British Columbia Budget 2024

February 22, 2024


In British Columbia’s 2024 Budget, Premier David Eby and his finance Minister Katrine Conroy have doubled down, steady in their spend-now philosophy. They’re placing their bets on a suite of investments — housing affordability reforms, bolstering healthcare, and fostering First Nations’ economic participation. It’s a clear signal: Eby and Conroy are staking the future on the hope of a more balanced and enduring prosperity for all British Columbians.

These are high-stakes moves. The surplus that cushioned BC’s financials is now ceding ground to a historic deficit — a testament to the government’s gamble on the long game. They’re banking on transformative policies like BC Builds, aimed at making housing more affordable, and an improved healthcare system, to carve out a legacy. Eby believes this isn’t just spending; it’s an investment in the province’s economic future, albeit against the grain of fiscal caution. The 2024 Budget is their declaration that immediate, tangible enhancements in living standards justify a significant dip into the red.

Fiscal Overview
British Columbia’s Budget 2024 presents as a plan that doesn’t shy away from the bold, big-ticket expenditures the BC NDP believes is needed to forge a province ready for the future’s demands. It’s a fiscal handshake, committing an additional $13 billion in operating funding to uphold a burgeoning demand for government services, ensuring the public sector is not just maintained but energized. The deficits are anticipated to taper, dropping from a record $7.9 billion in the coming fiscal year tapering down to $6.3 billion by 2026/27.
Government’s consolidated spending is projected to balloon to $92.7 billion by 2026/27, with contingencies stoutly pegged at $10.6 billion to buffer the unforeseen. Budget 2024 predicts revenue forecasts to climb to $86.4 billion, underpinned by cautious yet optimistic economic growth projections and the growth of the province’s natural-resource sector.

The capital commitments are nothing short of ambitious, with a staggering $43.3 billion dedicated to infrastructure over the next three years, for projects such as schools, post-secondary facilities, housing, health-care facilities, and transportation projects, including highway improvements, landslide cleanup and prevention, and bridge repairs replacements. In tandem, commercial Crown corporations are set to inject $13.2 billion into energy projects, propelling British Columbia towards a horizon where it hopes the economy is as clean as it is robust.


In BC’s 2024 fiscal playbook, the housing market is getting a strategic overhaul. Premier Eby’s government is hoping to cool the speculative frenzy with the new BC Home Flipping Tax – a move to keep house-flippers in check and funnel their gains back into affordable housing. They’re also giving first-time buyers a leg up with boosted Property Transfer Tax exemptions, potentially pocketing buyers up to $8,000 in savings. The BC Builds program is also on the offensive, armed with $198 million more to kickstart housing projects at a pace that looks to leave the old three-to-five year timeline in the dust. It’s clear the province is looking to score big with middle-income families, making affordability more than a slogan. And for renters? The government laying out a $400 tax credit and a Rental Protection Fund to guard against the affordability blitz. This budget’s housing strategy? It’s less about playing defense and more about a full-throttle push for housing that doesn’t break the bank.

Healthcare’s getting a shot in the arm in BC’s 2024 budget with a $2 billion cash injection to keep the healthcare system robust and responsive. Over the next three years, $13 billion in capital investments will bolster the construction of long-term care, acute care, and cancer care facilities. Cancer care’s also getting a boost with $270 million to up the ante on treatment and prevention. Seniors aren’t left out either; there’s a $354 million pledge to ensure they’ve got the support to stay in their homes, health and happy. Of that, $227 million is set aside for regulated home health-care professionals and $127 million for community services to aid in day-to-day living.

Additionally, a ground-breaking publicly funded in-vitro fertilization program is set to receive $68 million, ensuring that financial constraints don’t impede the parents of the future. This budget’s approach to healthcare? What’s more, in addressing the surging demand for mental health and addiction services, the budget earmarks $117 million to sustain over 2200 community mental-health and substance-use treatment beds. An additional $49 million backs existing harm-reduction efforts, $39 million strengthens crisis response teams, and $10 million is directed towards the development and implementation of further treatment and recovery programs, including the expansion of the Red Fish Healing model. For healthcare, the budget is clear; it’s about prescribing a heavy dose of funding to ensure a clean bill of health for BC.

Indigenous Reconciliation
The BC government is rolling up its sleeves to forge ahead with reconciliation. At centre stage, the First Nations Equity Financing Framework, a cornerstone of the 2024 Budget aimed at propelling First Nations into the heart of economic development. The strategy here is clear: foster self-determination and propel the growth of First Nations governments by aligning fiscal relationships with the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It’s a hands-on approach to economic inclusion, introducing new equity financing tools to fuel ownership partnerships and ensure First Nations are forefront in the prosperity of projects across their lands. Financial levers such as a $10 million kickstarter in the special account for equity participation, and a $1 billion loan guarantee cap to boot, ready to be reviewed each fiscal year.

BC continues to recognize the importance of engagement with First Nations for comprehensive participation in projects that yield revenue and benefits. It’s not just about the dollars and cents; it’s about informed decision-making and solidifying regulatory certainty, but there’s not a lot of value if the infrastructure isn’t there. That’s why at least eleven First Nations are looking at a safer tomorrow with nearly $24 million earmarked for road maintenance over four years, including $12 million in capacity funding for First Nations to manage their own maintenance work. With an extra $8 million injected into capital funds for road and infrastructure improvements, the province is ensuring these lifelines are not just maintained but modernized for the future.

Opposition Reactions
“This is the worst example of reckless spending that I have ever seen in a government budget. Full stop. It’s frankly shocking,” Kevin Falcon, BC United, Leader of the Official Opposition

“This is not John Horgan’s BC NDP. As Premier, David Eby is spending more than ever before to get less for working people,” John Rustad, Conservative Party of British Columbia Leader

“This budget is disappointingly familiar; it lacks innovation and forward-thinking initiatives. This government has demonstrated it’s not interested in creating a livable world for our children. Instead, they are telling British Columbians to fend for themselves.” Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley.


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