook with billions in corporate handouts despite their runaway profits, while missing out on opportunities to make life more affordable for struggling people.

Optics are one thing — but as always, the devil is in the details. We’ve broken down the wins and let-downs of Budget 2024 below.

More taxes on the 0.1%

In the days leading up to the budget, insider leaks fuelled rumours that Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland was planning to increase taxes on the wealthy.

Budget 2024 did make changes to the Capital Gains Tax — a measure that would make corporations and the richest 0.1% pay an extra $19 billion in taxes over 5 years.

This is a big win — but $19 billion over several years is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the scale of corporate profits in Canada. In order to make corporations pay their fair share, tax rates on the ultra-wealthy need to be much higher than what’s on the table.

Oil & Gas Corporate Profiteering Tax defeated by corporate lobbying

Insider sources revealed that the Liberals considered levying a special tax on the Oil & Gas industry’s record-breaking profits — but when Big Oil lobbyists put up a fuss, they abandoned their plans.

Thanks to corporate lobbying, polluters’ profits were put ahead of the needs of struggling people. But caucus is meeting this week — and the government will be looking for feedback from MPs on how the budget was received.

Will you email your MP now to let them know Budget 2024 doesn’t go far enough to rein in greedy corporations profiting at our expense?

Recognition that Grocery Giants have been profiting at our expense

In a surprising admission, the 2024 Budget recognized that the profits of Canada’s three largest grocers have collectively increased by 46% since the beginning of the pandemic — profits that have come quite literally at the expense of Canadians struggling to get by.

It explained that Big Grocers’ ballooning profits are coming from a lack of competition and “shrinkflation”, but played down the fact that grocers have been benefiting from inflation by artificially hiking their prices. And beyond naming the problem, the Budget didn’t propose a plan of action — essentially allowing grocery CEOs to sit on their ill-gotten gains while so many people can’t put food on the table.

Movement on housing

$8.4 billion in new spending for housing was announced — a welcome investment and indication the Federal government is taking its role in addressing the housing crisis seriously.

While the Budget identifies comprehensive measures that are critical to address supply of homes in the long-term, the Liberals’ target still falls short of what housing advocates say is needed. While there is some funding for non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers — it continues to rely heavily on the private sector to meet housing demand, and fails to address the immediate problem of an out-of-control rental market.


The Budget plays dangerously into racist, anti-immigrant/newcomer sentiment, allocating more funding for federal detention facilities for asylum-seekers — people who have left their home countries seeking protection from persecution.

It also introduces strict new caps on temporary visas, and doubles down on travel restrictions for Mexican citizens — who make up the largest number of asylum seekers coming to Canada. All these measures play into racist tropes popularized by the far-right, that misdirect the blame for a plethora of social issues away from corporate greed and government neglect, and onto new immigrants and asylum seekers.

Not nearly enough on Climate

Budget 2024 saw a climate win for Emilie – a Leadnow supporter who started a petition calling for energy justice for those who need it most. The government committed $800 million over five years, to fund energy retrofits for low and medium-income households – helping people lower their bills and reducing carbon emissions.

But in a year when climate-induced wildfires are predicted to be the worst Canada has ever seen, the Budget was void of any real investments in the climate action we desperately need.

In fact, it did the opposite. Rather than funding a just transition away from oil and gas, the Liberals broke a previous campaign promise to end fossil fuel subsidies — handing $5.7 billion more to Big Oil to spend on unproven technology to reduce carbon emissions.

Finally a Canada Disability Benefit – but not nearly enough funding

In the leadup to the Budget’s release, disability rights advocates were losing hope that the Canada Disability Benefit would get funded in 2024. But in a surprise win, the Budget promised $6.1 billion for CDB over six years! The fact that the CDB was funded at all is a testament to the tireless work of disability rights activists, leading advocates like Disability Without Poverty, and thousands of Leadnow supporters like you.

But — Budget 2024 funds a maximum of $200 per month and only for people with disabilities who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, and provides no guarantees against provincial clawbacks. With a maximum annual benefit allotment of $2,400, this level of funding covers just half of the persons with disabilities living in poverty.

Disability advocates had been hoping for a minimum of $1,000 a month, given rising costs of living, and the urgency of the disability poverty crisis. The allocated funding in Budget 2024 is a deeply disappointing response for the disability community.

What's next

If the contents of Budget 2024 are anything to go by, the Liberals are cluing in that they need to do better. Despite its shortcomings, this latest budget went the furthest of any under Trudeau’s leadership to force the wealthiest 0.1% to pay their fair share; and to put real money into social necessities like housing, steps towards pharmacare and dental care, $10 day childcare and the Canada Disability Benefit.

The progress we did see in Budget 2024 is thanks to people like you, who have spent the last several years calling on Trudeau’s Liberals to do what it takes to help everyday people get by.

But to truly invest in people, the Liberals need to go further to make corporations pay their fair share, and ensure strong public services, a safe climate, and affordable housing for all. Our work is far from over — thank you for being with us in the fight.

Onward with courage,
The entire Leadnow team