BRUCE Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Technology, said on Friday that Budget 2019 builds on British Columbia’s thriving economy with strategic investments to create good jobs and opportunities for people in every corner of the province. By investing in a strong, sustainable economy that works for people, British Columbia has the country’s lowest unemployment rate and is expected to lead the nation in economic growth for the next two years.
“Year after year, the BC Liberals made life easier for their rich friends at the expense of everyone else,” said Ralston. “People were told that they had to choose between a strong economy or investments in people, but our government knows that we must do both.”
He added that B.C.’s fiscal picture is strong and getting stronger by the day. B.C.’s debt-to-GDP ratio is at its lowest level since before the financial crisis and it is the only province with a triple-A credit rating from all three major international rating agencies. B.C. has eliminated the operating debt for the first time in 40 years and the Economic Forecast Council predicts British Columbia’s economy will grow by 2.5% this year and 2.6% next year, leading all of Canada.
“Our government is doing things differently by investing in people while balancing the budget and growing the economy at the same time,” said Ralston. “We know that putting people first is the right thing to do. It’s good for people, it’s good for our economy, and good for our province.”
Budget 2019 continues to lay the foundation of a strong, sustainable economy with the largest capital plan in British Columbia’s history: a $20 billion investment in infrastructure – primarily in the health, transportation and education sectors – in communities throughout the province over the next three years. The construction of these schools, roads, health care facilities and post-secondary institutions will support tens of thousands of jobs.
Ralston said that to make sure people have the skills they need to succeed, and our labour force meets the demands of the market, we’re investing in education, training and skills recognition across the board. This will encourage existing businesses to expand and new businesses to invest in B.C.
The 2019 budget also shows that under the NDP, B.C. is on track for 42,446 more housing starts over five years than the BC Liberals had predicted under their plan.
“It’s clear that sharing the benefits of growth with all British Columbians results in a stronger economy,” said Ralston. “Our investments will build a strong, sustainable economy that works for people today and for many years to come.”