Last week the BC government unveiled its Stronger BC Economic Plan which was followed today’s announcement of Budget 2022, which was presented by Premier John Horgan and Minister of Finance Selina Robinson.
Support for Tourism:
Budget 2022 earmarks $25 million in funding to support the tourism sector’s continuing recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have further details on what this will include at this stage. Additional funding is also being provided this year to support non-profit organizations affected by the pandemic; the recovery of the arts, culture and music sectors through the Arts Impacts and Amplify BC programs; and additional tourism supports, including funding to support the safe restart of fairs, festivals and events.
Furthermore, Within the $2 billion contingency to address situations where the various stages of the pandemic continue to evolve, the Province has set aside monies for programs such as the Closure Relief Grant if restrictions are again required and relief is necessary for directly impacted businesses.
As identified by TIABC, funds allocated to a number of other priorities will further support our hospitality and tourism sector, this includes:
- Funds for Emergency Management BC to support the four pillars of emergency management – prevention, mitigation, response & recovery;
- Resources to close the digital divide and bringing high-speed internet and connectivity to rural, remote and Indigenous communities;
- Funds to build affordable housing for workers;
- With the deferral in logging old growth, resources to help forestry workers transition to available jobs;
- Investment in infrastructure;
- Investment in clean transportation; and
- Resources for the new Sustainable Lands, Water & Resource Ministry that has responsibility for land use policy and planning, as well as fishing.
Key Pillars of the Plan
Building a stronger society by putting people first
- Saving parents money on full-day child care, preschool and before- and after-school care by cutting average fees to approximately $20 per day, while delivering 40,000 new licensed spaces in the next seven years.
- Better health care closer to home, with new urgent and primary care centres, and cancer care centres in preliminary planning stages in Kamloops and Nanaimo.
- Working in partnership with the First Nations Health Authority to continue creating up to 15 First Nations Primary Care Centres throughout the province.
- Taking a proactive approach to respond to and prevent homelessness through new complex care housing, rent supplements with integrated supports, and extending support for youth aging out of care until age 27.
- Supporting survivors of sexual assault by providing stable funding to approximately 50 community-based sexual assault response organizations to support victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
Building a stronger environment for our future
- Building B.C.’s low-carbon future by expanding the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and making clean energy and transportation the more affordable option for people and businesses.
- Building and rebuilding more resilient infrastructure with landmark projects, including the Broadway Subway, Fraser River tunnel, Pattullo Bridge, and Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon underway, with more projects in planning stages including the Surrey Langley Skytrain.
- Protecting people and communities from climate-related disasters, including moving BC Wildfire Services to a proactive year-round model, supporting local governments to prepare for climate disasters through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, supporting Indigenous-led emergency management priorities, and strengthening B.C.’s defences through the Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy.
Building a stronger economy for everyone
- Creating a new Declaration Act Secretariat that will guide and assist government to meet its obligation to ensure legislation is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and is developed in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous Peoples.
- Connecting more than 280 remote, rural and Indigenous communities to high-speed internet, improving access to digital health-care services, education, employment and business opportunities.
- Investing in an inclusive and clean economy with the Stronger BC Economic Plan, which will close the skills gap, grow B.C.’s life sciences, manufacturing and agricultural sectors, and build an economy that works for more people.
- Accelerating investments to build more affordable and mixed-income housing projects faster.
- Creating opportunities for workers by investing in training opportunities in the skilled trades, health care and life sciences sectors, and expanding and diversifying the construction workforce through Community Benefits Agreements.
B.C. Budget 2022 maps out predicted revenues of $68.6 billion in 2022-23 and $74 million in spending (including $3 billion in contingencies) for a deficit of $5.5 billion. Spending will rise to $70.2 billion in 2023-24, while the deficit will lower to $4.2 billion. By 2024-25 the Budget forecasts higher spending of $72.3 billion and a lower $3.2 billion deficit.
Budget 2022 also forecasts a deficit of $483 million for the 2021-22, which is less than last fall’s forecast deficit of $1.7 billion and Budget 2021’s forecast of $9.7 billion. $4.25 billion of the spending in the 2021-22 budget is from contingencies.