During the pandemic, many people and families have experienced the stress of unexpected job loss and not everyone has been affected in the same way. Budget 2021 includes new investments to support people by improving child care, making life more affordable, reducing poverty, advancing reconciliation and investing in the services people rely on.
SUPPORTING PEOPLE AND FAMILIES INTO THE FUTURE
SUPPORTING PEOPLE AND FAMILIES INTO THE FUTURE
B.C. Recovery Benefit
The BC Recovery Benefit has helped 2.5 million British Columbians while stimulating local economies. The benefit provides up to $1,000 for eligible families and single parents, and up to $500 for eligible individuals. Budget 2021 continues to fund the BC Recovery Benefit. People can apply until June 30, 2021.
Affordable, Inclusive Child Care
Over 35,000 B.C. families now have access to low-cost child care through historic investments over the last four years. Budget 2021 more than doubles the number of $10-a-day child care spaces, which means 75 more child care centres and the thousands of families who rely on them will benefit from the program. We will continue to create new spaces every year, and more families will have access to child care on school grounds with the expansion of the Seamless Day pilot program. The current early childhood educator wage enhancement will be doubled to $4 an hour, benefitting approx. 11,000 early childhood educators. 2,000 more families will have access to programs that improve inclusion in day to day activities for children with support needs.
$20 million will provide additional health and safety grants to child-care providers to ensure centres remain safe through increased cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment or space improvements.
Free public transportation for B.C.’s children
Over 340,000 children, 12 and under, will ride public transportation for free in time for classes this September.
Families in the Translink area could save up to $672 a year for each child, while families in BC Transit communities will save up to $400 a year.
Child Opportunity Benefit
Effective October 2020, nearly 300,000 families started receiving the Child Opportunity Benefit, which will continue until the child turns 18. Families with one child receive up to $1,600 this year, with two children up to $2,600, and with three children up to $3,400.
Investing in new training and employment opportunities for youth
New funding to support post-secondary education, including new spaces to build training capacity in the health care sector.
$32 million to continue training launched through the StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan, including:
- $17 million to partner with Indigenous communities and organizations to expand access to skills training.
- $5 million to expand micro-credential training for people looking to retrain and pursue new careers.
- $10 million for work-integrated learning opportunities and short-term skills training.
$45 million for youth employment initiatives, including funding to expand the Innovator Skills Initiative program and job opportunities in the natural resources sector.
Supporting B.C.’s youth through education investments
Investments to improve mental health supports in schools, and address racism and reconciliation, so that the next generation can develop with the support they need to thrive. In addition, capital investments will continue to build new schools and upgrade existing ones in communities across B.C.
Reconciliation is more than a single decision, event or moment. It is a shared and ongoing journey we are on together.
Budget 2021 builds on the Fall 2020 StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan to advance reconciliation and build a more inclusive economy. It includes funding for work with Indigenous peoples to advance reconciliation, and ensure Indigenous peoples can fully participate in B.C.’s economic recovery.
Budget 2021 adds $60 million in annual funding to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. This is dedicated funding to support Indigenous participation in land and resource activities, including negotiations, and engagement on legislation, policy and programs.
Budget 2021 also includes:
- $45 million to support culturally safe health services and more Indigenous liaisons in each regional health authority to improve health access and services for Indigenous peoples.
- $14 million for the First Nations Health Authority to deliver targeted mental health and addictions services to Indigenous peoples throughout B.C.
- 400 more spaces to the Aboriginal Head Start program that provides culturally based child care for Indigenous families.
- Funding to partner with hundreds of Indigenous communities and organizations to expand access to skills training programs.
Supporting B.C.’s vulnerable people and building a more equitable future
Budget 2021 includes programs and funding directed to vulnerable people. This includes the largest ever permanent increase to income and disability assistance in B.C.
A $175 a month increase to income and disability assistance rates builds on two previous increases, for a total increase of $325 a month since 2017 for people receiving assistance, up to a 53% increase.
The Senior’s Supplement will be doubled, benefitting up to 80,000 low-income seniors. Additional funding is also available to support children in care or who have alternative care arrangements, as well as additional supports for programs that support children with a disability or medical needs. Community Living BC will receive new funding for to provide supports and services to over 24,000 adults with developmental disabilities and their families. New investments in our justice system will help provide timely and equitable access to justice particularly for women, visible minorities, single parents, refugees, Indigenous peoples, 2SLGBTQ+ community members and people with low incomes.
More affordable housing
More than 26,000 new homes have been built or are underway since government launched its 10-year Homes for B.C. plan in 2018.
Budget 2021 will create even more affordable housing options for growing families, seniors, women and children fleeing violence, students and Indigenous peoples, including supporting the creation of nearly 9,000 homes for middle income households and families. Budget 2021 also continues to support people experiencing or at risk of homelessness by maintaining more than 3,000 temporary emergency shelter and hotel spaces that provided a safe place to go during the pandemic.