Today, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released the BC Budget 2024 Consultation Report. The document includes a summary of many organizations and individuals that present to the Committee on a broad list of topics.
“We are pleased that the committee has recommended to the BC Government to implement many of our policy recommendations,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “One item missed was the commitment to a comprehensive review and modernization of the BC tax system to help business.”
Surrey Board of Trade recommendations that the committee endorsed include:
· Eliminate BC Hydro’s Step 2 rate.
Recycling and Waste
· Encourage electric and zero-emission vehicle battery recycling by establishing incentives for vehicle battery recycling programs; commissioning a study and action plan; and providing investment for current recycling plants to increase their capacity.
FISCAL AND REGULATORY POLICY
Specific Regulatory Measures
· Evaluate the regulatory and approval processes across all ministries and agencies to ensure timeliness, efficiency, and predictability, including by working with the federal government to align processes.
· Review the employer health tax exemption threshold for small businesses to address impacts related to rising wages and inflation.
· Provide funding for programs and organizations that support young entrepreneurs and new businesses.
Health Human Resources
· Address staff shortages in the health care sector through:
a. recruitment and retention incentives;
b. streamlining credential recognition for out-of-BC health care providers;
c. providing funding for the completion of minor training variances for internationally trained professionals; and,
d. increasing post-secondary seats in areas such as nursing, medical radiation technology, midwifery, and speech language pathology and audiology.
· Regulate physician assistants under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia to allow for physician assistants to be incorporated in the BC health care system.
· Increase the full spectrum of housing supply in partnership with municipal and federal governments by:
a. implementing incentives to build housing, including non-market housing;
b. partnering with community organizations and foundations;
c. increasing investments in supportive housing; and
d. providing funding to address rising costs.
· Coordinate a housing policy across all levels of government to remove barriers to housing supply, including creating a housing development and affordability dashboard to measure availability and progress.
PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
Natural Disasters and Emergency Preparedness
· Prioritize investment in flood mitigation efforts, including for building appropriate infrastructure, conducting floodplain mapping, investing in an earthquake resilience strategy, and providing funding for sub-regional and regional planning with First Nations participation.
· Provide $6.75 million in base funding to regional districts for emergency management.
Not for Profit Organizations
· Support the not for profit sector by streamlining grant processes, providing stable, multi-year funding, and reviewing the allowable administrative ratios in contracts and evaluating access to a portable sector-wide pension plan.
TRANSPORTATION AND TRANSIT
· Provide multi-year financing for accessible pathways for active transportation between communities.
· Advocate to the federal government to launch a tri-partite national commission with the provinces and transit agencies to develop a more resilient and equitable funding model for public transit and to move forward the launch of the Permanent Transit Fund by two years.
Read the full Budget Consultation Report here
Anita Huberman, 604-634-0342, email@example.com