This afternoon, BC’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Janet Austen, opened the 3rd Session of the 42nd Parliament of British Columbia with the Speech from the Throne.
It noted that a new economic plan and a provincial budget would be coming soon. We expect the new economic vision to be unveiled next week by the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. The provincial budget will be tabled by the Hon. Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance, on February 22.
The majority of the speech focussed on initiatives currently underway in the province to make BC stronger, and make life more affordable. Highlighted efforts included:
In addition to the summary of current activities, there was a hint of what might be included in the upcoming economic vision. The Speech briefly noted BC’s current economic strengths in mining, life sciences and technology. The new vision was described as “grow(ing) the economy with purpose” with the goal of having economic growth that is inclusive and sustainable by creating the “high-skill, low-carbon economy of tomorrow”. It noted that forecasted labour shortages and skill gaps will need to be addressed, and called it both a challenge and an opportunity. It noted a new workforce readiness plan will be released later this year.
The preview of the February 22 budget noted that “we can’t cut our way to a better future”, and mentioned the need to invest in people, childcare, and responding to the immediate and ongoing effects of the pandemic and extreme weather. Investment in high-speed internet connectivity was also highlighted, alongside fighting climate change and protecting communities from future climate-related disasters.
To read the Throne Speech, please visit: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-debates-proceedings/42nd-parliament/3rd-session/throne-speech