B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan announce $5 billion emergency fund for COVID-19 unemployment and other relief, B.C. legislature, March 23, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James expects to lay out the extent of the COVID-19 impact on the province’s economy this week, but how she will deploy a $1.5 billion relief fund will likely have to wait until August.

James is preparing to provide an update on the coronavirus pandemic’s effects on B.C. July 14. It will set out the progress of the province’s relief efforts for individuals and businesses, and include a range of financial forecasts about what the future holds for the B.C. economy.

But the $1.5 billion in borrowed money held in reserve for a recovery plan will not be finalized until after a six-week public consultation that runs until July 21, with analysis after that.

“Yes, we will have additional measures that will come later, after our consultation occurs,” James told reporters at the B.C. legislature July 13.

Many of the government’s measures are already in place, such as tax payment deferrals and reduced business school tax, plus the gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions on business and public activities. With the $1.5 billion recovery fund left from the $5 billion emergency appropriation voted by MLAs, the cost will be enormous.

“I’ve tabled legislation that says for the next three years we will not balance the budget. We will in fact have deficits,” James said. “But each and every year that’s going to have to be looked at. We’re going to have to see where the economic recovery is occurring. I’m afraid it’s a challenging time, and you’ll see that in some of the statistics tomorrow, when it comes to economic forecasters who have a wide range of what they anticipate could be coming, because of the uncertainty that’s there for, not British Columbia but in fact for Canada and the world.”

B.C. Liberal MLAs have called for faster action, and leader Andrew Wilkinson has sent a series of letters to Premier John Horgan with possible ways to use the relief money. Among those was declaring a sales tax holiday for struggling businesses, rather than just allowing them to defer sending in the sales tax they collect on transactions.

RELATED: B.C. legislature recalled for emergency summer session

RELATED: Online survey for B.C. pandemic fund open until July 21


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Injured animal highlights need to local woman for rehabilitation services

Christina Abbott ended up having the baby skunk put down due to the lack a nearby facility

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

‘Health First’ leads planning for SD51 re-opening.

The province wants final plans by Aug. 26

Smoker Farms bringing craft-style cannabis to Beaverdell

Husband-wife team growing small-scale cultivations of marijuana

Maintain your yards, advises Grand Forks Fire Department

Short grass kept Aug. 2 camper fire from spreading

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

UPDATE: Two dead after fishing boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Most Read