Finance

Budget 2019 creates opportunities, makes life better for people

Le budget de 2019 crée des possibilités et améliore la vie des gens

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Finance

Budget 2019 creates opportunities, makes life better for people

Le budget de 2019 crée des possibilités et améliore la vie des gens

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Ministry of Finance
Communications
250 387-1248
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Ministère des Finances
Communications
250 387-1248
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Media Contacts
Ministry of Finance
Communications
250 387-1248
Renseignements additionnels
Ministère des Finances
Communications
250 387-1248

Backgrounders

The B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit

Budget 2019 introduces the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit, which will provide parents up to $28,800 over a child’s upbringing to help ensure that they have the opportunities they need to thrive.

The B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit will give almost $400 million annually to approximately 290,000 families throughout British Columbia. All families earning up to $97,487 with one child under 18 and all families earning up to $114,487 with two children under 18 will receive the benefit.

Budget 2019 replaces and expands the Early Childhood Tax Benefit into the new B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit. The new benefit provides most families with substantially more annual support and is available three times longer than the previous benefit for each child.

Instead of ending at six years of age, the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit continues up to the age of 18. The maximum annual benefit, at $1,600 for a first child, is more than double the previous maximum benefit and is designed to give more support to working- and middle-class families. The maximum benefit increases to $2,600 for two children and $3,400 for three children.

This means:

  • A family earning up to $25,000 annually with one child will receive $28,800 over the child’s upbringing or $1,600 annually.
  • A family earning up to $25,000 annually with two children will receive at least $46,800 over the children’s upbringing or $2,600 annually.
  • A family earning between $47,500 and $80,000 annually with one child will receive $12,600 over the child’s upbringing or $700 annually.
  • A family earning between $55,500 and $80,000 annually with two children will receive at least $24,840 over the children’s upbringing or $1,380 annually.

The benefit is reduced by 4% of family net income over $25,000 until it reaches $700 for the first child, $680 for the second child and $660 for each subsequent child under the age of 18. The benefit is then phased out at a rate of 4% of family net income over $80,000. The $25,000 and $80,000 thresholds will be indexed to inflation in future years.

Effective Oct. 1, 2020, parents will be eligible for the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit when they apply for the Canada Child Benefit. Parents who are registered for the Canada Child Benefit before Sept. 30, 2020, will be automatically registered for the B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit and will receive both the new provincial benefit and the federal benefit in monthly payments.

The B.C. Child Opportunity Benefit builds on the B.C. government’s work to make life better and more affordable for families, including historic investments toward universal child care, eliminating Medical Services Plan premiums and making sure every child has access to the opportunities they deserve.

CleanBC

To put British Columbia on a path to a cleaner, better future, Budget 2019 invests $902 million over three years for CleanBC programming – making B.C. the leader in Canada in tackling climate change and protecting B.C.’s clean air, land and water.

The CleanBC programs in Budget 2019 will help B.C. achieve its target to lower carbon pollution by 18.9 megatonnes by 2030 with $354 million in operating funding, $299 million for programs in development and $26 million in capital investments to help people and businesses reduce pollution.

Additionally, Budget 2019 invests a further $223 million over three years to increase the climate action tax credit in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Effective July 1, 2019, the maximum annual climate action tax credit will be increased by 14% for adults and children, meaning low- and middle-income families of four will receive up to $400 this year. As a result of the annual increases, the climate action tax credit amounts on July 1, 2021 will be almost 70% higher than on July 1, 2017.

The B.C. government undertook consultations with the BC Green Party caucus on Budget 2019, as committed to in the Confidence and Supply Agreement. The government is particularly appreciative of the BC Green Party caucus’s partnership in the development of CleanBC and the program reflects many months of collaborative work.

CleanBC Programs

The CleanBC plan is a pathway to achieve the Province’s legislated climate targets of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by the year 2030, based on 2007 levels.

Budget 2019 funds dozens of initiatives as part of government’s CleanBC plan to tackle climate pollution, including:

  • $107 million to help British Columbians switch to cleaner transportation through point-of-sale incentives; funding for new charging stations; training and research; active transportation initiatives and a new zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard.
  • $58 million, in addition to capital funding, to make buildings more energy efficient, including incentives for homes and businesses to install high-efficiency heating equipment and building envelope improvements.
  • $18 million to work with Indigenous and remote communities to move to cleaner energy sources.
  • $168 million over three years to assist large industry in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an industrial incentive and clean industry fund to make their operations cleaner.
  • $3 million over three years to support the implementation and monitoring of CleanBC by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Quick Facts:

  • The investments in CleanBC will provide significant incentives and savings to British Columbians, such as:
    • Saving British Columbians up to $6,000 on the purchase of a zero-emission vehicle and approximately $1,500 per year in fuel costs by switching to electricity.
    • Providing up to $14,000 for homeowners to switch to high-efficiency heating equipment and to make building envelope improvements. People can receive $2,000 to replace a fossil fuel (oil, propane or natural gas) heating system with an electric air-source heat pump; up to $1,000 to upgrade their windows and doors to be better insulated; and up to $700 toward a high-efficiency natural gas furnace.
    • Providing a family of four up to $400 this coming year through the enhanced climate-action tax credit.

