2021 BC Budget Review
April 20, 2021 – Today, Minister of Finance Selina Robinson released the 2021/2022 provincial budget, outlining the plans for government taxes and revenue over the next year.
The $69.1 billion provincial budget forecasts a $9.7 billion deficit for 2021/22, decreasing to $5.5 billion and $4.3 billion over the following two years.
Below, read the Burnaby Board of Trade’s highlights of some of key announcements in the budget, plus access further resources and analysis on what this budget means for you.
The Burnaby Board of Trade will continue to work with our provincial representatives and various ministries to help shape how the government’s programs are implemented, and to determine how best our members can access or participate in the various initiatives.
Announcement: There were few new announcements of supports, but Budget 2021 does contain funding for a number of previously-announced supports including:
Our Take: These above programs are important supports for the business community, and provide some important targeted supports. The Burnaby Board of Trade advocated to the province last year for hand’s on support and a direct grant to BC businesses—both of which were implemented. In addition, the PST rebate is a significant support worth $470 million and we applaud the provincial government for this move.
That said, we are disappointed that there was no commitment in Budget 2021 to addressing major issues facing businesses which we had asked for, including renewing the 2020 COVID-19 tax cuts, increasing the exemptions for the Employer Health Tax, or fixing the property assessment system.
Environment and Climate Change
- $130 million for zero emissions vehicle incentives, electric charging stations, technological development and electrification of school buses, ferries and government fleets
- $96 million to reduce industry emissions, further expand British Columbia’s clean tech sector and support global competitiveness in the clean economy.
- $60 million to support the development and commercialization of clean technology in B.C.
Our Take: The Burnaby Board of Trade is very pleased to see continued investment in CleanBC initiatives and applaud the government’s leadership. We’re particularly pleased to see action in two areas we directly advocated to Environment Minister George Heyman on: supporting industrial emission reduction and developing and growing our local green economy.
Announcement: Doubling the number of $10-a-day childcare spaces and increasing the early childhood educator wage enhancement to $4 an hour.
Our Take: The Burnaby Board of Trade has long supported childcare as an important economic underpinning, and supports creating more spaces to drive accessibility as a priority. The investment in the early childhood educator workforce is wise to develop the workers needed to staff increased childcare spaces. The Burnaby Board of Trade has supported investing in early childhood educators, most recently in our submission to the City of Burnaby’s “Childcare Action Plan” and therefore approves of this move.
Announcement: $17 million to support skills training for Indigenous people, $5 million for expanding micro-credentials, $6 million to support work-integrated learning placements for 3,000 students, $4 million for short-term skills training programs to support training more workers for in-demand sectors, and $15 million in incentives to hire students for tech-enabled jobs.
Our Take: Labour and workforce issues are emerging again as a top concern for businesses, and we applaud any efforts to better connect students with employment or to invest in reskilling and training.
Strategic Business Investments
Announcement: $500 million over three years for the “InBC Strategic Investment Fund” which will attract and anchor high-growth businesses and help local firms scale and grow.
Our Take: For over a decade, the Burnaby Board of Trade has advocated for and supported provincial investment and co-investment funds to support our local businesses grow and scale, and to compete with the investment made in other jurisdictions. This is a meaningful step in this direction and the BBOT applauds this move.
Announcement: $2 billion in funding for HousingHub, a division of BC Housing, to encourage developers and community groups to build 9,000 new homes for middle-income households.
Our Take: The Burnaby Board of Trade has long identified middle-income housing as an important part of efforts to address housing affordability, and providing housing and home-ownership opportunities for local workers and the workforce, and we are excited about this investment.
Announcement: $100 million to support tourism and anchor attractions, plus $20 million more for grants that will help communities prepare for future visitors through new tourism infrastructure
Our Take: The tourism sector has been one of the hardest hit, and the Burnaby Board of Trade supports efforts and investments to help this sector recover and plan for the eventual re-opening of borders and resumption of travel.
For more information on Budget 2021