BC FORUM News - From The Advocate, Spring, 2020
BC Fed welcomes expanded services
for people and new tax on the 1%
Reducing inequality, creating opportunities
The BC Federation of Labour says the 2020 provincial budget, delivered by Finance Minister Carole James on Feb. 18, moves BC in the right direction.
The BCFED notes that the budget introduces a new tax on the wealthiest 1 percent, and uses BC’s strong economic position to expand public services and social programs that benefit working people.
With a record $22.9 billion in infrastructure spending, the budget continues a sea change from the austerity and cuts of the BC Liberal days, says the BCFED.
“The NDP government invests in services that families and communities rely on, whether in health care, housing, education or childcare,” says Laird Cronk, President of the BCFED.
“The new Child Opportunity Benefits and BC Access Grant are game changers that will help fight child poverty and improve access to post-secondary education.”
Budget 2020 also puts a focus on fairness for some of the lowest paid workers in the province.
“By 2021, BC will eliminate the discriminatory server wage and have the highest provincial minimum wage at over $15 an hour” says Sussanne Skidmore, Secretary Treasurer of the BCFED.
“We’re seeing real progress for workers: boosts to wages for Early Childhood Educators, increases to the earnings exemptions for income and disability assistance, and the introduction of five days of paid leave for workers experiencing domestic and sexual violence.”
The budget also delivered on other key priorities that reduce inequality and create secure, sustainable jobs:
• Critical funding for forestry revitalization, and supports for forestry workers.
• New investments to specifically address homelessness.
• Close to half a billion dollars in new funding for Clean BC.
• New resources to help women and under-represented groups access skilled trades training.
• Gaming-revenue sharing with First Nations and funding for an Indigenous justice strategy.
“A key measure of health for any economy is how it reduces inequality and creates opportunity,” says Cronk. “On those measures, this budget delivers.” BC continues to lead the country in growth and job creation.