After 16 years of BC Liberal government neglect on the issues that are important to British Columbians, Premier John Horgan and the New Democrat government have been making different choices to make life better for people across the province.
Since the New Democrats formed government in 2017, we’re already:
- The largest middle-class tax reduction in a generation with the full elimination of MSP Premiums and the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit:
- For example, a family of four earning $60,000 will have their provincial taxes reduced by up to 60% compared to 2016, putting more than $2,500 back into this family’s pocket. A family of four earning $80,000 will have their provincial taxes reduced by up to 43%.
Tackling the Housing crisis
- Implementing an ambitious 30-point housing plan to tackle the housing crisis and make the biggest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years – so that all British Columbians can find an affordable place to live. Including:
- Supporting seniors, families, and low- and middle-income earners by funding 4,900 units of new affordable rental housing to be built over three years through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund.
- Funded a rapid response to homelessness by building more than 2,000 modular homes with 24/7 support services in 22 communities across B.C.
- Helped women and children fleeing violence by funding 280 units of transition housing – the first stage of 1,500 units and the first major investment in transition housing in more than two decades.
- Made a historic investment in housing for Indigenous peoples by funding more than 1,100 homes both on and off reserve, the first stage in 1,750 new units of Indigenous social housing over 10 years.
- Paved the way for new student housing at Thompson River University, the College of New Caledonia,the University of Victoria, UBC-Okanagan, and College of the Rockies, representing a 1,039% increase in new student housing over the previous 16 years.
- Taking action to help stabilize B.C.’s overheated real estate market, including:
- Introducing the speculation and vacancy tax to target foreign and domestic speculators who own homes in B.C. but do not pay tax here, turn empty homes into available housing for people and raise revenue that will go to supporting affordable housing.
- Increasing the foreign buyers tax to 20% and expanding it to other urban areas.
- Cracking down on tax fraud and closing real estate loopholes to make sure people are paying their fair share of taxes. This includes creating Canada’s first ever pre-sale condo registry to crack down on flipping.
- Taking action to end hidden ownership by requiring more information on beneficial owners and proposing legislation to establish a publicly accessible registry of beneficial ownership.
- Launching a public inquiry on money laundering in BC, after three independent reviews revealed that each year billions of dollars are laundered through our real estate market and other sectors of the economy.
- Taking action to support renters:
- Limiting annual allowable rent increases, and closing the fixed-term lease loophole, and the geographic rent increase loophole.
- Expanding rental assistance for low-income families and seniors,
- Ensuring fairness for tenants during renovations or demolitions.
- Funding community rent banks to help people in financial crisis avoid potential eviction.
- Investing a record $1.3 billion in child care over three years, building the foundation for a universal child care system that will give B.C. parents access to affordable, quality child care when they want or need it.
- Launched the Fee Reduction Initiative and the Affordable Child Care Benefit, saving many families more than $19,000 per year.
- Converted over 2,500 licensed child care spaces across the province into prototype universal child care sites, limiting costs for families to $200 per month per child.
- Investing in Early Childhood Educators by providing wage enhancements, on-the-job training opportunities and other measures designed to support professionals at the centre of B.C.’s child care system.
- Creating over 9,000 new, licensed child care spaces in communities across B.C. through the Child Care BC New Spaces Fund.
Every Day Living
- Removed unfair tolls on the Port Mann Bridge and Golden Ears Bridge, saving commuters in the lower mainland up to $1,500 a year.
- Eliminated interest on new and existing BC student loans.
- Froze ferry fares on all major BC Ferries routes, reduced fares on smaller routes, and restored the 100% Mon-Thurs seniors discount.
- Protected people from excessive fees by introducing tougher rules on payday loans and cheque-cashing services.
- Tasked BCUC with an investigation into what is driving high, volatile gasoline prices in British Columbia, and provided it with the broad reach it needs to find answers and give recommendations.
- Expanded the Fair PharmaCare program, reducing or eliminating deductibles for over 240,000 families, and providing coverage for more drug options, helping to ensure people can afford the prescription medications they need.
- Added over 1,000 new provincial campsites across BC, with no increase to camping fees for three years in a row.
- Developing recommendations to clamp down on high-priced ticket scalping to make live-event tickets more affordable for British Columbians.
- Invested $26 million in income and disability assistance enhancements to the B.C. Employment Assistance program to help remove barriers to accessing support.
- Updated income and disability assistance policies to remove barriers and make it easier for people to get help when they need it most. These simple and supportive changes are a move away from the mean-spirited policies of the past and will allow people to access essential services and keep them from falling further and further behind.
