Selfadvocatenet.com Coverage of todays BC Budget 2020

This page is highlight what in budget for people with disabilities.

 

 

highlight’s

Other Programs funding just enough to cover caseload pressures, such as $131 million over three years for income assistance, disability

and other social supports and $121 million for Community Living B.C.

Is the earning exemptions going up 100.00 cost of 20 million over 3 years  to increase the earning exemption for people on income assistance, beginning next January.

Under the changes, a person receiving disability assistance will be able to an extra $3,000 a year for a total of $15,000 without having the money deducted from their assistance payments.

BC Budget 2020 go to the link here

 

 

Here is on BC Govt website news release of budget.

 

Budget 2020 keeps building a stronger B.C. for everyone

Victoria Tuesday, February 18, 2020 1:45 PM

Budget 2020 moves British Columbia forward by building the infrastructure the growing province needs, supporting thousands of new jobs, strengthening investments in health and education and making life more affordable for everyone.

“From new roads, hospitals, housing, schools and child care centres to better, more affordable services in every community, we’re seeing fundamental changes that are making life better for British Columbians,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “Together, we’ve made a lot of progress and we can’t turn back. Budget 2020 keeps our province moving forward by focusing on people.”

Building a stronger B.C.

Budget 2020 makes new commitments to bring capital spending over three years to $22.9 billion – the highest level in B.C.’s history. Work is underway on new and upgraded hospitals and health facilities, highway and transit projects, schools and new housing throughout B.C. that is stimulating more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

“British Columbians are working hard to build a better future for their family, and so are we. By building the infrastructure our growing province needs, we’re making life easier for people and creating good jobs and opportunities in local communities,” James said.

A stronger B.C. means ensuring there are opportunities for everyone. Budget 2020 takes another step forward toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by affirming the historic 25-year revenue-sharing agreement that will see $3 billion of gaming revenues shared with all First Nations.

New opportunities in a sustainable economy

Over the next decade, more than 860,000 jobs will open up throughout British Columbia. More than 75% of all jobs will require some post-secondary education or training.

Budget 2020 creates a new, needs-based BC Access Grant for students to make sure all British Columbians can tap into these opportunities, while growing B.C.’s skilled workforce. This grant will provide up to $4,000 to help with the up-front costs of tuition for more than 40,000 low- and middle-income students.

“B.C.’s future is bright and filled with opportunity. With the new BC Access Grant, we’ll put a college or university education within reach for thousands more British Columbians,” James said. “These grants will make a difference for students, and they’ll help B.C. businesses find the skilled people they need.”

The Province continues to support struggling forestry workers through access to job placement, skills training, equipment loans, grants for hard-hit communities and programs to support early retirement. Budget 2020 adds $13 million for new forestry revitalization efforts, including revving up B.C.’s bio-economy with innovations that convert wood into value-added products like biofuels, bioplastics and textiles.

A clean environment is the foundation of a prosperous and sustainable economy. Budget 2020 accelerates the transition to a cleaner future with an additional $419 million over three years for CleanBC, on top of the approximately $900 million invested in Budget 2019. This funding includes incentives to buy electric vehicles (EV) and build EV charging stations. Additionally, this year’s budget increases support for industries moving toward clean, low-carbon solutions and projects to make B.C.’s schools, universities, colleges and hospitals more energy efficient.

Making life more affordable and improving services

B.C. is one of Canada’s fastest growing economies. But while the economy has grown, life has become too expensive for many families.

The new BC Child Opportunity Benefit, launching in October 2020, will provide 290,000 families with more money to support their kids. Combined with B.C.’s Affordable Child Care Benefit and the Fee Reduction Initiative for licensed child care spaces, families with one child may save up to $20,000. Families with two children could save up to $28,000 each year.

These savings come on the heels of a transformation at ICBC that will reduce fees by an average of 20%, or $400 a year for all drivers, while improving care benefits. It also marks the first full year of the elimination of medical services plan (MSP) premiums — the biggest middle-class tax cut in a generation.

Budget 2020 strengthens the health, education and community services that all British Columbians depend on. The budget delivers an additional $339 million to strengthen B.C.’s K-12 education system — building on recent investments to upgrade schools and hire more than 4,200 new teachers.

An additional $1 billion in Budget 2020 will improve health care in British Columbia. New or upgraded hospitals are on the way for 13 communities, and 12 new urgent and primary care centres are open. Two more are coming.

A balanced plan

Budget 2020 is a balanced plan focused on the priorities of British Columbians.

Budget 2020 creates a new tax bracket for the top 1% of income earners in British Columbia. Nearly half the revenue generated will come from individuals who make more than $1 million annually.

“Today, we’re asking the people at the top, the highest 1% of individual income earners, to pay a little more and help B.C. provide families and communities with better services and stronger infrastructure,” James said.

To help address the growing health costs and impacts of sweetened drinks, B.C. will begin charging provincial sales tax (PST) on sweetened carbonated beverages. This is a step that has been advocated for by health professionals and an all-party committee, as young people between the ages of 14 and 18 are the top consumers of pop.

The Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Green Party caucus continues to provide the basis for a strong, stable government for British Columbia. By working together, progress continues to be made on shared priorities, like climate change, tackling the housing crisis and building a strong, diverse economy.

Quick Facts:

  • The budget is balanced in all three years of the fiscal plan with surpluses of $227 million in 2020-21, $179 million in 2021-22, and $374 million in 2022-23.
  • Last year, B.C.’s economy was among the top of the provincial real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rankings, led the country with the lowest unemployment rate, and was among the leaders in employment growth across Canada.
  • British Columbia is projected to continue to be among the top of the provincial real GDP growth rankings in 2020 and 2021.
  • Between 2001 and 2019, B.C.’s population grew by nearly one million people, with much of the increase concentrated in the Lower Mainland. By 2024, B.C.’s population is expected to grow by approximately 346,000 people and by more than one million people in the next 15 years.

 

 

Four backgrounders follow.

 

 

Fiscal Plan 2020-21 to 2022-23

Making life better

British Columbia is an economic leader in Canada. Private-sector forecasters expect B.C. to remain among the top of the provincial real gross domestic product (GDP) growth rankings in 2020 and 2021. Last year, British Columbia led the country with the lowest unemployment rate and was among the top in employment growth across the country.

Budget 2020 is a balanced plan that allows government to continue making investments that improve affordability and improve the services people count on, while supporting job creation throughout the province.

Resilient economy, stable economic growth

The Budget 2020 forecast reaffirms B.C. as an economic leader in Canada, while recognizing global economic uncertainty.

The forecast for B.C. real GDP growth in 2020 has increased slightly from 1.9% to 2.0%, while the forecast for 2021 has been revised slightly from 2.0% to 1.9%, compared to the First Quarterly Report 2019. The economic growth outlook for the 2022 to 2024 period is on average 2.0%, which is in line with previous expectations.

