Advertisement

From 911 calls to child care, here are 10 things you need to know about B.C.’s budget

WATCH FULL: Finance Minister Selina Robinson deliver the 2022 B.C. budget

Finance Minister Selina Robinson revealed British Columbia’s budget for new fiscal year on Tuesday.

Budget 2022 vows to take bold action to fight climate change, reduce the cost of living, and grow and inclusive and sustainable economy, she said in the legislature.

From new investments in the health-care system to $20-a-day child care, here’s what you need to know about the province’s spending commitments for 2022.

Reducing emergency call response times

BC Emergency Health Services made headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2021.

Long wait times — including some patients waiting more than four hours for an ambulance — has now led the government to promise additional resources to paramedics and other emergency responders.

This includes $148 million over the next three years to reduce call wait times and responses by hiring more dispatchers and paramedics.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Paramedics union says Vancouver down to one ambulance on Wednesday morning' Paramedics union says Vancouver down to one ambulance on Wednesday morning
Paramedics union says Vancouver down to one ambulance on Wednesday morning – Feb 4, 2022

Reducing the wait list for surgeries, diagnostic imaging

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to tens of thousands of surgeries being postponed in the province over the last two years. Those surgeries are slowly being re-booked now.

Aiming to avoid sustained delays, the provincial budget earmarks $303 million in new base funding for a wait-list reduction strategy.

A new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship

In order to fulfill commitments in the province’s Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the government is creating a new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship to align resource development policy with the law.

This will include Indigenous-led initiatives and consultation between industry and Indigenous communities.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Forestry is a staple to B.C.’s economy, finance minister says' Forestry is a staple to B.C.’s economy, finance minister says
Forestry is a staple to B.C.’s economy, finance minister says – Feb 22, 2022

A better start for children with diverse needs

Last year, the province revealed plans to phase out the current model of service support for families in need of inclusive services for children and youth.

To begin that transition, the province is investing $172 million over the next three years to help establish family connections centres across the province. Budget 2022 also invests $114 million to begin the switch to a ‘needs-based system’ in two regions.

These first steps will help direct the full shift, which is expected to take place by 2025.

Extended support for kids in care

Funding for children in government care will now last until they turn 27 — an attempt to support their transition away from government care, Robinson said Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

This includes $35 million over the next three years to respond to the growing risk of homelessness faced by former youth in care.

Beginning in 2022-23, temporary housing arrangements will also be made permanent and a new $600-per-month rent supplement will be in place.

Click to play video: 'Members of B.C. First Nation block social workers from taking six-year-old girl' Members of B.C. First Nation block social workers from taking six-year-old girl
Members of B.C. First Nation block social workers from taking six-year-old girl – Oct 18, 2021

Tax exemption on heat pumps

As part of the province’s updated climate change strategy, British Columbians will not have to pay for the PST when buying a heat pump.

This will be coupled with a PST increase on fossil fuel heating equipment to 12 per cent, effective April 1, 2022.

Used zero-emission vehicles will be PST-free

British Columbians in the market for a used zero-emissions vehicle will save on costs as part of Budget 2022. The province now plans to waive the PST on such purchases until 2027.

Story continues below advertisement

The province is also creating a higher threshold of $75,000 for the luxury surtax on passenger zero-emissions vehicles.

Year-round BC Wildfire Service

BC Wildfire Service will be turned into a year-round service at a cost of $243 million. This added capacity will improve facilities to deal with wildfires.

There will be an additional $210 million for community preparedness and wildfire prevention and Indigenous-led emergency management priorities.

Child care for $20 a day

The ‘$10-a-day child care’ catch phrase has been thrown around for years.

The province is now doubling that, however, committing to an average child care cost of $20 per day for British Columbians by the end of next year.

Due to a federal commitment, the province is allocated $284 million for child care.

This allows the province to reduce the average infant/toddler fees to approximately $20 per day — a reduction by about 50 per cent of current costs.

Click to play video: '‘A huge win for families’: B.C. budget outlines changes to childcare fees, afterschool care' ‘A huge win for families’: B.C. budget outlines changes to childcare fees, afterschool care
‘A huge win for families’: B.C. budget outlines changes to childcare fees, afterschool care – Feb 22, 2022

Rebuilding roadways destroyed by floods

There is no specific price tag yet for how much it will cost the province to rebuild the Coquihalla Highway and others wiped away by floods in November.

Story continues below advertisement

The province has earmarked $1.5 billion to respond to those flooding events and “build back better.” This is tacked on to $5 billion the federal government has committed to flood recovery.

A temporary rebuild for the Coquihalla and several other critical highways damaged by the disaster has already cost the province about $500 million.

Sponsored content