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  • 2021 Provincial Budget

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    BC Finance Minister Selina Robinson tabled the Province’s first budget yesterday after a year of unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget 2021 was her first budget as Finance Minister and given the competing priorities for funding at such a critical time, Robinson joked that she relied on her training as a family therapist to help balance requests from a variety of stakeholders. 2021 budget that reflects the uncertainty of the environment that both the private and public sectors are operating in. The budget demonstrates the government’s continued commitment to the financial supports needed to help businesses navigate the coming weeks and months and to building some of the infrastructure that is crucial to locking in business prosperity over the long term.

    “The budget is a prudent budget, that relies heavily on the successful roll out of BC’s vaccination program and our curbing transmission, which will enable businesses to open and stay open,” said Colleen Clark, CEO of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

    SPECIFICS ITEMS OF NOTE IN THE PROVINCIAL BUDGET:
    • An ongoing PST exemption on capital investments in select equipment and machinery to help businesses pivot or upgrade operations with an anticipated 110,000 incorporated BC businesses eligible.
    • $44 million for Launch Online, connecting businesses with BC technology companies to create or improve their e-commerce and provide digital marketing training to help businesses boost their online sales.
    • $10 million to increase value-added manufacturing in BC by supporting small- and medium-sized businesses to make their products more accessible to customers and an additional $6 million in grants for businesses to help strengthen BC’s supply chain.
    • $7.5 million to support BC’s growing agri-tech industry.
    • $7 million to expand BC’s food hub network and support farm innovation and food processing.
    • An average 25% reduction in commercial property taxes 2020.
    • An additional $20 million for community destination development grants that will help communities prepare for future visitors through new tourism infrastructure like trails and airport improvements.
    • Capital investments will continue to build new schools and upgrade existing ones in communities across BC.
    • New funding to support post-secondary education, including new spaces to build training capacity in the health care sector.
    • $32 million to continue training launched through the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan, including:
                   - $17 million to partner with Indigenous communities and organizations to expand access to skills training.
                   - $5 million to expand micro-credential training for people looking to retrain and pursue new careers.
                   - $10 million for work-integrated learning opportunities and short-term skills training.
                   - $45 million for youth employment initiatives, creating 5,000 jobs when combined with StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan
                       investments.
    • Childcare investments – these will piggyback on the announcements in the Federal Budget
    • Working with Industry and Cleantech - $96 million for the CleanBC Program for Industry to reduce emissions, further expand British Columbia’s clean tech sector and support global competitiveness in the clean economy.
                   - $60 million to support the Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy and for cleantech investments to expand partnership
                     opportunities with the federal government.
                   - The Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy will support the development and commercialization of clean technology in
                     BC – creating good jobs and accelerating technology development to help transition to a low-carbon future.

    The Greater Langley Chamber recognizes that more information will come after the Budget is passed in the Legislature. Chamber advocacy highlights: SPECIFIC HIGHLIGHTS TO CHAMBER ADVOCACY

    · Business support
    •  $806 million for ongoing supports for businesses in 2021-22. Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant in 2021-22 of $195 million. Increased Employment Incentive Tax Credit in 2021-22 of $150 million. Farmer supports to access labour in 2021-22 of $35 million. Tourism sector supports in 2021-22 of $120 million. PST exemptions on select machinery and equipment supports in 2021-22 of $235 million. Wholesale pricing for hospitality licensees in 2021-22 of $71 million.
    · Health
    • $4 billion in new funding over 3 years, including $3.1 billion to improve the quality of health and mental health care for people, and $900 million in 2021-22 allocated for pandemic response. $585 million over 3 years to hire new health care workers to build capacity. $500 million over 3 years to expand and improve mental health and addictions services and respond to overdose crisis. $748 million over 3 years to expand urgent and primary care centres and reduce wait times for surgeries and diagnostic services.
    · Affordable housing
    •  As part of the 10-year Homes for BC strategy’s $7 billion, Budget 2021 will add $2 billion to expand the Housing Hub program to facilitate the creation of 9,000 units of rental housing and homeownership options over the next three to five years. Greater funding for non-profit housing providers and $1.6 billion in capital investments over the plan. Budget 2021-22 will see $1.1 billion, $1.15 billion in 2022-23, and $1.16 billion in 2023-24.
    · Skills and training to improve employment
    • $96 million over three years for skills training to build health sector capacity. $32 million in 2021-22 for other targeted training to help people recover including skills training programs for Indigenous peoples, micro-credentials, and work experience placement. $36 million in 2021-22 for student and youth employment initiatives. $500 million over 3 years in financing for InBC to attract and anchor high growth business, talent, and good jobs in BC.
    · Transportation
    • $11 million to implement free transit for youth aged 12 and under. Over the three years of the fiscal plan, transportation capital investments totalling $7.5 billion will maintain the flow of people and goods to support BC’s economy. Examples of capital investments in transportation include the Pattullo Bridge replacement project, George Massey Crossing, Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, and Highway 1 widening from Langley to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford. No updates or increased investments were mentioned.
    · Childcare support
    • $2.2 billion in childcare funding over 3 years (2021-2024). 400 new spaces for children of Indigenous families, 2000 more families to access supportive childhood development programs, increasing wages by $4-per-hour for 11,000 licensed early childhood educators. $732 million in funding for 2021-22, $772 million in 2022-23, and $773 2023-24.

    For full budget details please click here.
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