The main downside risks to the economic outlook include ongoing uncertainty regarding global trade policies, geopolitical tensions, weak global economic activity, as well as lower commodity prices and slower domestic economic growth. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) development in the province is expected to have a positive impact on B.C.’s economy. Fiscal sustainability at ICBC and the impact of global trade uncertainty on natural resource revenues pose risks to the fiscal plan.

To manage these risks, the Budget 2020 forecast for B.C. real GDP growth remains below the outlook provided by the Economic Forecast Council, reflecting one of the levels of prudence built into the fiscal plan.

Other layers of prudence are included in the fiscal plan to help address the possibility of lower than expected revenues, unforeseen expenses or emergencies. Budget 2020 includes an annual forecast allowance of $300 million in each of the three years of the fiscal plan. Budget 2020 also includes a contingencies allocation of $600 million in 2020-21 and $400 million per year in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

Budget outlook

Budget 2020 projects surpluses of:

  • $227 million in 2020-21
  • $179 million in 2021-22
  • $374 million in 2022-23

Revenue outlook

Total government revenue is forecast at $60.6 billion in 2020-21, $62.4 billion in 2021-22 and $64.2 billion in 2022-23.

Expense outlook

Total expenses over the three-year fiscal plan are forecast at $60.1 billion for 2020-21, $61.9 billion for 2021-22 and $63.5 billion in 2022-23.

Capital spending

Taxpayer-supported capital spending over the fiscal plan is a record $22.9 billion and includes new investments to sustain and expand provincial infrastructure, including schools, post-secondary facilities, housing, transit, roads, bridges and hospitals.

Debt affordability

B.C.’s taxpayer-supported debt is projected to be $49.2 billion at the end of fiscal year 2020-21, $53.9 in 2021-22 and $58.6 billion at the end of 2022-23. The taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio, a key metric used by credit rating agencies, is expected to remain near 17% by the end of the fiscal plan period.

New BC Access Grant

To support low- to middle-income post-secondary students when they need it most, Budget 2020 takes the next step in making life more affordable for B.C. students.

Building on the elimination of interest on B.C. student loans, a new needs-based, up-front BC Access Grant will remove barriers to education and provide support for learners to complete their studies.

In time for the 2020 fall semester, more than 40,000 eligible students at public colleges and universities throughout the province will receive immediate support with the up-front costs of their education.

The BC Access Grant complements the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students, ensuring B.C. students receive up to $4,000 a year to help with the cost of programs leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.

  • Eligible students enrolled in a program under two years in length may receive up to $4,000 a year in BC Access Grant support.
  • Eligible students enrolled in a program of more than two years may receive up to $1,000 a year in BC Access Grant support, in addition to up to $3,000 under the Canada Student Grant for Full-Time Students program, totalling up to $4,000 each year.

The grant design reflects best practices and research that needs-based, up-front grants not only improve access to education, but also encourage completion by making life more affordable for students as they begin post-secondary studies at the start of each school year.

The new grant will be created with a new $24-million investment over three years, and by re-designing existing grant programs based on input from B.C. student advocates. This is in addition to approximately $37 million government is reinvesting from grants to ensure students get the help they need when they need it most.

This means that almost double the number of students will receive support.

The BC Access Grant program continues support for labour-market priorities, modernizes student financial aid and is flexible to meet high-demand occupations, such as early childhood educators, health-care assistants and trades workers. This is the first time that provincial grants will be available to part-time students and students in programs of less than two years in a much broader range of programs.

The BC Access Grant program builds on the B.C. government’s work to make life better and more affordable, including historic investments and policy changes in the post-secondary sector:

Opening doors to post-secondary education and training:

  • Launching the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care to access free tuition at all 25 public post-secondary institutions. To date, more than 1,100 former youth in care have benefited.
  • Eliminating interest on B.C. student loans will save a typical student who graduates with about $28,000 in combined B.C. and federal student loans $2,300 in interest charges over a 10-year repayment period.
  • Reducing the cost of education by investing more than $3 million in open textbooks — the Province’s largest investment.
  • Creating B.C.’s first graduate-scholarship fund with a $12 million investment — the largest investment in graduate scholarships in the province’s history.

Supporting safe and state-of-the-art learning environments:

  • Making housing more accessible and affordable for students by investing $450 million to build approximately 5,000 new beds over six years, with 1,975 new beds funded to date.
  • Opening 11 new and improved trades, health-care and engineering training facilities in partnership with the federal government and post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
  • Developing a new, 24/7, free mental-health helpline for students at all public and private post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
  • Investing $750,000 in sexual violence prevention programs at post-secondary institutions.

Investing in the jobs of today and tomorrow:

  • Providing $42 million annually by 2022-23 to add 2,900 tech spaces for a range of technology programming at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
  • Investing approximately $30 million overall to expand co-op and work-integrated learning in each of B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions.
  • Negotiating a new Workforce Development Agreement with the Government of Canada, providing $685 million over six years to train and improve the skills of 67,000 British Columbians.
    • Investments to date include $12.4 million to help more than 2,000 women, youth and other under-represented groups access skilled trades training and $7.5 million for trades training for nearly 500 people in Indigenous communities.
  • Addressing workforce needs in health care and early childhood education by:
    • investing in the first sonography program outside the Lower Mainland, at College of New Caledonia in Prince George, as well as Vancouver Island’s first sonography program at Camosun College;
    • expanding occupational and physical therapy spaces, and creating the first programs in the North;
    • creating the first nursing degree program in the northeast in Fort St. John;
    • adding 314 early childhood education spaces at 12 post-secondary institutions as part of a three-year, $7.4 million investment.
  • Investing in trades training including:
    • $12.4 million to help more than 2,000 women, youth and other under-represented groups access skilled trades training;
    • $7.5 million for trades training for nearly 500 people in Indigenous communities throughout B.C.;
    • $3.5 million to increase the number of apprentice advisors to increase support for both apprentices and employers.

Quick Facts:

  • 77% of all job openings over the next 10 years will require post-secondary education and training: 41% will require a certificate or diploma and 36% will require an undergraduate or master’s degree.
  • Starting in September 2020, eligible students applying for student financial assistance from StudentAid BC will be automatically assessed for the BC Access Grant. Students won’t need to apply separately.
  • Grant funding can be used toward tuition costs, but it can also be used for basic living expenses, such as the cost of rent, groceries or transit.
  • The new BC Access Grant follows best practices, bringing B.C. in line with other Canadian jurisdictions that provide up-front, needs-based grants.
  • The BC Access Grant supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Green Party caucus to improve access and reduce the cost of post-secondary education for students.

