Recovery focuses on inclusion, sustainability and innovation: Robinson

The money will go towards increasing places in trades training and connecting communities with high-speed Internet

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Finance Minister Selina Robinson hopes targeted spending in areas such as skilled trades education, life science research and mineral exploration will support the government’s goal of creating a “more inclusive economy.” , sustainable and innovative”.

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Budget 2022-23 includes an initial $50 million to support elements of the government’s economic plan released last week, $21 million to add spaces in trades training programs and $289 million to five years to accelerate the connection of 280 small communities to high-speed internet.

“A key element of what has guided our government’s thinking is that the state of our economy is not just about our economic growth and our financial strength,” Robinson said in his presentation to reporters, but “that the growth of the economy is shared across the province and how this financial strength reflects our values.

The budget, however, hinges on continued economic growth, which is expected to increase by 4% in 2022 and 2.5% next year, and on a demographic situation which, combined, will create one million job vacancies over the next decade. .

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And while BC businesses welcomed the expansion of more affordable child care and more skilled trades training, businesses hoped to see more in the budget to meet the rising cost. to do business.

A survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business found that 91% of respondents did not think the government was focusing enough on managing the rising costs they face, such as fuel, CPP contributions, the cost of paid sick leave and taxes. .

“CFIB recognizes that the province has handled the pandemic well by allowing businesses to remain open as much as possible, but small businesses are still in survival mode,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs.

Dormuth called the 2022-23 budget a missed opportunity to help small businesses.

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“We are approaching two years into the pandemic and only 35% of BC small businesses have returned to normal sales and have (each) racked up $129,000 in COVID-19 related debt,” Dormuth said.

The budget did not contain enough financial detail to support many of the government’s plans. Thus, according to Bridgitte Anderson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, it “has limited incentives to stimulate economic growth and competitiveness”.

It “does not address necessary tax and regulatory reform, particularly for our small and medium-sized businesses,” Anderson said.

Robinson, however, said the government “will continue to make investments” where it has already.

“What I’ve certainly heard from companies over the years is that making sure we had good childcare, that would make a big difference to them,” Robinson said, “S’ ensure we have skilled trades, because one of the biggest pressures is finding people to work.

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The largest item is $195 million for Genome BC and Michael Smith Health Research BC to “jump start” the growth of the province’s life sciences sector, which Robinson says has made a significant contribution to the development of vaccines against COVID-19.

The budget includes an additional $18 million over three years to overhaul mining regulations through its successful Mining Excellence Strategy in the resource sector. Robinson said BC had more than $600 million in mineral exploration last year, the highest in 10 years.

British Columbia’s economic situation is not without its challenges.

  1. Attorney General David Eby (left) and Premier John Horgan watch Finance Minister Selina Robinson deliver the budget speech at the Legislative Assembly in Victoria, British Columbia, Tuesday, February 22, 2022.

    BC Budget 2022: Province Will Run a $5.4 Billion Deficit and Spend More on Child Care, Climate and Health Care

  2. Boroughs under construction on 20th Avenue in Surrey, British Columbia, January 9, 2022.

    BC Budget 2022: Funds set aside to help homeless people and continue to build affordable housing

  3. BC's tourism sector will receive $25 million to continue the recovery from the pandemic, with funding for non-profit arts organizations and to support the safe restart of fairs, festivals and events.

    What Budget 2022 BC Means for You: Six Things to Know

  4. British Columbia's budget forecast, released on Tuesday, is based on continued economic growth, which is expected to increase by 4% in 2022 and 2.5% next year.

    BC Budget 2022: Economic Recovery Focuses on Inclusion, Sustainability and Innovation, Says Robinson

  5. A woman holds an eagle feather as she listens to speakers during the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ceremonies on Parliament Hill, Thursday, September 30, 2021 in Ottawa

    BC Budget 2022: Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is a ‘process’, says Robinson

Robinson’s financial plan includes $185 million over three years for forest-dependent communities affected by planned postponements of old-growth logging in 26,000 square kilometers of forests.

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These will be new funds over the next three years, in addition to current budget year supports that have been funded through contingency funds.

In the budget speech, Robinson said the money is intended to cover the transition to retirement for workers over 55, with payments of $75,000 per person, but will also include community economic revitalization and retraining. in new areas.

Over the past year, the companies have sought greater certainty from the government over what it sees as a lack of decision-making input into the deferral process.

Robinson, however, said the government’s plan to redistribute some of its replaceable forest tenures to First Nations will create additional opportunities for partnerships with communities.

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