Economic analysis

Top five things you need to know about the budget

The quick and easy guide to what stands out in Budget 2012

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• It proposes raising the limit on Old Age Security from 65 to 67, but gradually over six years, starting in 2023. Canadians who are eligible for OAS as of July can also opt to defer their OAS cheques for five years and receive higher payments down the road.

• Despite calls for the government to lower mortgage amortization rates from 30 years to 25 to try to cool Canada’s overheated housing market, there was no mention of mortgage reforms in the budget. The government did, however, promise to introduce legislation that would increase oversight of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation “to ensure its commercial activities are managed in a manner that promotes the stability of the financial system,” but provided few details on its planned changes.

• The government had estimated it would slash anywhere from $4-$8 billion in spending, cutting as many as 60,000 jobs. The actual number? $5.2 billion and 12,000 jobs, with the spending cuts coming from Health, International Assistance, National Defence and Public Safety.

• It promises a raft of new spending for research, business investment and natural resource development, including $400 million to encourage venture capitalists to invest in small cutting-edge companies, an extra $110 million a year to the National Research Council to double its Industrial Research Assistance Program, a new fund aimed specifically business investment in Western Canada and a promise to streamline the environmental assessment process for new resource development projects.

• It wages a war on charities that collect foreign donations and fund political causes, making it more difficult for them to channel foreign money into political advocacy. The move is a response to Tides Canada and other environmental groups that have used their charitable status to fight pipeline projects.

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