Fall Economic Statement

Political Context

At their most desperate hour since coming to power, the Trudeau Government has unveiled the 2023 Fall Economic Statement. Can what’s on offer relieve the frustration of Canadians amidst an affordability crisis? Coming out of a summer slump, the Liberals have seemingly tried it all; so far, nothing has improved public opinion of the prime minister or the government. Trudeau is now playing daily dodgeball, defending and deflecting incredibly tense domestic issues and seriously fraught international ones. Meanwhile, the NDP may be eying the exit of their confidence agreement, and the long list of shared priorities that remain unfulfilled in this political partnership. Today’s FES is a critical political moment: a hail mary that’s less about economics and more about the politics of survival.

By the Numbers

Projected deficit

(2023 – 2024)


down from $40.1B in Budget 2023

Real GDP growth

projection for 2024


down from 1.5% in Budget 2023

Return to 2%

inflation target
projected by the end of 2024

Total new spending

in FES 2023


over the next six years


Housing Measures
  • $15B additional to fund low-cost loans, starting in 2025-26, as part of the Apartment Construction Loan Program
  • Co-operative housing corporations that provide long-term rental accommodation will become eligible for the removal of the GST on new rental housing, with conditions
  • $1B additional over three years, starting in 2025-26, to build affordable homes, supporting co-op housing, non-profit and public housing providers
  • $309.3M in new funding for the Co-operative Housing Development Program
  • Introduce legislation to establish the Department of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities (currently Infrastructure Canada)
  • Remove the barriers to internal labour mobility, including by leveraging funding to encourage provinces and territories to cut the red tape that impedes the movement of workers
  • Work to eliminate barriers to internal trade in the Canadian Free Trade Agreement
  • $50M over three years, starting in 2024-25, to support municipal enforcement of restrictions on short-term rentals
  • Deny income tax deductions for expenses incurred to earn short-term rental income in jurisdictions that have restricted short-term rentals
  • Deny income tax deductions when short-term rental operators are not compliant with licensing, permitting, or registration requirements
  • Create the Canadian Mortgage Charter, building on existing guidance and expectations for how financial institutions are to work with Canadians
  • Amend the Competition Act to strengthen tools available to tackle abuse of dominance by big companies, including predatory pricing, modernize merger reviews, enhance protections for consumers including against greenwashing claims, broaden the ability of private parties to flag cases to the tribunal, and other measures
  • Amend the Competition Act to prevent manufacturers from refusing to provide the means of repair in an anti-competitive manner
  • Work with the CTA to amend the Air Passenger Protection Regulations to ensure that airlines seat all children under the age of 14 next to their accompanying adult free of charge
  • Introduce legislation to establish a consumer-driven banking framework that would regulate access to financial data and ensure Canadians have safe and secure access to financial services and products
  • Amend the Canadian Payments Act to expand membership eligibility in Payments Canada to payment service providers supervised by the Bank of Canada and other providers, allowing for lower transaction costs and faster, more secure payments
  • Exempt professional services rendered by psychotherapists and counselling therapists from the GST/HST
  • $48.1M over six years, starting in 2023-24, and $12.6M ongoing to establish a 15-week shareable EI adoption benefit
  • Amend legislation to ensure workers in federally regulated industries have the job protection they need while receiving the EI adoption benefit 
  • $69.8M over three years, starting in 2023-24, to support four additional weeks of EI regular benefits to eligible seasonal workers
Economic Growth
  • Expand the Clean Technology Investment Tax Credit to include systems that produce electricity or heat from waste biomass in 2024
  • Empower Canada Growth Fund as the entity responsible for issuing carbon contracts for difference, and allocate up to $7B of its current $15B in capital 
  • Exempt the first $10M in capital gains realized on the sale of a business to an Employee Ownership Trust from taxation starting in 2024
  • Advance the development of an Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program 
  • Develop options for making climate disclosures mandatory for private companies and develop a taxonomy that is aligned with reaching net-zero by 2050
  • Review the roles of the Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, and Farm Credit Canada
Financial Sector & Tax Measures
  • Amend federal insolvency laws to exclude public post-secondary educational institutions from proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act
  • Move ahead with legislation to implement Pillar Two global minimum tax in Canada
  • Provide $129M over five years, starting in 2024-25, with $10M per year ongoing to enhance the Canadian journalism labour tax credit, increase the yearly limit on labour costs claimed per eligible employe from $55,000 to $85,000, and temporarily increase the tax credit rate from 25% to 35% for four years
  • Introduce legislative measures to strengthen Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Regime in a number of areas
  • Amend the Criminal Code to prosecute third-party money launderers, adapt the production order for financial data related to digital assets, and modernize provisions related to the search, seizure, and restraint of proceeds of crime
  • Enhance the authorities of the Canada Border Services Agency and create a Trade Transparency Unit to combat trade-based financial crime
  • Advance measures to require disclosures of crypto-asset exposures from federally regulated pension plans


