VICTORIA, B.C. – The provincial government unveiled its 2022 budget today with a focus on child care, and investments to make communities safer from toxic drugs and devastating climate events. Other highlights include a renewed commitment to act on Indigenous reconciliation and high-level support for businesses that still face challenges due to the uneven economic recovery from the pandemic.
B.C. Minister of Finance Selina Robinson, who will meet with Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members tomorrow, was clear that the province is expecting economic growth even as the provincial debt increases. The $71 billion budget for 2022/23 is expected to have a deficit of $5.5 billion, followed by a $4.2 billion deficit in 2023/24. Robinson told reporters that the province needs to rebuild damaged transportation infrastructure so it can withstand future climate events.
“Today's budget provided more of a compass than a roadmap for businesses in terms of our ongoing economic recovery. But we’re happy the province is not looking to increase taxes to cover its shortfalls,” Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. “There was some good high-level news about infrastructure investments and complex care for our region, and we hope to hear details soon.”
Greater Victoria is getting two complex care facilities, though specific locations were not announced. The budget also includes $84 million over three years for planning and capital funding for upgrading the Belleville Terminal.
The tourism sector has been allocated $25 million to help with recovery efforts, though a further $915 million was set aside for potential pandemic-related expenses, including health care costs or economic recovery funding.
The budget did not offer any insight into the province’s plan to link the minimum wage to the rate of inflation. Staff from the health and finance ministries told The Chamber that details are still being worked out and will be made public in the coming months. There was also no mention of the newly mandated five-days of paid sick leave, or softening of the Employer Health Tax, which took $207 million more than anticipated from B.C. employers last year.
Greater Victoria is also inline for numerous “bus and shoulder” expansions to improve regional transit, and money has been earmarked for the transit hub at Uptown in Saanich.
“The Chamber has long advocated for child care as an investment in our economy, and we applaud the province’s commitment to adding 40,000 new spaces within seven years. We also are encouraged by some of the steps to address our lack of housing supply,” Williams said. “I look forward to speaking with Minister Robinson tomorrow for more details on these and other plans.”
To arrange an interview with The Chamber, or to register as media for tomorrow’s event with Minister Robinson, email email@example.com.
Conversation with Hon. Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance
Jim Zeeben, Communications and Project Manager
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
250 360-3471 | firstname.lastname@example.org
About Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community for all through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require. In 2020, the Chamber Champions initiative added a powerful resource to provide leadership and guidance to our organization. Current Champions are: Big Wheel Burger, CHEK News, CIBC, Kinetic Construction, Knappett Projects, Mike Geric Construction, MNP, PARC Retirement Living, RBC, Scotiabank, Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, Spinnakers, TELUS Business, and the University of Victoria. Find out more at victoriachamber.ca.
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require.