Recently, our government introduced our provincial budget for 2023 – a plan that invests in health and mental health care, affordable housing, and a clean economy for people. We are also making historic investments to help British Columbians with the cost of living. I want to share a few highlights from this year’s budget with you.
As of April 1, B.C. will be the first jurisdiction in Canada to make prescription contraception free for all residents. This means that people using prescription birth control will save an average of $25 a month, and up to $10,000 over a lifetime. This is a huge win for gender equity in our province, and I’m so grateful to those across British Columbia who worked so hard to make this change possible.
I know many people in our community are concerned about the climate crisis and want to make sure we take care of our planet for future generations. With Budget 2023, we’re investing more in CleanBC, one of the strongest climate plans in North America. This includes better infrastructure for people who walk, cycle or take transit, to help reduce vehicle emissions in our communities. Additionally, the Climate Action Tax Credit will be expanded to support more families, offsetting the impact of the carbon tax for over 80 per cent of households. Starting in July, eligible families will receive a maximum of $900 through this credit.
As minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, I am pleased to share that this budget includes $75 million to accelerate reconciliation agreements with First Nations. Reconciliation is embedded in all aspects of Budget 2023, including an Indigenous Housing Fund, expanding Indigenous treatment centres, creating 10 new Indigenous justice centres, and funding for Next Generation 911 services, which will help improve safety in many communities.
The University of Victoria is a key part of our community. Budget 2023 provides additional funding for a National Centre for Indigenous Laws at UVic, along with student housing and dining facilities, and an expansion to the engineering and computer science building.
We know that working together is the only way forward. This budget continues the work our government is doing to support people and make B.C. a more affordable, welcoming place for all to make their home, in our neighborhoods and across B.C.
Murray Rankin is the MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head.
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