B.C.’s largest-ever infrastructure plan

With B.C.’s population set to grow by more than one million people in the next 15 years, delivering the infrastructure and services that people need is key to maintaining a strong economic foundation and improving everyone’s quality of life.

Budget 2020 makes new capital commitments by bringing taxpayer-supported capital spending over three years to $22.9 billion – the highest level in B.C.’s history.

Work that is underway on new and upgraded hospitals and health facilities, highway and transit projects, schools and new housing throughout B.C. is stimulating more than 100,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

As a growing province, these investments will help meet the increased demands for services and keep B.C. on the path to a sustainable future.

Investments over the three-year fiscal plan period include:

  • Health: $6.4 billion to support new construction projects and upgrading of health facilities, medical and diagnostic equipment, and information management systems. Major projects include redevelopment of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, new patient care towers at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and the Penticton Regional Hospital, replacing Mills Memorial Hospital in Terrace and building a new St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.
  • Transportation: $7.4 billion for priority projects, including the Pattullo Bridge replacement, the Broadway Subway, four-laning on Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon and improvements to highway corridors in Delta, Langley and along the southern coast of Vancouver Island.
  • Education: $2.8 billion to maintain, replace, renovate or expand K-12 facilities in North Vancouver, Sooke School District, Quesnel, Coquitlam, the Greater Victoria School District, Vancouver, Abbotsford and an addition to Valleyview Secondary in Kamloops. Many of these new and upgraded schools will also include neighbourhood learning centres and child care spaces.
  • Post-secondary education: $3.1 billion to build capacity and help meet the province’s future workforce needs in key sectors, including health, science, trades and technology. Projects include a new health science building for students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby; new equipment to expand the CEDAR supercomputer at Burnaby’s Simon Fraser University; and specialized equipment at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, Vancouver General Hospital and BC Cancer Research Centre to support the development of personalized treatments for prostate, bladder and kidney cancers. Additionally, the provincial student housing loan program will see approximately 5,000 new student housing beds built around B.C., from Terrace to Cranbrook, and Prince George to Victoria.
  • Housing: As part of government’s 10-year plan to work in partnership to create more affordable housing for British Columbians, more than $1 billion over three years will support the construction of new low- and middle-income housing throughout B.C. This includes more housing for seniors, Indigenous peoples and families. Budget 2020 also provides an additional $56 million for 200 new units of supportive modular housing for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Building the foundations of reconciliation

From the day this government was sworn in, it has made Indigenous rights and reconciliation a priority – not for one ministry, but across the whole of government. On the day each minister was given their individual ministerial responsibilities, they were also given a mandate letter. This letter directed them to seek true, lasting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, and to support the work of adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the UN Declaration).

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

In fall 2019, the legislature unanimously passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (the Declaration Act), developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council, which includes the B.C. Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

The Declaration Act requires government, in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, to take all measures necessary to bring provincial laws into alignment with the UN Declaration. It also mandates government to create an action plan with Indigenous peoples on achieving the objectives of the UN Declaration, along with annual reporting on progress.

Government is committed to engaging with Indigenous peoples, Nations, organizations and leadership about next steps. This engagement will guide government as it begins to move forward toward full implementation of the Declaration Act.

Ongoing work to support reconciliation

The whole of government has been engaged for the past two and a half years in taking steps to work with Indigenous peoples to support healthy and thriving communities.

Government moved quickly to change policies and address gaps long identified as a high priority by Indigenous peoples, including work to address the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Declaration Act builds on the foundation of this work and demonstrates government’s commitment to true and lasting reconciliation, and willingness to work quickly to meet the priority needs of Indigenous peoples.

The following items are a selection of just some of the important work government has been doing over the last two years in anticipation of the Declaration Act.

Fixing the child protection system

No one wants to see a child harmed. And no one wants to see a child unnecessarily taken from their family. Because of the significant cultural harms caused by taking Indigenous children away from their families and communities, the Province has been working quickly to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in the care of the Province.

To keep children with their families and in their communities, government boosted support payments to extended family members to match the supports given to all foster parents. Because more Indigenous children are being supported from within their families and communities, B.C. now has the lowest number of children and youth in care in 30 years, and the lowest number of Indigenous children in care since 2014. Still, this government knows much more needs to be done.

One key way government is working to keep Indigenous children out of care is by ending the practice of issuing “birth alerts,” which saw children taken from their parents without consent by service providers who had child protection concerns.

Instead of taking children away because families need help, this new, collaborative approach involves service providers working closely with parents to identify and provide the supports they need to give their children a healthy start.

The continuing overrepresentation of Indigenous children and youth in B.C.’s care system makes supports for children and youth aging out of government care particularly important. That is why government expanded the tuition waiver for former children and youth in care to all public post-secondary institutions as one of its first actions. It has since expanded the program to invest in a number of trades training programs, and to increase and improve the financial supports former youth in care receive so that they can focus on their studies. Budget 2020 continues to build on this initiative by making these important financial supports available to more youth who qualify for the tuition waiver.

The Province acknowledges and honours the more than 1,100 former youth in care now getting a post-secondary education or trades training, tuition free, and getting started on the path to a bright future.

Supporting Indigenous health and healing

Supporting the health and healing of Indigenous peoples is critical to the well-being of Indigenous families.

In partnership with the First Nations Health Authority, government has invested $40 million to build two new urban Indigenous treatment centres and rebuild or renovate six more in rural communities. It has also helped fund the Kilala Lelum Urban Indigenous Health and Healing Cooperative in Vancouver – a first of its kind in B.C., led by Indigenous Elders using both Indigenous and western medicine and healing practices.

Recognizing that Indigenous peoples have been disproportionately harmed by the overdose crisis, government partnered with the First Nations Health Authority, Métis Nation British Columbia and friendship centres on a three-year investment of $20 million to support First Nations communities and Indigenous peoples in addressing this crisis. Fifty-five grants have been provided under this program.

Making K-12 education more accessible and reflective of Indigenous experiences

For too long, too many Indigenous children and youth have been left behind by an education system that did not include Indigenous teachings and perspectives or reflect the lived realities of Indigenous peoples.

To help reverse this trend, government worked with the First Nations Educations Steering Committee and the First Nations Schools Association to deliver a collaborative tripartite agreement that ensures an equitable education for First Nations students, no matter where they live.

This $100-million, five-year agreement supports First Nations students in B.C. who attend on-reserve First Nations schools or off-reserve public or independent schools.

Thanks to the hard work of Indigenous students, new investments and a new curriculum that better reflects Indigenous knowledge, perspectives and experiences, Indigenous students in B.C. are completing secondary school at the highest rate in history, with almost 70% completing secondary school last year. Still, the goal is to see every student in B.C. succeed, so there is much more work to be done.

