Our government welcomed 2019 by announcing that 240,000 lower-income families will get the help they need with prescription medication costs. It’s part of our work to make life more affordable, and make health care more accessible for people in B.C.
We also cut Medical Service Plan (MSP) fees by half in January of 2018, and by January 2020 MSP fees will be eliminated entirely for every person in B.C. This is one of the biggest middle-class tax cuts in B.C. history and will put up to $1,800 a year back into families’ pockets.
For over a decade, B.C. was the only province to make people pay MSP fees. The previous government increased these premiums and downloaded costs onto you and your family. Our government is putting an end to unfair and regressive fees and taxes and cancelling MSP premiums once and for all.
To make sure people have the help they need with prescription drugs, we’ve made a three-year $105-million investment to reduce or eliminate Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments for lower-income households.
No one should have to make the difficult decision between putting food on the table and their family’s health. We know that for many working households, needed prescriptions were going unfilled too often because deductibles were too high. This is a long overdue step forward that will improve the health and lives of thousands of British Columbians.
We’re working hard to reduce fees and improve services for people across the board. One of the first fees we tackled when we formed government in 2017 was to eliminate bridge tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. We have also frozen BC Ferries fares on major routes, reduced fares on smaller routes and fully restored the seniors’ passenger fare discount.
To help families with their monthly child care costs, we introduced the Affordable Child Care Benefit earlier this year. This benefit is available to families with a yearly income of up to $111,000, and can save families up to $15,000 per year, per child. To support renters, we are cutting the annual allowable rent increase by 2%, so people can feel more relief at the beginning of every month.
Our government is also taking strong steps to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable housing for people around the province. We have made the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history – more than $7 billion over 10 years. And we’re working to moderate the market while increasing supply, curbing demand and tackling fraud in B.C.’s real estate market.
For too long, too many people in B.C were left struggling to make ends meet and access the services they need. Our government is making different choices to make life better and more affordable for you and your family– in 2019 and beyond.
We’re going to keep working for you, to build a strong economy, deliver the services people count on and make life more affordable for everyone in B.C. This is only the beginning, and I look forward to building a better future, together.