British Columbia (B.C.) Provincial Budget 2023: A Stronger Province for Everyone
Katrine Conroy, Finance Minister for British Columbia, tabled Budget 2023 for the province of British Columbia on February 28th, 2023. This is the first British Columbia Budget tabled by new BC Premier David Eby, who took office on November 18, 2022.
The provincial government has allotted a total of $81.2 billion in spending for the 2023-24 fiscal year to support British Columbians through economic, healthcare, and environmental challenges to create a more sustainable future for all.
It is important to note that B.C.’s Budget 2023 follows a year of high inflation for the province. Inflation peaked at 8% in May 2022 and dropped to 6% as of December 2022. As a result, prices have risen significantly, particularly in housing, food, and transportation. Mid-2023, inflation is expected to fall an additional 3% and return to 2% by 2024 according to the Bank of Canada (BoC).
As outlined in British Columbia Budget 2023, the province will focus on building a stronger province for all. With a current fiscal year budget of $81.2 billion, Budget 2023 highlights health care, affordability, skills development, and clean technology & zero emissions goals. View the full list of British Columbia grant, loan, and wage subsidies.
It is critical that businesses understand provincial budgets to gain insight into government funding opportunities administered by provincial bodies to stimulate economic growth. However, these documents are often long, and complex, making it difficult to decipher actionable takeaways for your business. To make understanding budgets easier, this analysis highlights the key takeaways for B.C. businesses in British Columbia’s 2023 Budget:
- Healthcare support;
- Economic stability and cleantech funding; and
- Natural resources and critical mineral sector support.
“B.C. is a great place to live, but people are facing real challenges – not only from global inflation and the pandemic, but from ongoing and systemic challenges. This year’s budget helps protect people who can’t afford today’s high prices and takes action on the issues people care about, like finding affordable housing and accessing health care.”Katrine Conroy, Minister of Finance for British Columbia
Funding British Columbia’s Healthcare System
Budget 2023 provides $6.4 billion in new investments over three years to strengthen the public healthcare system, including:
Investing in Healthcare Facilities
The healthcare system will receive $2.6 billion over the next three years, including $270 million in additional cancer care.
Stimulating the Healthcare Workforce
- A new health workforce strategy of $1 billion over three years, which includes actions aimed at retaining, redesigning, recruiting, and training the workforce; and
- In the next three years, approximately $1 billion will be spent on a new compensation model for family practitioners.
Funding for Healthcare Services
A total of $867 million will be allocated to mental health, addictions, and treatment services across the board.
Funding COVID-19 Measures
In 2023/24, $1.0 billion will be allocated to ongoing pandemic recovery contingencies to support pandemic-related short-term funding initiatives and new programs, such as:
- Support for COVID-19 management, vaccine resources, and more; and
- Support for the tourism sector with funding based on priority initiatives for economic recovery.
The investments mentioned above provide significant opportunities for workers in or looking to enter the healthcare industry. There may be limited opportunities for private businesses to capitalize on these investments, though the budget mentions new bursary and grant opportunities for healthcare employee training and post-secondary students. As for medical facilities, substantial funding to improve facilities, as well as resources for hospitals and other care centres can be expected.
Lastly, businesses that operate in life sciences and research and development industries may see funding opportunities for Covid-related projects. $875 million funding is confirmed for projects such as personal protective equipment (PPE), vaccines, and ongoing preventative measures, though there are no confirmed new programs yet.
Investing in Economic Sustainability and Clean Tech
For the Province’s economic development objectives, Budget 2023 allocates approximately $1.4 billion over three years towards clean tech grant and loan programs, as well as hiring wage subsidies and training grants.
Through the StrongerBC Economic Plan, British Columbia is investing in an inclusive, sustainable, and innovative economy. B.C. will continue to invest in the development and attraction of British Columbia talent with intentions of growing the economy. Additionally, the Province will help communities build climate resilience while continuing to promote inclusive and clean growth.
Grants for Skills Upgrading and Training Programs
The 2023 budget will be investing in skills and training programs to ensure constituents can contribute meaningfully to the British Columbia economy. British Columbia is committed to providing people with the skills and opportunities they need via these initiatives:
- A $480 million Future Ready Plan to be released in Spring 2023; and
- A new short-term skills training grant is expected to provide $39 million over three years. This grant funds relevant skills training to help applicants succeed in high-paying, high-demand jobs. Grant details will be available later in 2023.