To reach that goal, government is continuing to work to improve education for Indigenous students by funding new Indigenous teacher education training spaces, two new Indigenous master of education cohorts and public-teacher education programs so teachers in schools are better equipped to support Indigenous learners. Government has also taken steps to better support Indigenous students in B.C. by bringing in a new professional standard that requires teachers to commit to truth, reconciliation and healing.

B.C. has also funded the creation of 17 First Nations language curriculums, with more in development, and is also committed to moving to full-course offerings in Indigenous languages. There are more Indigenous languages spoken in British Columbia than in any other province in the country. Government has a responsibility to do its part to support their survival and revival.

As part of addressing the vulnerability factors that can lead to Indigenous children struggling in the school system, government is investing $30 million over three years to expand the Head Start program in more than 30 communities across the province. Head Start offers culturally specific early-learning, child care and parenting programs, with services available at no cost to families.

These investments, in addition to new funding in Budget 2020 for vulnerable learners, will help more Indigenous students graduate with their peers.

Opening doors to opportunity

Indigenous students need to see a path forward for them at B.C.’s post-secondary institutions and a way to succeed in the workforce.

To better reflect the needs of Indigenous students, government is co-developing a new Indigenous post-secondary education and training strategy and Indigenous skills training programming with the First Nations Education Steering Committee, Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association, Métis Nation British Columbia, the British Columbia Aboriginal Training Employment Alliance and other Indigenous post-secondary partners.

As part of helping Indigenous peoples access good-paying jobs, government is also delivering more than $24 million a year in job-training funding in Indigenous communities through the Aboriginal Community-Based Training Partnerships Program, the Community Workforce Response Grant and Indigenous Skills Training Development Fund.

The Community Benefits Agreement is being used to keep jobs in local communities, and government investments are being used as an opportunity to provide apprenticeships, skills training and employment opportunities on a priority basis for Indigenous peoples and others who have been shut out from opportunity.

Representation matters. That is why government has made sure there is Indigenous representation on every board of directors of public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.

In line with Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, government funded the creation of Canada’s first Indigenous law program at the University of Victoria, which is now providing intensive study of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous law, allowing people to work fluently across both realms. Government is also funding the pilot for a new Indigenous language fluency degree.

Supporting revitalization of Indigenous languages

For too long, language revitalization was neglected and all Indigenous languages in B.C. are endangered. Many of the challenges communities face around language and culture are systemic and founded on colonial practices aimed at eradication of Indigenous culture, including the residential school system. By investing in Indigenous languages and culture, the Province is starting to address those systemic social challenges at the community level, connecting peoples to their communities, land and cultures.

Fifty million dollars in provincial funding through the Indigenous-led First Peoples’ Cultural Council is helping communities and peoples to reclaim connections to their language and culture. With this funding, the council has more than doubled the number of community language grants to support language revitalization, with more than $16 million in grants distributed to First Nations since 2018.

The council is now supporting more than 30 language nests, which create cultural immersion environments for preschool-age children and their parents to become fluent in First Nations languages, as well as more than 100 mentor-apprentice teams. They are also significantly increasing the number of dialects archived on FirstVoices.com.

While the continued work of the First Peoples’ Cultural Council supports a foundation for the future, there is also still much to do together to support communities in their work to restore their languages, which are vital to nationhood and sovereignty.

Working together to address the housing crisis

Indigenous Nations and organizations are important partners with government in addressing the housing crisis.

Through the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, government is investing $550 million over 10 years to build 1,750 homes for Indigenous peoples, both on- and off-reserve.

With this fund, B.C. became the first and only provincial government to fund on-reserve housing. Nearly 1,200 new affordable homes are underway through this program.

Additionally, each and every one of the Building BC housing fund streams welcomes applications from Indigenous partners.

The provincial government is working with Indigenous communities, friendship centres and other Indigenous-led organizations to build the homes people need in communities in every part of the province.

Protecting the things that matter

Resource development is a vital part of the provincial economy. Resource jobs sustain families and communities. But resource development must be sustainable and pursued without jeopardizing the clean air, clean water and healthy land that people depend on.

Under the UN Declaration, Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands, territories and resources.

As part of respecting this right, government worked closely with Indigenous leaders to find a way forward on the issue of salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago. Using a consensus-based process, the Province and the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla Nations worked together to deliver recommendations to the federal and provincial governments on the future of salmon farms in the region.

Through this process, which included industry, all parties were able to come together around a just transition plan for fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago. This process also resulted in changes to Land Act policy, so that in the future salmon-farm tenures will only be granted where there is an agreement in place with local First Nations within their traditional territories.

The Environmental Assessment Act plays an important role in involving Indigenous Nations in land-use decisions. Recognizing that this legislation is critical to reconciliation, government worked closely with Indigenous Nations to develop a new Environmental Assessment Act, which was passed in November 2018 and came into force in December 2019.

The new act increases avenues for Indigenous and public participation in the assessment process, involves all participants earlier and aims to identify issues of concern at the outset, improving outcomes and reducing conflict. Further, it requires the minister to consider participating Indigenous Nations’ consent to the project before a decision is issued.

Supporting self-governance

The right to self-government, autonomy and self-determination requires that Indigenous Nations have stable, predictable sources of revenue to invest in critical things for every government, like infrastructure, services that build healthy communities and the staff to get it done.

In November 2018, government announced that B.C. First Nations will share in provincial gaming revenue, with a 25-year commitment that will see about $3 billion in new revenues – transferred from one level of government to another – to support First Nations’ priorities for social services, education, infrastructure, cultural revitalization and self-government.

Through the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Limited Partnership, $100 million per year is going to all First Nations communities in B.C. to pursue their own priorities and serve the needs of their communities. First Nations are using the revenues to make a real difference in communities. Examples include a community youth centre, a forest-fuel management program to protect homes from wildfires and language programs that build connection to culture.

Friendship centres provide important connections to Indigenous peoples in urban communities throughout the province. Recognizing the important role these community hubs play for urban Indigenous peoples, government tripled the financial support for friendship centres. More importantly, this represents, for the first time ever, stable core funding so that they can focus on their important work.

Justice for Indigenous peoples

Too many Indigenous peoples have had their lives irrevocably changed for the worse by a justice system that has been unresponsive to their needs and culturally unsafe. Meaningful, transformative changes to the justice system are needed to advance reconciliation.

To create these changes, government endorsed an agreement with the B.C. Aboriginal Justice Council, now the B.C. First Nations Justice Council, which identified seven priorities for transforming the justice system and committed partners to developing an Indigenous justice strategy.

To support this work, the BC Prosecution Service has been providing mandatory education and training for justice system staff, updating policy and practice, and engaging directly with First Nations to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous persons as victims, accused and offenders in the criminal justice system, and to make court services more culturally safe for Indigenous peoples.

