A new year brings resolutions, hope and unfortunately, new fees and increases.
There are a number of services British Columbians will be paying more for in the new year and some changes are on the way.
ICBC’s rate increase for basic insurance has been approved.
Drivers will see a 4.9 per cent rate increase starting next year.
BC Hydro rates will be going up by 3.5 per cent in 2017, followed by three per cent in 2018. The next increase will take effect on April 1, 2017.
FortisBC has received approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for an electricity rate change effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Starting in the new year, the rates are increasing by 2.76 per cent. That’s about $3.65 more per month for the average residential electricity customer.
As of Jan.1, 2017, there will be no premiums for children under 19 years old. MSP premium rates for adults will be determined by the number of adults on a MSP account.
The MSP premium rate for two adults will be twice the amount of the single adult rate.
Full premium assistance will be available to those whose net income is $24,000 or less. Premium assistance will be available to those whose adjusted net income is up to $42,000.
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It is expected that BC Ferries will raise its fares 1.9 per cent in 2017.
Starting in July 2017, transit fares will be going up and are expected to go up annually for the next three years.
This means a one-zone adult fare will increase to $2.85. Monthly pass users will see a one-zone fare increase from $91 to $93.
The average Canadian family may have to spend as much as $420 more on groceries next year as food prices are expected to climb.
Protein, meat, fish and seafood prices are projected to rise by four to six per cent in the new year. The same goes for vegetables. Fruits and nuts aren’t far behind, with possible increases of three to five per cent.
The lowest jump may be in the diary aisle, with eggs, bakery items and cereals increasing by only two per cent.
Empty homes tax (Vancouver)
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has announced the city’s empty home tax will go into effect in 2017.
The tax will target secondary properties used as business holdings that could potentially be in the rental market. A principal residence by owner, tenant or licensee will not be subject to empty homes tax. It will be up to the owners to declare their principal residence to the city.
This empty homes tax will be the first in Canada and it is estimated it could generate $2 million in revenue per year.
Property tax increase to deal With opioid crisis (Vancouver)
The City of Vancouver has also passed a property tax increase in 2017 to help deal with the current opioid crisis.
The tax will be an additional 0.5 per cent increase that will go specifically to a contingency fund for first responders.
Property tax in the city will be going up by 3.9 per cent in total.