B.C. Premier John Horgan elaborates on the NDP’s Throne Speech in the legislature on Tuesday. (Kristyn Anthony photo)

Throne Speech leaves B.C. housing, childcare advocates awaiting details

Cutting housing speculation, adding childcare spaces were the highlights in NDP speech

Advocates for affordable childcare and housing are pinning their hopes on the NDP’s provincial budget next week, after hearing Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne.

“They’re going to make a difference this year for families in their affordability issues,” said Sharon Gregson, the spokesperson for the group pushing for $10-a-day childcare.

“They’re looking at moving unlicensed to licensed, creating more spaces, investing in the work force and … a new registry or way to identify problem unregulated caregivers.”

That same day, the federal government quietly promised $153 million for childcare in B.C. over three years, contingent on the province finding ways to address “quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system.” The funding will roll out in approximately equal thirds, starting with the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Speaking with reporters later on, Premier John Horgan acknowledged the speech did not mention the $10-a-day figure.

“It’s important to remember that the $10-a-day slogan was to brand the childcare plan,” said Horgan.

“The first three years of the ramp-up period, we’re looking at toddler and infant care. We’re creating more spaces and we’re training more people. Those elements will be in the budget.”

The $10 policy has been a source of friction between the NDP and the BC Greens. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said Tuesday afternoon he was happy that the government was moving away from slogan-based police to measurable steps.

However, newly-elected BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson said $150 million over three years is a “very minimal commitment” from Ottawa.

Increasing supply, decreasing ‘out of province’ demand

The speech also called B.C.’s escalating housing costs “the single greatest challenge to affordability in British Columbia.”

Generation Squeeze founder and UBC professor Paul Kershaw said the recommendations were vague, but he was buoyed by the vow to address “harmful demand” and increase supply.

READ: Lack of budget help for young B.C. renters ‘problematic’

He said he wanted to see the specifics of how the government would push people treating housing “as a commodity” out of the market.

The NDP campaigned heavily on an annual $400 rebate for renters, with details expected during the Feb. 20 budget.

Kershaw also praised the speech’s pledge to work with municipalities to create rental-only zoning, considering that high-priced housing keeping people renting for longer.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Changes in 2018 for Fields Forward

Staffing changes in the Fields Forward team

Alberta trade ban shouldn’t harm Creston Valley wineries

The recent decision by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to ban the import… Continue reading

Town to consider tax breaks for affordable housing

Town Council will explore the possibility of adding new affordable housing to its Revitalization Tax Exemption Program.

Speeders and car thieves, and drunks, oh my!

It was an unusually slow, though not uneventful, week for the RCMP,… Continue reading

HomeLinks parents vow to remove kids if CEC is closed

“Close the Creston Education Centre and we’re out of here.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Protesters rally for affordable housing ahead of B.C. budget

Residents call on province to keep locals housed

#Metoo movement causing confusion in many men, fear of missteps with women: experts

Being painted by the same sweeping brush as those alleged to have mistreated women has angered men

Liberals to dig deeper, aim higher on gender equality in 2018 federal budget

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the budget would include measures to boost women in the workforce

Body of missing skier found

Man’s truck found in Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s parking lot covered in ‘several days’ snow’

B.C. VIEWS: Subsidy supercluster settles in B.C.

Ottawa, Victoria add to their overlapping ‘innovation’ budgets

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada’s first ever men’s ski slopestyle medal

Men’s hockey team beats South Korea and women’s curling reverses losing streak

Canada’s Beaulieu-Marchand wins bronze in Olympic slopestyle

The skier from Quebec City scored 92.40 on his second run

Most Read