Multiple new policies have been introduced through the BC Prosecution Service to reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in the justice system, including new charge assessment guidelines, a new bail provision that directs prosecutors to exercise restraint in all bail matters, especially where the accused is Indigenous, and new guidelines for probation conditions that direct prosecutors to consider systemic factors that affect Indigenous peoples when addressing probation violations. Additional policy changes are under development to further support the goal of making the justice system more fair and equitable.

Recognizing that the adversarial approach often taken by the court system is not in line with Indigenous justice practices, government has also been expanding access to specialized Indigenous courts. Two additional Indigenous courts have opened since fall 2017, with the next one in Williams Lake set to open in early 2020.

Connecting Indigenous communities

Connections are important to communities. Articles 20, 21 and 24 of the UN Declaration require governments to support Indigenous peoples in gaining meaningful access to the internet to support economic activities, health care and social services.

In December 2019, government launched a new intake of the Connecting British Columbia program, offering an additional $50 million to help rural, remote and Indigenous communities expand broadband infrastructure.

Work is already underway or completed under this program to offer high-speed internet access to 83 Indigenous communities in British Columbia.

Physical connectivity is as important as digital connectivity, which is why the Province is working with the federal government to maintain BC Bus North services. Government is also offering driver training to people in Indigenous communities, recognizing that the ability to get around is critical, especially for Indigenous peoples living in rural and remote communities.

Budget Speech what Minister of Finance Carol James said today

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that we are on the traditional territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and I want to give a warm welcome to everyone here today.A budget is built with the work and input of many — thanks to all the staff in the Ministry of Finance and my office for their extraordinary efforts.Thank you to everyone who wrote and took part in the Select Standing Committee on Finance’s budget consultations and thank you to the many people who have shared their ideas and hopes for the future of our province.Working together will help us build a stronger B.C. for everyone.That’s what Budget 2020 is all about.It’s about the fundamental changes our government has been making for the people of British Columbia.It’s about continuing to fix the problems facing families today.And it’s about delivering the results that keep us moving forward together.The changes we have made are all about making lives better today and creating opportunities that last a lifetime — opportunities to put down roots, contribute to your community, and have a job that provides a good quality of life.These are the things that drive us — and my family is no exception.In the 1950s, my grandparents left England and moved to Saskatchewan with my mum. Like so many others who immigrated to Canada, they left the only home they had ever known in search of a better life for their family.Times were tough, money was tight. My grandmother soon found a job at the local hospital. Together, she and my grandfather worked day in and day out to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads.For my grandparents, family was never just immediate family — it was anyone in our community who needed a hand up. Over the years, our family grew to include dozens of foster kids.Growing up alongside children of all ages and abilities showed me that while everyone has something to contribute to this world, not everyone is given the opportunity they need to make their mark.

While my grandmother possessed a quiet, solid strength, my mother is the trail-blazer and fierce community advocate.

As a young single parent with two children, my mum enrolled in teacher’s college, about two hours away from our family home in Saskatchewan. During the week, my grandparents would take care of me and my sister, while my mum put herself through school.

Looking back, I can see the barriers she faced as a single parent to two young girls living in a small prairie town. I also recognize that access to education creates opportunities that span generations — it has the power to change a family forever.

Had the door to opportunity remained closed for my mother, I have no doubt that my life would have looked very different.

These personal experiences also reflect what I have heard from so many British Columbians. People want to do for themselves; sometimes they just need a door to open for that to happen.

As Finance Minister, it’s my job to make sure that the benefits of B.C.’s strong economy are felt by everyone, not just the few at the top.

After nearly three years of choices that put people first, we’re starting to see the results. From new roads, hospitals, schools, and housing, to new services and job opportunities… life in B.C. is getting better every day.

And our economy is stronger because we are putting B.C. on a path to a cleaner, better future.

This is my third full budget as Finance Minister.

As with previous years, our government continues to work from a balanced budget. Our fiscal strategy lays out a solid plan with layers of planning and foresight.

B.C. remains an economic leader in Canada. We are the only province with triple-A credit ratings from the three major international rating agencies.

We have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and zero operating debt.

Our fiscal foundation remains strong, as does our commitment to:

  • making life more affordable;
  • delivering the services British Columbians depend on; and
  • building a sustainable economy with opportunities for everyone.

We know that delivering on these priorities means strong climate action, meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and a commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Supported by the Confidence and Supply Agreement with the BC Green Party caucus, government is advancing these priorities.

Moving forward, together

Together, we have made a lot of progress and, today, I am presenting our plan to keep B.C. moving forward.

Budget 2020 breaks down barriers to opportunity for you, your children and your neighbours.

Budget 2020 delivers access to a good education, quality health care and vital community supports.

And Budget 2020 supports British Columbians who are working hard to get ahead by making life more affordable.

We are not here to deliver the largest surplus possible, at all costs.

The point of a budget is to plan ahead, to set priorities and to make responsible decisions that are good for people over the long term.

That is what we have done for the last two and a half years, and we can’t afford to turn back.

Choosing a different path

There was a bright future in British Columbia, but only for the few who could afford it.

I am proud to say that, as a province, we are now on a different path. We are making different choices. And Budget 2020 backs up our choices with action.

Mr. Speaker, the days of cashing in on a hot real estate market at the expense of hardworking British Columbians are done.

Instead of turning a blind eye to money laundering and the housing crisis, we’re acting so that everyone can afford a future in British Columbia.

Money laundering in our economy must end. Our goal is to ensure balance — and it is not balanced to have an economy distorted by dirty money.

Budget 2020 delivers on our commitment to conduct a public inquiry and get people the answers they deserve.

Mr. Speaker, the old practice of hoarding surplus at the expense of people is over. Instead, we are choosing a balanced fiscal approach, one that maintains a reasonable surplus while investing in people.

Because we understand that when the door to opportunity closes one too many times, people can lose hope. A little support can be life changing.

Building on our government’s poverty reduction plan, Budget 2020 increases earnings exemptions for people receiving income and disability assistance.

This gives people a chance to increase their household income, remain connected to the workforce, and build up the kind of valuable work experience that can lead to a good-paying job.

And after years of cuts that hurt people most in need, Budget 2020 provides new funding for children in care and adults with diverse abilities.

A commitment to ongoing funding for the cultural connections program will provide more support for Indigenous children to stay connected with their communities and families.

Mr. Speaker, in partnership with Indigenous peoples, we are choosing a more stable and prosperous path for everyone.

We got right to work with new money for language revitalization, a historic revenue-sharing agreement, and changes to the child welfare system that will keep more Indigenous children in their communities.

Aboriginal friendship centres now have long-term, stable funding. And we stepped up as the first province to fund on-reserve housing in Canada.

I am proud to say that the human rights of Indigenous peoples are now enshrined in law as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

I recognize the road ahead is not without its challenges. But if we invite the conversation and work from a place of respect, we will build a better future together.