Interested in learning more about government funding grants, loans, and other options to subsidize your hiring and training costs? Sign up for our free webinar onHiring & Training Grants for Co-op Students & New Grads.
Also, watch our free educational video to learn more about how government funding can support your hiring & training needs.
Attracting Skilled Immigrants
B.C.’s ability to attract skilled workers is crucial to filling job vacancies. Over a million job openings are projected over the next decade. Many of these jobs will be filled by immigrants.
- A total of $58 million will be allocated over three years to support newcomers and accelerate foreign credential recognition; and
- The Anti-Racist Data Act will be implemented and $9 million is dedicated to development of a new anti-racism act over the next three years.
Electric Vehicle Initiatives
British Columbia is determined to reduce carbon emissions by transition transportation to clean alternatives. British Columbia budget 2023 supports this goal with electric vehicle (EV) grants and infrastructure funding support:
- $44 million over three years to support British Columbia’s transition to a zero-emission economy; and
- $40 million in additional funding for CleanBC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots (CVP) to assist businesses in deploying zero-emission commercial vehicles.
With CleanBC Go Electric, British Columbia is making the shift to cleaner transportation. In addition to reducing prices and improving charging infrastructure, the program supports the growth of B.C.’s electric vehicle industry. View our directory of Canadian government grant, loan, and tax credit programs for automotive manufacturers.
Is your business interested in learning more about government funding opportunities for clean technology projects? Visit our Cleantech Funding Directory to filter through the top programs available to Canadian businesses today.
- The provincial public sector infrastructure will receive capital funding in the amount of $100 million per year for three years to repair damage caused by climate emergencies; and
- Forest service roads will receive $35 million in operating funding and $14 million in capital funding for maintenance and upgrade costs. The funding will support safe and reliable access to communities and recreation areas.
British Columbia’s Plan for Natural Resources and Critical Minerals
The natural resources of British Columbia provide significant stimulation to the economy, such as harvesting fish and wildlife, logging, and mining. However, these businesses can be faced with considerable challenges such as slow permit processes. These complications are addressed in Budget 2023 by:
- Over the next three years, $21 million will be allocated to establish eight more regional Forest Landscape Planning tables to support the implementation of the Old Growth Strategic Review’s recommendations;
- $77 million over three years will be invested to accelerate the permitting process and modernize the way that permits are delivered; and
- In a bid to improve mineral extraction and value chain opportunities, $6 million will be invested in developing B.C.’s Critical Minerals Strategy. The Critical Minerals Strategy, stimulates future clean economic development by increasing access to geoscience for critical mineral exploration, as well as assessing the potential for critical minerals processing and manufacturing.
Of particular interest for BC businesses is the Future Ready Plan.
The Future Ready Plan will allocate funding to small and medium-sized businesses to prepare for a future global economy by implementing solutions to labour market challenges. Workforce skills may need to be upgraded in areas supporting innovative and clean growth, such as manufacturing and mass timber.
The British Columbia 2023 budget will be making some adjustments to tax programs and incentives with the goal of advancing research, promoting sustainability, and more.
Reduced Tax on Natural Gas and Propane for Greenhouse Growers
Natural gas and propane will be taxed at a lower rate for qualifying greenhouse growers beginning April 1, 2023.
Natural gas and propane used for heating and generating CO2 for crop production are eligible for carbon tax reductionsfor qualifying greenhouse growers. Growers of vegetables, fruits, bedding plants, flowers, ornamental plants, tree seedlings, or nursery landscape plants will be subject to the adjusted tax rate at the point of sale.
Eligible businesses must have revenues of $20,000 or more in the previous 12 months, and expected revenues of $20,000 or more in the next 12 months.
More Tax Updates from the BC Budget
To read a comprehensive review of the major tax updates from British Columbia’s 2023 budget, review this in-depth tax alert for more information.
Learn More About Government Funding in British Columbia (BC)
The British Columbia Budget 2023 outlined what B.C. businesses can expect in 2023. Businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and municipalities can benefit from the initiatives mentioned above in a variety of ways.
To learn more about current government grants, loans, and tax credit programs for businesses in British Columbia, visit the Mentor Works Western Canada Funding Directory to find programs that may be suitable for your business’ projects.
It is our goal at Mentor Works, a Ryan Company to help Canadian businesses find government funding opportunities, resources, and news that drives innovation, productivity improvements, and strong economic growth throughout the country.
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