Hefty government spending and promises to get money back into British Columbians’ pockets were the overarching themes of the 2023-24 provincial budget announced Tuesday (Feb. 28).
Amid a backdrop of a forecast deficit, Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said the budget will help the province weather the storm of inflation and slowing of the market.
Economic growth is forecast to drop to 0.4 per cent in 2023, down from 2.8 per cent last year.
Some of Tuesday’s highlighted pledges include:
- $6.4 billion in new health spending, including $1 billion for mental health and addictions services and previously announced funds to combat cancer
- $317 million for policing and public safety initiatives ,including the already-announced repeat offender program
- $119 million for free prescription contraception
- $558 million for further financial supports to income and disability assistance
- $4.2 billion to better housing with a bulk of the funds – $1.7 billion and $1.5 billion – for new home builds and modular housing, respectively
- An expansion of the climate action tax credit and renters’ rebate with further details to still be announced
- A 10-per-cent increase to the B.C. Family Benefit program
- Previously announced: $1 billion in community grants for municipalities, with more details coming