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On February 28, the Government of British Columbia released its 2023 budget and fiscal plan, StrongerBC for everyone. Building on its previous commitments, Budget 2023 proposes a range of measures focused on areas related to public healthcare, mental health and addictions care, housing affordability, public safety, and attracting and retaining labour in B.C. through the Future Ready plan.

The Budget was met with criticism from business groups and organizations, in particular referring to the lack of significant measures to alleviate the cost of doing business, generate investment or promote long-term competitiveness for B.C. The business advocates groups, such as the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and BC Business Council, refer to the budget as being heavily focused on spending while paying little attention to driving investment and the infrastructure needed to grow the economy. While the current year ending March 31 projects a surplus of $3.6 billion, the Premier and Cabinet have made clear that more spending may be on the way as the Budget returns to deficit spending of $4.2 billion for 2023-24.

At the same time, investments focused on areas related to public healthcare, mental health and addiction care, housing, and public safety were positively evaluated. Also, the groups are pleased with a significant investment of $480M for the Future Ready Plan to be announced later this year.

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2023 B.C. Budget Analysis

B.C. Budget 2023 plans for sizable operating deficits and higher debt while doing little to strengthen the foundations of prosperity