- Launched TogetherBC, British Columbia’s first poverty reduction strategy, which sets a path to reduce overall poverty in B.C. by 25% and child poverty by 50% by 2024.
- Introduced the Disability Transportation Supplement, which can be used for a BC Bus Pass – a program cruelly taken away by the BC Liberals.
- Increased income and disability assistance rates by a total of $150 per month, since forming government in 2017.
- Increased earnings exemptions for people on income and disability assistance by $200 a month. The new monthly earnings exemption for a single person receiving income assistance will be $400, up from $200. The new annual earnings exemption for a single person receiving disability assistance will be $12,000, up from $9,600.
- Increased the minimum wage — which will reach $15-an-hour by June 2021 — benefitting 400,000 workers throughout the province.
- Investing $4.4 billion over three years to expand and upgrade hospitals, equipment and management systems, to ensure patients have the quality care they deserve, community by community, across B.C.
- Launched our Primary Heath Care Strategy, focusing on faster, team-based care, including:
- Hiring hundreds of new primary care practitioners;
- Opening urgent primary care centres and community health centres across B.C.;
- Establishing primary care networks across 70% of B.C. communities over three years.
- Dramatically boosting the number of MRI exams and elective surgeries as part of our Surgical and Diagnostic Strategy.
- Increasing the number of cancer-related surgeries, diagnostic imaging, PET and CT scans, to ensure faster access to these life-saving services.
- Increasing staffing levels in long-term care homes to make sure seniors are getting the quality care they need and deserve.
- Scrapped the “first available bed” policy for seniors looking for long-term care, so that families have more choice, and seniors have the option of waiting at home with additional supports.
- Removed age restrictions on insulin-pump coverage, so that everyone who needs this device to manage diabetes is able to live their lives to the fullest.
Children and Families
- Gave foster parents and other caregivers a boost in support payments – the first increase in a decade – to provide more support to some of B.C.’s most-vulnerable children and adults.
- Ensured that Indigenous children can be cared for in their communities by giving family members equal pay to foster parents when they care for children through the Extended Family Program.
- Increased funding and supports under the Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) Program by:
- Removing barriers for youth leaving care by providing free tuition and helping with living expenses for their post-secondary studies up to age 27.
- Increasing the needs-based monthly support rate by up to $250, to a maximum of $1,250.
- Allowing for year-round financial support, so young people can continue to receive supports during school program breaks.
- Delivered an extra $1 billion in classroom funding over 2016/17 – the largest operating budget in B.C. history.
- Reduced class sizes and increased support in classrooms by hiring 4,000 new teachers, special education teachers, and psychologists and counsellors.
- Hired 1,000 new education assistants (EAs) to better support students with special needs.
- Investing $2.7 billion over 3 years for new and replacement schools, expansions, and to fast-track seismic upgrades to keep kids safe.
- Created a new annual $5 million school playground fund, to ensure that having safe and accessible playground equipment is not dependent on parents’ ability to fundraise.
Advanced Education & Skills Training
- Restored tuition-free Adult Basic English and English Language Learning, removing roadblocks set up by the BC Liberals for people wanting to upgrade and pursue their dreams.
- Eliminated interest on British Columbia student loans, helping to ensure that students who have to borrow for their education don’t end up paying more than those who don’t.
- Funded 27,000+ apprenticeship and foundation training seats in public and private institutes in Budget 2019.
- Funded the first Indigenous law degree program in all of Canada at UVic – answering Article 50 of TRC.
- Invested $12 million to support graduate degree scholarships for Masters and Doctoral degree students.
- Adding 2,900 new tech-related seats at public colleges and universities in new and expanded programs across the province.
Mental Health & Addictions
- Created a stand-alone Ministry for Mental Health and Addictions to take province-wide action to combat the overdose crisis, and help people living with mental illness and addictions.
- Launched A Pathway to Hope, which lays out government’s 10-year vision for mental health and addictions care that gets people the services they need in order to tackle problems early on and support their well-being.
- Allocated $322 million over three years to combat the overdose crisis, including:
- Expanding access to life-saving naloxone kits and funding pilot programs to help meet increased demand for paramedics in rural and remote areas of B.C.
- Funding 20 Community Action Teams (CAT) to provide on-the-ground support in response to the overdose crisis in the hardest-hit communities.
- Providing the First Nations Health Authority with $20 million over three years to support First Nations organizations and Indigenous Peoples in addressing the ongoing impacts of the overdose crisis in their communities.
- Launched a class action lawsuit against opioid drug companies, whose marketing practices have had devastating impacts on the lives of thousands of British Columbians.
