Finance Minister Carole James delivered the province’s 2018 budget Tuesday afternoon with a made-in-B.C. child-care plan, a comprehensive housing plan and what she calls record levels of capital investment in every corner of the province.
“Childcare and housing are two of the most important examples of the link between social programs and a strong economy,” she says.
“The choices that we make today really put us on a path of what we want to look like in 10, 20, even 50 years.”
James says that over three years an investment of more than $1 billion will set the province on the path to a universal child-care plan that will make child care affordable for parents and caregivers and create more than 22,000 child-care spaces throughout the province.
The budget also invests more than $1.6 billion over three years to build and maintain affordable rental housing, help finance student housing, increase rental assistance for low-income seniors and working families, and provide supportive housing for at-risk British Columbians.
Some of the other highlights announced by James include:
- Hiring more teachers, bringing the total to over 3,700 new hires around the province to support students and meet the need for qualified teachers in B.C.
- Making a historic investment of $50 million this fiscal year to support the revitalization and preservation of Indigenous languages in B.C.
- Dedicating $18 million to services that provide outreach and counselling support for women and children affected by violence.
- Improving access to justice through increased funding for legal aid, family law services, and the hiring of more sheriffs and court staff to help reduce court delays.
- Supporting communities hit the hardest by the 2017 wildfire season and investing in wildfire preparedness to protect people, communities, and wildlife.
- An employer health tax to allow for the full elimination of MSP premiums.