VANCOUVER – Sadly, it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke as there are a number of things the people of British Columbia will be paying more for starting April 1.
1. BC Ferries fares:
On Tuesday fares are going up for anyone wanting to ride the ferries.
Prices for vehicles and walk-on passengers are going up by four per cent on average for major and minor routes.
Ferries that service northern routes between Port Hardy, Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii will see an increase of two per cent. On those routes the over-height vehicle tariff will be eliminated.
Reservation fees made a week or more in advance will not be increased, remaining at $15, and reservations made less than seven days will also remain the same at $18.50. Same day reservations will increase from $18.50 to $22.
Assured loading tickets are also increasing by $10 each.
People 65 and over will also be required to pay a half-price passenger fare from Monday to Thursday. Previously this was a free service.
2. BC Hydro:
Rates will be increasing nine per cent on April 1, which is the first of five scheduled annual increases. The provincial government estimates this will be about an $8 per month increase for 2014-15.
WATCH: BC Hydro rates are going up:
3. The cost of a stamp:
Effective March 31, the cost of mailing a first-class letter within Canada is going up by 35 per cent. The cost of a stamp will now be 85 cents, up from 63 cents.
In November, the Crown corporation reported a loss of $129 million for the third quarter and a seven per cent decline in mail volumes, putting the postal service on track to a record loss in 2013. The average Canadian household buys two stamps a month, Canada Post said.
Under the new business plan, Canada Post expects to return to financial stability by 2019.
4. Medical marijuana:
While an injunction has allowed some medical marijuana growers to continue growing their own crop for now, Health Canada is introducing new licensing for commercial growers starting April 1.
This will change the price of the product.
Health Canada’s current price for medical marijuana produced under contract: $5 a gram
Health Canada’s projection of profitable private-sector price in 2014 after the new free-market kicks in: $7.60
Projection of average price as market matures in several years: $8.80
“This April Fools’ Day, the joke is on taxpayers – but no one will be laughing,” said Jordan Bateman, the CTF’s B.C. Director. “People from other parts of Canada like to joke that B.C. stands for ‘Bring Cash’ – and it’s very hard to argue that point these days.”
The April 1 increases are on top of recent hikes to EI ($23/year for average worker), CPP ($70/year), MSP ($60/year for a family), ICBC ($10/year), property taxes (varies by city), and Port Mann Bridge tolls (doubled to $3), according to the CTF.
“If taxpayers feel they are falling further behind financially, it’s because they are,” said Bateman. “Compared to just five years ago, B.C. families are handing over an extra $20 to the provincial government every single week of the year – on top of all the Hydro, ICBC, Ferries and toll increases.”
The tobacco-tax rate increases to 47.80 per carton of 200 cigarettes, up from $44.60.
© 2014 Shaw Media