Learn More:

For more information on CleanBC, visit: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/

For CleanBC highlights, visit: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/436/2018/12/CleanBC_Highlights_Report.pdf

A detailed list of Budget 2019 funding for programs to meet GHG targets follows: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/6652_CleanBC_BudgetTable_Final.pdf

 

Fiscal Plan 2019-20 – 2021-22

Making Life Better

British Columbia is an economic leader in Canada. Private-sector forecasters expect B.C. to have the highest rate of gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Canada in 2019 and 2020, and B.C. has had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada for over 17 months.

B.C.’s economic success should benefit the people who make the economy work, which is why the B.C. government is choosing to invest in people, while balancing the budget. By ensuring that everyone has a chance to succeed, government is supporting a strong, sustainable economy for today and into the future.

Strong, Stable Economic Growth

The Budget 2019 forecast for B.C. real GDP growth has increased from 1.8% to 2.4% in 2019 and from 2.0% to 2.3% in 2020, compared to the First Quarterly Report 2018, with growth rates of 2.1% expected in 2021 and 2.0% in both 2022 and 2023. These changes partly reflect recent developments regarding the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement and the final investment decision on the LNG Canada project, the single largest private sector investment in Canadian history.

This, along with other factors, resulted in the Economic Forecast Council (EFC) substantially upgrading its projections for B.C.’s economic performance in both 2019 and 2020. An average of six private-sector forecasters (a subset of the EFC) expect B.C.’s economic growth to rank at the top of provincial standings.

The main upside risks to the economic outlook include less domestic monetary policy tightening, a weaker Canadian dollar and a more resilient U.S. economy. The main downside risks include uncertainty regarding global trade policy, fiscal sustainability at ICBC and BC Hydro, weakening global economic activity, lower commodity prices, as well as ongoing economic challenges in Asia and the euro zone. To manage these risks, the Budget 2019 economic forecast is prudent compared to the Economic Forecast Council’s outlook.

Budget Outlook

Budget 2019 projects surpluses of:

  • $274 million in 2019-20
  • $287 million in 2020-21
  • $585 million in 2021-22

The B.C. government has included several layers of prudence in the fiscal plan to help account for lower than expected revenues, unforeseen expenses or emergencies. Budget 2019 includes a forecast allowance of $500 million in 2019-20, $300 million in 2020-21, and $300 million in 2021-22. Budget 2019 also includes contingencies of $750 million in 2019-20, $400 million in 2020-21 and $400 million in 2021-22.

Revenue Outlook

Total government revenue is forecast at $59 billion in 2019-20, $60 billion in 2020-21 and $62.5 billion in 2021-22. This growth is driven by strengthening economic activity; there are no new revenue-raising tax measures in Budget 2019.

Expense Outlook

Total expenses over the three-year fiscal plan are forecast at $58.3 billion in 2019-20, $59.5 billion in 2020-21 and $61.6 billion in 2021-22.

Capital Spending

Taxpayer-supported capital spending over the fiscal plan is a record-level $20.1 billion and includes investments needed to support a strong, stable economy, such as:

  • Health: $4.4 billion to support new major construction projects and upgrading of health facilities, such as the redevelopment of the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster, a new patient-care tower at the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops and a new St. Paul’s Hospital at the Station Street site in Vancouver.
  • Transportation: $6.6 billion for priority projects, such as the Pattullo Bridge replacement, the Broadway subway, four-laning on Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon and the replacement of Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous.
  • Education: $2.7 billion to maintain, replace, renovate or expand K-12 facilities, such as a new Northeast Elementary school in Fort St. John, a new school in Kelowna and expansion schools for Sullivan Heights Secondary in Surrey and Royal Bay Secondary in the Sooke school district. 
  • Post-secondary education: $3.3 billion to build capacity and help meet the province’s future workforce needs in key sectors, including a new sustainable energy engineering building at Simon Fraser University in Surrey, a new health sciences centre at Camosun College in Victoria and a renewed and expanded trades training facility at Selkirk College in Nelson.

Debt Affordability

As a result of prudent fiscal management, the B.C. government successfully eliminated British Columbia’s operating debt in the second quarter of 2018-19 and is now free of operating debt for the first time in over 40 years. This means B.C. is in one of the strongest fiscal positions in the country.

B.C.’s taxpayer-supported debt is projected to be $44 billion at the end of 2018-19 – $1.2 billion lower than projected at Budget 2018. This means the B.C. government’s borrowing costs will be lower, saving money that can be invested into making life better for the people of B.C.

The taxpayer-supported debt-to-GDP ratio, a key metric used by credit rating agencies, is expected to remain near 16% over the fiscal plan period, while funding record levels of capital spending.

Supplementary Estimates

With the elimination of the operating debt, the B.C. government is tabling supplementary estimates. For the first time in more than a decade, the B.C. government is using supplementary estimates to reinvest part of the government’s surplus into the services people need.

Highlights include $100 million for northern communities to improve infrastructure to prepare for community growth ahead of LNG development, $89 million for health research grants and $50 million for Connecting British Columbia to improve internet connectivity for Indigenous and rural communities.

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