BC NDP Government working to improve services & Second quarterly report shows stable economic growth

(Submitted by BC Government) VICTORIA BC – Premier John Horgan and the B.C. government have been working hard for people in the legislature. Since July, the B.C. government has taken bold steps to improve the services people count on.

• Invested in student success by fully funding the class size and composition requirement and adding thousands of new teachers to help students learn
• Added more than 500 trades training spaces at B.C. colleges and universities
• Made college and university tuition-free for former children in care
• Provided a transportation supplement to give people with disabilities access to the transportation supports they need, including a bus pass for those who want one
• Committed to $14.6 billion in capital spending over three years to build roads, transit, schools and hospitals
• Launched the renewal of the human rights commission, because every person should feel welcome to share in the future of our province
• Reduced MSP premiums by 50 per cent, and we’re working towards completely eliminating this unfair fee altogether
• Invested $322in cross-government approaches combat the overdose emergency
• Established a Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions so people living with addictions and mental illness have better access to treatment options
• Added more supports for the Residential Tenancy Office to help renters and landlords resolve disputes faster
• Supported communities and businesses affected by wildfires with $100 million for recovery and $140 million for risk reduction, reforestation, habitat restoration, and the FireSmart program

Quote from Premier John Horgan:
“Our government is making better choices to improve the services people count on, to help young people get the education they need to realize their full potential, and to make sure the people have the help they need when they need it most.”

Second quarterly report shows stable economic growth

British Columbia’s second quarter results show the province’s economic outlook remains positive.

“I’m encouraged by the second quarter results that show strong job and export growth, a lower debt-to-GDP ratio and continued key investments that build a better B.C. for all British Columbians,” Finance Minister Carole James said. “As we work to prepare a balanced Budget 2018, I am mindful of a number of fiscal pressures in the second quarter, including the cost of fighting wildfires this season and the continued losses from ICBC.”

B.C.’s GDP forecast is unchanged from the Budget 2017 Update, with expected growth rates of 2.9% in 2017 and 2.1% in 2018. The province remains on track for a balanced budget, even with wildfire costs further increasing by $152 million, and cost pressures from ICBC. Government’s revenue forecast for 2017-18 is $283 million lower than expected at the budget update, mainly due to the effects of weaker 2016 personal and corporate income tax returns.

Taxpayer-supported debt is forecast to be $179 million lower than the Budget 2017 Update, and B.C.’s taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to be 0.1 percentage point lower than September’s projection, ending 2017-18 at 16.1%. The debt-to-revenue ratio is forecast to end the fiscal year 0.1 percentage point lower at 87.7%, due to a lower taxpayer-supported debt forecast.

“These results reinforce the importance of a focus on stable, sustainable economic growth that invests those benefits in the people of British Columbia,” said James.

B.C.’s economy experienced strong activity to date in 2017, with key indicators showing:

  • Job growth is at 3.6% year-to-date to October 2017, the fastest employment growth rate among provinces, and the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 5.3% year-to-date.
  • Retail sales are up 9.3% year-to-date to September 2017, with gains widespread across sectors.
  • Exports grew 17.3% year-to-date to September 2017, over the same period last year.
  • Year-to-date housing starts to October 2017 averaged 42,296 annualized units, an increase of 1.4% over the same period in 2016.

Learn More:

To read the Second Quarterly Report 2017-18, please see: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/organizational-structure/ministries-organizations/ministries/finance/finance-reports-publications

See the Second Quarterly Report PowerPoint: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2017_18_Q2_Report_Presentation.pdf