And to achieve that future, Mr. Speaker, our government is not waiting to take action on complex problems that defy simple solutions.

Our government has taken significant steps to help address sustainability at ICBC and affordability for British Columbians.

While the old government ignored the problems with auto insurance, we are transforming ICBC to make it work for you.

Instead of pushing problems down the road, we are standing up for the best interests of British Columbians.

I want to recognize that, right now, the people who depend on B.C.’s forest industry are hurting. A thriving forest sector has provided good, stable jobs for many families going back generations.

However, over the last number of years, the mountain pine beetle infestation, wildfires and the softwood lumber dispute have reduced timber supply and triggered a wave of mills to close their doors or scale back shifts.

These changes didn’t happen overnight, but that doesn’t lessen the hardship that forest workers and their families are facing right now.

We won’t turn our backs on the people who have helped power our province for so long.

Our government’s top priority is to provide the help that people need to get on with their lives, to support their families, and to plan for a good future in our province.

Workers are now getting job placement and skills training, equipment loans for coastal logging contractors, grants for hard-hit communities, and programs to support early retirement.

Investments in public infrastructure are building a better British Columbia, and wherever possible, B.C. engineered wood will serve as the foundation.

These are important steps. But a healthy and sustainable forest industry depends on bringing together industry, First Nations, unions and government to find solutions.

Budget 2020 takes another step forward with new funding to begin developing opportunities for B.C.’s bio-economy and revitalization within the forest sector.

We will keep working hard to make sure that forest workers, contractors, and communities get the support they deserve.

Because we are all in this together. And only when we work together, will we succeed in the kind of fundamental change that provides relief from the problems facing people now and inspires hope for a better future.A future where your opportunities are not defined by your age, income bracket or home address. Instead, our plan creates a lifetime of opportunity for everyone in British Columbia.For my family — as it does for so many others — it all started with a good education.Going back to school and building up her career meant that my mother was able to put away a little money each month and build a better future for herself and our family.Growing up, we didn’t always have a lot, but we had enough for both me and my sister to know that nothing was out of reach.As Finance Minister, I am unwavering in my commitment to delivering the opportunities that our children and grandchildren deserve.But for too long, families were left to struggle as their monthly bills kept going up, while the health, education, and community supports they counted on were slashed.In a prosperous province like British Columbia, we can and must do better.And we are.Launching this fall, the new BC Child Opportunity Benefit will help lift up thousands of kids and give them the opportunities they deserve, now and down the road.Families with one child will be eligible to receive up to $1,600 annually. For two children, that goes up to $2,600, and it’s up to $3,400 for three kids. People can bank on this tax-free support up until their child’s eighteenth birthday.On top of the new benefit, this will be the first full year that people won’t have to pay the unfair MSP premium.Together, these two measures could save families thousands of dollars that they can put towards what really matters: setting up the next generation for success.For many, that starts with access to affordable, high-quality child care.

Child care for all is closer than ever to becoming a reality in our province. Thousands of new licensed child care spaces are opening, and some parents are saving nearly $20,000 annually.

Budget 2020 builds on the progress with total investments reaching $2 billion over three years for child care in British Columbia.

Child care is critical to achieving equality in the workplace, helping to close the gender pay gap, and giving more parents — particularly women — the opportunity to take their careers to the next level.

We are also investing in B.C.’s early childhood educators — again, almost entirely women — with more bursaries and increased wages.

Additionally, B.C.’s minimum wage will rise to more than $15 per hour by 2021. For the almost 140,000 people who currently earn minimum wage, more than half of which are women, this will provide a much-needed boost.

We’ve also invested over $12 million to provide more opportunities for women to become today’s electricians, carpenters and heavy-duty mechanics, while opening the door for the next generation of girls.

Mr. Speaker, our government is putting children and families first. Child care for all is a fundamental change that will redefine an entirely new generation of children and their parents.

Not only does quality child care give parents peace of mind, it can help provide kids with the solid start they need for a smooth transition to school.

Record investments in education mean that B.C. kids are learning in some of the smallest class sizes in a decade with more supports available for children of all ages and abilities.

New schools are opening in some of our fastest growing communities, from Surrey to Fort St. John, and Chilliwack to Langley, to inspire hope, curiosity and confidence in young learners.

As Finance Minister, but also as a mother and grandmother, I know the success of our province depends on giving our kids the best possible start in life.

Inside the classroom, we are supporting students with more than 4,200 teachers, including 700 new special education teachers, and nearly 200 new teacher-psychologists and counsellors.

I am proud to say that Budget 2020 includes new funding of $339 million over the next three years to continue improving B.C. schools and setting students up for success.

Together, these investments add to the work already underway to strengthen our K-12 system, build better and safer schools, and prepare students for life after graduation.

Mr. Speaker, we are making sure that our young people have the skills and training to excel in the economy of tomorrow.

In the next 10 years, there will be more than 800,000 job openings in health care, early childhood education, skilled trades, tech and much more.

There are good things happening in our province, and we want everyone to be a part of it.

That is why our government has focused on breaking down barriers and creating pathways to opportunities.

Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning are now free.

Twelve hundred former youth in care are now attending college, university and trade schools for free.

B.C. student loans are now interest free.

And we’re partnering with post-secondary institutions to build thousands more student housing beds.

Because we want our young people to focus on gaining the skills, knowledge and experience they need to provide for themselves and help power B.C.’s economy.

From my own experience, I saw how being able to go to school and build up my mum’s career changed her and my family. As a single parent, it put her on the pathway to economic independence and opened doors for me and my sister.

At the same time, being able to rely on the support of family helped my mum overcome the obstacles that may otherwise have kept her out of school. She was able to seize the opportunity and build a better life for herself and our family.

These are the kinds of opportunities that every person — and every family — deserve. And as Finance Minister, this is exactly what I intend to deliver.

As part of Budget 2020, I am proud to announce the new BC Access Grant for post-secondary students.

Starting in September 2020, the new BC Access Grant will provide upfront funding to more than 40,000 students who may otherwise struggle to pay for post-secondary education.

Between the new access grant and the Canada Student Grant, students can receive up to $4,000 a year to help them with the cost of tuition.

And — for the first time — provincial grants will be available to part-time students and students enrolled in programs of less than two years.

This will help people land good-paying jobs in high-demand fields like early childhood education, health care and the skilled trades.

This grant is about investing in our shared future… A future where B.C.’s workforce is flexible, innovative and ready to thrive in a world shaped by advancing technology, global trade and climate action.

And, I believe B.C. will rise to that challenge thanks to the passion and talents of the people who call our province home.

Building up a skilled workforce is one part of the equation. But we also need to build affordable housing to keep people in the neighbourhoods where they live, work and learn.

