OTTAWA -- While this year’s federal budget was focused on jobs and infrastructure and getting the books back to balance, some targeted measures were included to appeal to smaller groups, from microbreweries to snowmobilers.
In a nod to the growing popularity of craft beers, the Harper government is pledging to “modernize the compositional standards for beer under the Food and Drug Regulations to reflect innovation in the industry.”
The budget document notes that the specific standards of composition for beer under the regulations don’t account for some “new styles” of craft beer on the market.
The government uses the launch of Rickard’s Cardigan Seasonal Spiced Lager” that was delayed because the ingredient list included nutmeg, calling into question whether the drink could be considered beer.
In addition to beer composition standards, the government says it will “develop a plan to modernize compositional standards for other foods and beverages.”
Following the volunteer firefighter tax credit that was launched three years ago, Budget 2014 introduces a new tax credit for Search and Rescue volunteers.
The budget calls for a 15 per cent non-refundable credit on an amount of $3,000 for ground, air, and marine search-and-rescue volunteers who perform a minimum of 200 hours of service per year.
Canadians who serve as both volunteer firefighters and volunteer search-and-rescue workers will be able to choose from either the firefighter credit or the new credit.
Also on the tax credit front, the adoptive parents will be able to claim more of their adoption-related expenses.
The Adoption Expense Tax Credit maximum will rise to $15,000 from $11,774 per child, and will apply to adoptions finalized after 2013.
The government is promising to create a DNA-based Missing Persons Index to help match DNA from missing persons to samples stored in the National DNA databank.
The program would collect DNA samples from unidentified remains and from the personal effects of missing persons to compare them to DNA samples in the national databank.
The government is allocating $8.1 million over five years for the program. However, it is only slated to begin in 2016-17.
“The Index, once created, would help bring closure to the families of missing persons through DNA matching,” the budget says.
In a nod to rural voters, the federal government is pledging $10 million over two years to improve and expand snowmobile trails across the country.
Just as auto industry stakeholders are voicing concerns that an imminent free trade deal with South Korea will flood the Canadian market with cheap cars, the federal government is announcing an additional $500 million over two years for the Automotive Innovation Fund.
The fund, first introduced in 2008, supports research and development of new technologies by automakers. The funding, the government says, is designed to “attract major investment projects…and secure Canada’s automotive footprint.”
The budget also allocates $1.5 billion, to be spread out over the next decade, for a new Canada First Research Excellence Fund.
The money is to help Canada’s post-secondary institutions fund research in “areas that create long-term economic advantages for Canada,” namely science and technology.
“The Canada First Research Excellence Fund, administered by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council on behalf of all the granting councils, will be available to all post-secondary institutions on a competitive, peer-reviewed basis,” the budget says.