In his last Throne Speech before BC’s October election, Premier David Eby set out his priorities to provide help to people during challenging times. 

Given that these were the themes that were used successfully by former Premier John Horgan in the last two elections in 2017 and 2020 and have been the hallmark of Eby’s agenda since he became premier in 2022, this comes as no surprise. 

Delivering More Homes for People, Sooner 

Earlier this month, Eby signaled that his government will be focusing on housing in the next legislative session and beyond.  

Since then, he has rolled out BC Builds, a $2 billion plan focused on providing more housing for the middle class. Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood with the Premier pledging an additional $2 billion in support for the plan.  

The Throne Speech announces that the government will take action to protect renters from bad-faith evictions and to help first-time home buyers. While not specifically referenced today, the government is also expected to introduce an anti-flipping tax. 

BC United and the BC Greens have released their own plans to address the housing crisis. 

This issue will dominate discussion during the forthcoming legislative session. 

Strengthening Public Health Care 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems across Canada have experienced a human resources crisis and BC is no exception. 

Earlier this month, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that more than 700 additional doctors are practicing family medicine in BC over the last year along with 6,300 more nurses. 

The Throne Speech re-committed to building a new medical school in Surrey in addition to strengthening seniors care with a focus on home care, community care, and long-term care for seniors.  

In addition, the Throne Speech foreshadows next steps on the province’s 10-year cancer plan and re-commits to taking additional action on the devastating toxic drug crisis. 

Keeping Kids and Communities Safe 

Safety is a significant theme in the Throne Speech. Expect legislative changes this session to address threats to adults and children. 

The Throne Speech references legislation that the BC Government approved to protect the distribution of intimate images that have been used to bully young people, at times with tragic consequences. 

The Throne Speech also says new anti-racism legislation will be introduced to stop rising incidents of antisemitism, islamophobia, anti-Asian hate and other forms of racism.  

Legislation will be tabled this session to protect schools and kids from disruptive protests. 

This legislation is in direct reference to anti-SOGI protests that targeted kids at schools. This is similar to legislation that prevented harassment of health care workers by anti-vax protesters during COVID.  

Building an Economy that Works For Everyone 

The Throne Speech also focused on clean energy expansion including referencing the use of hydrogen at Canfor’s Prince George site, a project that includes a number of partners including Chilliwack-Based Teralta. 

In addition, it touched on the opportunities presented by the approval of Cedar LNG in Kitimat and other key partnerships with First Nations. 

When discussing the forestry sector, the government expressed a keen desire to ensure First Nations share in benefits with a focus on value-added protection as opposed to the export of raw logs. 

The Throne Speech committed to continuing action on ensuring that there is a robust training strategy to ensure that one million job openings expected over the next decade are filled. 

The government also re-committed to strong climate action, in contrast to both the BC United Party and the BC Conservatives who have both said they will get rid of the carbon tax if elected. 

 Helping Families With Costs 

Although Statistics Canada announced encouraging inflation numbers earlier today, average British Columbians are still feeling the financial squeeze for groceries, gas for their vehicles, and a variety of other costs. 

The Throne Speech reminded people of previous actions to deal with the affordability crisis including eliminating bridge tolls, getting rid of MSP premiums, making transit free for kids under 12, increasing the Climate Action Tax Credit, and freezing ICBC rates. 

The speech referenced next steps on helping people deal with affordability issues in addition to assistance for small and growing businesses. 

The government also re-committed to completing infrastructure projects such as SkyTrain expansion in Vancouver and in the Fraser Valley and other key projects such as improvements on Highway 1 near Chilliwack and the replacement of the Massey Tunnel. 

Expect to hear more on Thursday, February 22 when Finance Minister Katrina Conroy releases the BC Budget.  

Busy Week Ahead 

We will be back on Thursday when Budget 2024 is released to provide a complete analysis of the financial blueprint and what it means to you. 

To learn more about what this means for your sector, business, or association, please reach out to the Counsel Public Affairs team:

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Jean-Marc Prevost, Vice President, Western Canada


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Amanda van Baarsen, Associate Vice President, Western Canada