B.C. Budget 2024: New cancer care, seniors funding as health spending surges again

Click to play video: 'B.C. Budget 2024: Analysis of province’s priorities for upcoming year'
B.C. Budget 2024: Analysis of province’s priorities for upcoming year
It’s budget day in British Columbia. That means we have a better idea of the province's priorities for the upcoming year and how it plans to pay for them. Global BC’s legislative team, Richard Zussman and Keith Baldrey, provide analysis – Feb 22, 2024

New money for cancer care and more supports for seniors form the tentpole of the 2024 budget’s expanded health spending.

Health spending for 2024-205 will hit $32.9 billion, once again dominating program spending and accounting for more than one in every three dollars spent.

That figure includes $1.62 billion in new program spending – most of which is going to expanding health services, including post-pandemic measures.

Click to play video: 'Finance minister promises relief during B.C. budget preview'
Finance minister promises relief during B.C. budget preview

But the budget earmarks $90 million in 2024 ($270 million across three years) in new spending for the government’s 10-year cancer action plan.

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The new money will be directed at prevention services like HPV vaccines and cervical cancer screening. Funding is also being aimed at speeding up access to treatments that are difficult to access or not available in the province.

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Another $45 million in 2024 ($354 million over three years) is being directed to home and community care for seniors.

About two-thirds of that will go to help seniors and people with disabilities stay in their homes while receiving professional care.

The remaining third will go to community-based seniors’ services to help with day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping and transportation.

While mental health and addictions services also saw a bump in funding, it won’t go to cover new beds.

Click to play video: 'Analysis of 2024 B.C. throne speech'
Analysis of 2024 B.C. throne speech

The province is putting up $70 million in 2024 ($215 million over three years) for the file, but virtually all of it goes to sustaining existing programs or already being implemented.

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That includes continued funding for 2,200 existing beds, existing harm reduction initiatives like overdose prevention sites and drug checking and peer-assisted care teams and mobile integrated crisis response teams.

Just $10 million of the three-year spend is directed to supporting “ongoing policy development and implementation for treatment and recovery programs.”

Finally, the budget included the surprise announcement of a fully-funded cycle of in-vitro fertilization treatments for British Columbians who need help starting a family.

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