Sweeping change is on the way thanks to the largest investment in affordable housing in B.C.’s history — $7 billion over 10 years to deliver 114,000 homes. In just two and a half years, almost 23,000 new homes are underway or complete throughout the province.

We started where the impact was most immediate. More than 2,000 people who were homeless now have stable housing and access to 24/7 support. And another 800 supportive homes are on the way.

This year’s budget provides additional funding for more emergency shelter spaces, supportive homes and navigation centres to provide wraparound supports for people in need.

Overall, government is delivering more than $4 billion over three years to help bring affordable housing within reach for people of all ages and income levels.

We have a long way to go and we will get there in partnership with all levels of government, Indigenous peoples, not for profits and the private sector.

Mr. Speaker, our government is delivering the homes British Columbians need, along with the infrastructure and services that people count on, from our kids to our parents and grandparents.

We know there is nothing more important than being able to access high-quality health care when you or your loved one needs it the most. As B.C.’s population grows and ages, we need to make sure we are ready to meet the demand.

And Budget 2020 delivers. We are providing an additional $1 billion over three years for British Columbia’s health-care system.

This new funding will help bring down surgical wait times and address the growing demand for services.

Budget 2020 delivers better care for you and your family by building on the steps we have already taken to transform B.C.’s health care system.

New or upgraded hospitals are coming to Fort St. James, Surrey, Williams Lake, Burnaby, Quesnel, Vancouver, Trail, Richmond, Nanaimo, North Vancouver, Dawson Creek, the Cowichan Valley and Terrace.

New urgent and primary care centres are now open in Kamloops, Quesnel, Langford, Surrey, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Prince George, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Kelowna, Vernon, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. And another two centres are opening soon in Victoria and East Vancouver.

After years of cuts, investments in long-term care and respite services are giving seniors and their caregivers a well-deserved boost.

No one should be forced to decide between buying groceries or prescription medicine. This year marks the first anniversary of eliminating or reducing Fair Pharmacare deductibles for 240,000 families.

And soon, every post-secondary student will have access to 24/7 mental-health support services. This builds on a province-wide expansion of Foundry Centres to provide youth and families with a “one stop shop” for mental-health and substance-use supports.

Because it’s crucial to reach out to people early, before challenges escalate.

We know there’s more to do, especially when it comes to keeping our young people healthy.

As part of Budget 2020, B.C. will begin charging PST on sweetened carbonated drinks to help address the health and economic costs of these beverages.

Research shows that teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are the top consumers of pop. This is a step that health professionals and an all-party committee have long supported.

Because this is about keeping young people healthy while taking in a bit of revenue to continue to pay for enhanced health care services for everyone.

An economy that works for people

We know that people work hard to build a good life for themselves and their family. And in turn, people deserve an economy that works hard for them…

By delivering good, stable jobs in all corners of the province.

By building a connected and resilient network of communities.

And by recognizing that a prosperous future means a clean future.

To do that, we need an economy that works for people. When people thrive, our economy thrives.

As Finance Minister, I often speak about the importance of building a diverse, sustainable and resilient economy. But what does that mean?

I think about my own story. My grandparents were both able to find good jobs that allowed them to provide for our family. My mum was able to go back to school and build up her career because my grandparents were willing and able to look after me and my sister.

To me, this gets at the heart of what resilience looks like, for families and communities. It doesn’t come down to our own individual strength, but rather the strength of the community we build around us.

And this comes back to the core value guiding our government. It does not come down to a choice between investing in a strong economy, a clean environment, or in the people that call this province home.

Investing in people, communities, and a clean future is fundamental to building a strong and sustainable economy.

This is a significant departure from what people experienced throughout much of the past decade. While British Columbia’s economy remained strong, many people and communities fell further behind.

Now, together, we are building a better future grounded by an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.

As part of Budget 2020 and our government’s ongoing work to improve the services and infrastructure that we all depend on, a new tax bracket is being introduced for the top 1% of income earners in our province.

Nearly half the revenue will come from people making more than $1 million annually.

This will help to deliver the infrastructure and services that create good jobs and keep B.C.’s economy moving, while maintaining B.C.’s tax system as one of the most competitive in the country.

As I’ve said before, we continue to do our part and look carefully at spending across government. This is simply part of ongoing responsible budget management.

No matter where you call home — whether it’s our province’s north, south, east or west — our plan creates opportunities for you.

I know that as proud British Columbians, there is more that unites us than divides us.

We all want life to be more affordable. We all want a quality education for our kids. We all want access to health care when we need it. And we all want to feel the benefits that come with a strong provincial economy.

These are the priorities that have shaped our province’s historic capital plan. The scale of change is staggering: $18 billion worth of work is happening in all corners of the province.

By building the schools, roads, hospitals, housing, post-secondary facilities and more that our growing province needs, our plan is supporting 100,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

Together, we are building our way to a better quality of life — no matter where you live.

For our urban centres, parents taking their kids to soccer practice will be able to hop on the Broadway Subway. Or, an electrician travelling from her home in Surrey to a job in New West will get where she needs to go because of the new Pattullo Bridge.

Metro Vancouver is already home to one of the top transit systems in the world. Our government is committed to building on the momentum, creating transit-oriented housing, good jobs and a path towards a cleaner future.

Looking to our rural communities, Highway 1 upgrades between Kamloops and Alberta will improve travel for locals, visitors and commercial drivers. And east of Golden, we are on the final phase of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project.

Investments in BC Transit are shortening daily commutes for people, while the BC North Bus connects our northern residents to jobs and services, along with family and friends.

After years of cuts to ferry service, our government is prioritizing coastal communities. Sailings have been added, fares have been frozen on major routes, and the seniors discount is back in effect.

But infrastructure is about more than ferries, roads, bridges and transit — it is also about the flow of ideas, knowledge and opportunity.

We are close to bringing our 500th connected community online. This means a digital world of opportunity is now open to people in Deka Lake, Clinton, Tofino, and Haida Gwaii.

British Columbia is growing, and we need to ramp up infrastructure investments — digital and otherwise — to keep goods, services, and people moving and B.C. businesses thriving.

As government, we are working closely with the Business Council of British Columbia and the BC Chamber of Commerce to foster a competitive environment. And I want to say thank you to the many businesses and entrepreneurs who have chosen to set up shop in B.C.

We know that our economy must provide opportunities for businesses to succeed — and they are.

Named as one of 2019’s top global cleantech companies, Semios gives B.C. farmers real-time data on their crops.

This kind of innovation feeds into the work of our government’s Food Security Task Force, which aims to unlock the potential for agri-tech in B.C, create more jobs and reduce waste.

And we are making good progress. Thanks to the hard-working people who make up B.C.’s agriculture sector, 2018 was a record year for revenue. Another boost will come from new regional food hubs in Surrey, Port Alberni, Quesnel and Vancouver.

Mining, another one of B.C.’s key industries, is joining forces with clean-tech to give local companies a global advantage.