- Expanded Foundry to eight centres, with a total of 19 planned, giving young people and their families across BC access to a one-stop-shop to support their mental health and wellness.
- Broke ground on a new state-of-the-art mental health and addictions centre on the Riverview lands.
- Opened a therapeutic recovery community in Greater Victoria for men who have repeat experiences with incarceration, homelessness and addiction, which if successful may be expanded to other parts of the province.
- Introducing new integrated child and youth teams in schools – starting with Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows – focused on prevention, wellness promotion and early intervention.
- Started cleaning up the financial mess at ICBC left by the BC Liberals so that it works better for those injured and all British Columbia drivers.
- Eliminated barriers for first responders to access WorkSafeBC compensation for mental trauma.
- Took action to keep at-risk youth out of gangs by:
- Launched a new BC Bus North service in response to Greyhound’s decision to eliminate service on routes in northern B.C., ensuring people in the North have access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation.
- Retained over 83% of Greyhound’s long-haul bus routes by working with local service providers and fast-tracking applications. And we’re continuing to work on addressing service gaps across B.C.
- Put ride-hailing regulations in place that will focus on passenger, driver and company safety, and will allow companies to apply to the Passenger Transportation Board in September 2019.
- Committing $1.82 billion in provincial funding for the Broadway Subway project to reduce congestion in Metro Vancouver.
- Fully funded the Pattullo Bridge replacement, bringing commuters one step closer to a modern, safer crossing. Building with a CBA to provide good-paying jobs to local people and address the skilled trades shortage.
- Restored service to 10 ferry routes that were cut by the BC Liberals in 2014.
- Six-laning Highway 1 from 216th to 264th St, with new HOV lanes connecting commuters from Aldergrove to Burnaby.
- Amended the Coastal Ferries Act to put people at the centre of BC Ferries’ decision-making.
Utilities and Community Services
- Launched a comprehensive two-phased review of BC Hydro to clean up the mess of the previous BC Liberal government and keep rates low.
- Expanded wireless coverage and high-speed internet in rural, remote and Indigenous communities across the province.
- Added $111 million over three years to continue strengthening the Province’s efforts to combat and prevent wildfires.
Creating Jobs and Opportunities
- Creating tens of thousands of jobs in communities around B.C. with more than $20 billion building hospitals, schools, and transportation projects — the largest infrastructure investment in B.C.’s history.
- Led the B.C. economy to deliver the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and the highest annual wage growth that the province has seen in the past decade.
- Ensured good-paying jobs, better training and apprenticeships, and more trades opportunities for Indigenous peoples, women and youth in key public-sector infrastructure projects in B.C. through Community Benefits Agreements.
- Funded projects to improve connectivity in 479 communities, including 83 Indigenous communities and approximately 45,000 households since July 2017, through our Connecting British Columbia program – helping to diversity economic opportunities in rural communities.
- Kept our commitment to fight for B.C. forestry jobs in the U.S and to advance B.C.’s interests in the ongoing softwood lumber dispute.
- Strengthened relationships and expanded economic ties with China, South Korea and Japan, three of B.C.’s largest trading partners.
- Introduced a new, simplified procurement strategy to take advantage of government’s buying power to help grow local economies, create jobs throughout the province, and make good use of made-in-B.C. innovation.
- Supported access to affordable farmland for young farmers through the B.C. Land Matching Program.
- Boosted B.C.’s agriculture industry and connected people to products grown and made in B.C. by relaunching Buy BC, and expanded the program to include Grow BC and Feed BC.
- Established AMPLIFY BC, the province’s new music fund aimed at supporting people working in our diverse music industry.
- Supported our province’s vibrant communities and creative economy by boosting funding for the BC Arts Council and Creative BC.
- Helped people who live and work in resort municipalities with new investments to better support our tourism industry.
- Passed legislation to create a Temporary Foreign Worker Registry, and to better protect temporary foreign workers against exploitation and abuse.
- Introduced government licensing requirements for foreign worker recruiters starting Oct. 1, 2019.
- Provided over $902 million for CleanBC, putting B.C. on the path to a cleaner, brighter, low-carbon future, while creating more jobs and economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities.
- Launched Move. Commute. Connect.: B.C.’s new strategy for cleaner, more active transportation, which aims to double the percentage of trips taken with active transportation by 2030.
- Requiring the sale of all new light-duty cars and trucks in B.C. to be zero-emission vehicles by the year 2040, removing a major source of air pollution and climate change.
- Created EfficiencyBC, a home and commercial retrofit program that saves households and businesses money by reducing energy bills and increasing energy efficiency.
- Requiring all new buildings in B.C. to be net-zero-energy ready by 2032, and all new government facilities to use 100% clean energy by 2022.