Building up to Budget 2024

The slim Fall Economic Statement serves as an overview of the government’s fiscal position and the state of the Canadian economy. The FES is also a precursor to Budget 2024, which will feature more targeted investments designed to address the cost of living challenges faced by Canadians.


With the economy facing increasing challenges and uncertainty, the spotlight is on affordability. The challenge? Many of the initiatives announced today, such as funding for housing and competition reform, are long-term solutions. Polls suggest the patience of Canadians, like housing, is in short supply. The FES is best read as a statement of intent, with more action to follow in advance of the next federal budget – another critical moment for the governing Liberals.


The government will consider today a win if Canadians view the Liberals with renewed focus on the housing crisis, fostering job creation, and making life more affordable for Canadians.

Québec Considerations

All investments in housing and red tape reduction initiatives intersect with provincial jurisdictions. Québec will undoubtedly remind the Trudeau government of the basic principles of federalism, and seek spending without strings attached. It took six months for the two levels of government to reach the $900 million deal on the Housing Accelerator Fund, but Legault may now be incentivized to come to terms on funding programs more quickly with the feds. With the province facing difficult negotiations with unions and a dip in the CAQ’s popularity, Legault could use a win, provided he is seen as defending Quebec’s unique status.

Confidence in the Agreement?

The NDP’s wish list for the FES has held pronounced importance given their supply and confidence agreement with the governing Liberals. The NDP was steadfast that the FES would need to include affordability measures to address the cost-of-living challenges facing Canadians. 


To the NDP’s credit, they were successful in their push to secure funding for affordable housing and reforms to the Competition Act that address rising grocery prices.


While the NDP can go back to Canadians touting some wins, their most notable ask of the NDP-Liberal agreement is missing – a national pharmacare system. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had speculated that there would not be any major developments as negotiations were still “ongoing.” But with time running out on the legislative calendar, can they still hit this deadline?

Calculations from the Conservative Bench

Pierre Poilievre and his “common sense Conservatives” found themselves without the assurances they’ve long sought from the government. Requests for a balanced budget, cessation of the carbon tax, and the implementation of fresh measures to substantively mitigate rising interest rates and inflation remain unaddressed in the eyes of the Tories. While the government has talked about curtailing spending, measures announced in the FES are unlikely to appease the Opposition, who have had success branding the Liberals as out of touch. Unsurprisingly, the Leader of the Official Opposition was quick to announce they would vote against the FES.

Next Steps

Pre-budget consultations

The Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) accepted written pre-budget submissions between June and August this year and has concluded pre-budget hearings. FINA is expected to deliver a report on its findings before December 12th.

Legislative Agenda

The government generally uses an implementation act to roll out legislative measures in the FES and a ways and means motion to allow for new spending. No such bill or motion has been put on notice as of Tuesday afternoon, but the legislation will be a high priority for the government once introduced.

Budget Letters

Freeland will consider budget letters from cabinet ministers before making final decisions on Budget 2024. The letters generally include ranked priorities from ministers. The need to balance fiscal restraint with social spending and bolster regional strategies to garner support where it is needed will make for some tough decisions.

The Senate

The upper chamber often moves to allow pre-study of high priority government legislation, including budget implementation acts. Once the bill is introduced, we’ll be watching for motions in the Senate to begin a pre-study.

Budget 2024

Today’s fiscal update serves as the prelude to the federal budget, solidifying expectations that it will be centred around responding to cost of living needs and taking back some initiative from the Official Opposition.

Need help navigating?

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How might the FES impact your advocacy?
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Planning your public affairs activities for 2024?
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Wondering about priorities for the next Budget?

Our experts are here to answer all your questions.

Click here to view the complete 2023 Fall Economic Statement.