As one example, Saltworks has created a new energy efficient technology that turns contaminated water from resource extraction into clean, fresh water.

In the rapidly expanding field of biotech, homegrown talent like STEMCELL Technologies is on track to create hundreds of new jobs in Burnaby.

And as work scales up on LNG Canada’s $40 billion project, our province will benefit from an estimated 10,000 construction jobs and 950 permanent jobs.

This new industry will create a legacy of skills and economic opportunity to sustain people and communities from the northeast to the north coast.

It’s clear that good things are happening in B.C.

In 2019, more than 45,000 jobs were added in the private sector, along with continued wage growth.

In partnership with the BC Green Party caucus, the Emerging Economy Task Force will help keep B.C. at the cutting edge of clean tech, artificial intelligence and quantum computing.

As I’ve said before, we cannot have a strong economy without creating more opportunities for B.C.’s rural regions to prosper.

Tourism has become a major province-wide employer and an economic driver for many small and rural communities. Growing the tourism industry can help boost local businesses and provide life-long careers for people right around our province.

New and upgraded infrastructure delivered through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program is also helping to build healthy and resilient communities.

We’re working with the federal government, local governments and First Nations to deliver projects that support local growth, a green economy and inclusive communities. Projects are underway throughout the province — with more on the way this year.

Our government knows that for many communities paying for the infrastructure that people and businesses need can be tough, or almost impossible on their own.

That is why we are investing in rural communities in a way that works for them.

Soon, people in Williams Lake will be able to connect at a new community centre.

For Osoyoos and Prince Rupert, this new funding will resolve longstanding problems with the quality of their drinking water.

Investing in greener infrastructure is part of our government’s plan to grow the economy, while protecting the clean water, land and air that we — as British Columbians — all cherish.

Harnessing the power of a greener future to help grow our economy is at the heart of CleanBC, our government’s commitment to climate action.

As part of last year’s budget, we backed our plan with approximately $900 million over three years.

Budget 2020 builds on CleanBC with an additional $419 million over the fiscal plan. This will go towards making our schools, universities, colleges and hospitals more energy efficient, along with increased support to help industries move towards clean, low-carbon solutions.

This year’s budget maintains increases to the Climate Action Tax Credit for families and adds $20 million to the Province’s program to make purchasing a zero-emission vehicle more affordable.

I’m proud to say that we have almost hit our 2025 electric vehicle target — four years ahead of schedule. This new funding will help accelerate the clean energy transition.

Our economy remains resilient, but every year we must plan for and adapt to a changing climate. Recent years have seen wildfires rage across our province and natural disasters devastate people, homes, communities, business and industry.

In response, the Province is boosting total funding to $519 million over the fiscal plan to help B.C. prepare for, respond to and recover from wildfires, floods and other emergencies.

Because we are stronger when we work together.

In partnership with Indigenous peoples, we are choosing a more stable and prosperous path forward for everyone.

Passing the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act was a historic day. It was the culmination of many years of hard work from many people — and a long wait for Indigenous peoples.

And we have a lot of hard work still to do.

The act is a significant step forward and will serve as the foundation for a new way of living and working together.

Funds are flowing to First Nations through a historic revenue-sharing agreement for an estimated $3 billion over the next 25 years. For many communities, being able to count on stable revenue long into the future is making a real and meaningful difference.

The funds are being put to good use building a youth community centre, supporting forest management to protect peoples’ homes from wildfires, and launching language programs that are key to the health of communities.

For the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation it means building up to 30 new homes — the first new housing the community has had in years.

And finding a place to call home in the community you love is transformational.

Conclusion

Mr. Speaker, it is a true privilege to stand here today and table our government’s third full budget that offers stability and opportunity.

I am honoured to come to work every day to make life better for the people of British Columbia.

Together, we have accomplished a great deal. Families are saving thousands of dollars thanks to investments in child care, the elimination of MSP premiums, the soon to launch BC Child Opportunity Benefit and the new BC Access Grant.

Families will benefit from new funding to strengthen our schools and hospitals, while delivering essential community supports.

Meanwhile, landmark investments in roads, bridges, housing, hospitals and schools are delivering a better quality of life while creating jobs.

Together, we have chosen a fundamentally different path — a choice we can all be proud of. We are making life more affordable, providing the services people count on, and creating opportunities for you and your children to build a good life in British Columbia.

Yes, significant progress has been made. But there is no shortage of work still to do.

You, the people of British Columbia, have always been working hard to get ahead.

And we are working hard for you.

I want my grandkids to know the sense of pride that comes from putting down roots, contributing to your community and building a good life for yourself, your family, and others.

This is at the heart of what I believe all British Columbians want: a stronger province for everyone.

A province where the next generation will not face a housing crisis. People will be able to find a more affordable home with space for their family to grow.

A province where equal opportunity and access to education will put people’s dreams within reach and end the cycle of poverty.

A province where the heroes of our communities — our early childhood educators, parents, health care workers, teachers, and trades people — will see the recognition they deserve for keeping our province running.

A province where everyone will have access to the health and mental health services they need — no matter where they live and no matter the size of their bank account.

And a province with a strong economy where future generations can enjoy our clean water, land and air.

Our government is working hard for you every single day.

Budget 2020 is our plan to keep B.C. moving forward.

Together, we are building a stronger B.C., for everyone.

Here is a response from Disability Alliance BC on BC Budget 2020

 

DABC’s Response to BC Budget 2020

On reviewing Budget 2020, Disability Alliance BC is pleased to see the increase to the earnings exemptions for people on provincial income assistance (to $6000 per year) and disability assistance (to $15,000 per year) for those who are able to work; however, only a small percentage (4%) of disability assistance recipients were able to utilize the full earnings exemption prior to this increase. We are disappointed at the lack of increases to actual income assistance and disability assistance rates, which are urgently needed to adequately support those who are unable to work.

While rate increases in October 2017 and Budget 2019 were a move in the right direction, income and disability assistance remain well below the poverty line.

We continue to call for the government to increase disability assistance to $1500/ per month, indexed to inflation.

We had also hoped to see other specific investments to make our province more inclusive for people with disabilities, such as specific funding for accessible housing and a program to address affordability of medical equipment and supplies. We look forward to continuing to advocate for these and other necessary investments.

 

 

This part is from other media coverage of BC Govt Budget 2020 details

Vancouver Sun Coverage

B.C. Budget 2020: B.C. finance presents stay-the-course budget

Times Colunist from Victoria

B.C. budget: Province unveils new taxes on soft drinks, high earners

The BC Poverty Reduction Coalition (BCPRC)

MEDIA RELEASE: BC Budget 2020: Government on the Right Track with Post-Secondary Grants but Significant Investment Needed to Meet Poverty Reduction Targets

 

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