- Retrofitting B.C.’s social housing stock and government buildings to make them more energy efficient, safer for residents, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
- Took action to protect our environment, economy, and our coast from the drastic consequence of a diluted bitumen spill.
- Increasing the Climate Action Tax Credit by 14%, putting more money back in the pockets of low and middle-income families.
- In partnership with the federal government and BC Transit, invested in new buses to replace older, higher-emission buses, and meet the growing demand for public transit in BC.
- Established a new LNG Framework that helped deliver a record $40 billion investment by LNG Canada while meeting our four conditions:
- a fair return for B.C.’s natural resources,
- guaranteed jobs and training opportunities for British Columbians,
- respect and partnerships with First Nations,
- and protection of B.C.’s air, land and water, including living up to the Province’s climate commitments.
- Increasing the processing of B.C. logs on the coast and reducing wood waste by redirecting it to B.C.’s pulp and paper mills, by changing policy as part of the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative.
- Protected some of the province’s largest trees as the first step in a new approach to old-growth management.
- Put an end to the grizzly bear hunt, ensuring the protection of one of B.C.’s most iconic species.
- Protected B.C.’s farmland by addressing mega-mansions and speculation on ALR land.
- Established rigorous new rules and expectations for the renewal of salmon farm tenures in B.C. waters.
- Made an historic $20-million investment to fund a fair, independent oversight body in the mining sector.
- Took action to help ensure that disasters like the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond spill never happen again, by implementing science-based public oversight in the management of B.C.’s natural resources.
- Modernized environmental assessment to ensure that good projects that respect B.C.’s environment, Indigenous peoples and the public are approved.
- Created the Wild Salmon Advisory Council which developed a made-in-B.C. Wild Salmon Strategy, as part of our government’s commitment to support restoring healthy and abundant wild salmon stocks in B.C.
- Committed over $42-million over 5 years to the BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund, a joint initiative with the federal government to support B.C.’s fish and seafood sector and ensure the sustainability of wild salmon.
Modernizing our Democracy
- Banned big money in provincial, municipal, and recall campaigns, ensuring all people are at the centre of democracy, not just the wealthy and well-connected.
- Made British Columbia the most transparent lobbying regime in Canada.
- Appointed B.C.’s first Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, Mitzi Dean, to coordinate cross-government action on gender equity.
- Provided legislative drafting services to opposition members of the Legislative Assembly so all MLAs can better serve British Columbians.
Working for People
- Re-established a B.C. human rights commission after it was dismantled by the BC Liberals in 2002.
- Appointed Kasari Govender as B.C.’s first independent human rights commissioner.
- Cracked down on dirty money in B.C. casinos, real estate and other sectors.
- Introduced an X gender option on B.C.-issued identity documents for British Columbians who do not identify as male or female.
- Took action to ensure families across the country can celebrate together by moving Family Day to the third week in February.
- Safeguarded British Columbians’ freedom of speech and expression through the re-introduction of anti-SLAPP legislation.
- Made Reconciliation a cross-government priority by mandating all ministries to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Co-developing legislation with B.C. First Nations to establish UNDRIP as the framework for reconciliation in British Columbia.
- Made an historic agreement to share gaming revenue with B.C. First Nations starting in 2019, to ensure Indigenous peoples have the funding they need to invest in their communities.
- Ensured Indigenous children and their families have better access to culturally enriched early learning with more than 600 new, free licensed child care spaces and expanded Aboriginal Head Start (AHS) programs in over 30 communities across the province.
- Signed an Accord to transform treaty negotiations in B.C., to get results in a shorter timeframe that lead to prosperous, healthy and self-determining Indigenous communities.
- Partnered with the Aboriginal Justice Council to develop an Indigenous Justice Strategy to reduce the over-representation of Indigenous peoples in B.C.’s justice system.
- Added a new professional standard that requires teachers to commit to truth, reconciliation and healing to ensure Indigenous students in British Columbia will be better supported and be more connected in school.
- Renamed four provincial parks and one watershed protected area to include a traditional Indigenous name, to reflect their historic and cultural significance.
- Supported the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous languages through a $50 million grant to the First Peoples’ Cultural Council.
- Provided $40 million to build and revitalize culturally safe, First Nations-run mental health and addictions treatment centres throughout British Columbia.
- Provided dedicated funding to Aboriginal friendship centres for the first time, ensuring the continuity of these critical services for urban Indigenous peoples.
- Led a ground-breaking government-to-government process to chart a path forward in the Broughton Archipelago, ensuring the safety of wild salmon and economic opportunities for First Nations and local communities.