Today’s provincial budget makes smart, strategic investments in priority areas while laying the groundwork for a post-pandemic economic recovery that puts working people first, CUPE BC President Paul Faoro said today.

“Given the circumstances, this budget must have been incredibly challenging to put together, and my hat’s off to Finance Minister Selina Robinson and the public servants across government who have built a plan to support British Columbians through the remainder of the pandemic and to build a stronger, more equitable economy as we recover,” said Faoro.

“We’re very pleased to see continued investments in K-12 public education, including $3.5 billion in capital funding over three years. And B.C. continues to lead when it comes to quality, affordable childcare, bringing an additional 20 school districts into the Seamless Day Pilot Program, adding another 3,750 childcare spaces. An economic recovery plan that doesn’t include universal childcare is doomed to failure.”

Faoro said the record $26.4 billion in capital investments will be an important part of B.C.’s economic recovery. Geared towards projects in the education, health and transportation sectors, the investments will result in tangible assets for the future, but also will create jobs now. “Getting more people back to work in the private sector is fundamental for a strong public sector,” said Faoro.

“It’s important to note that the Budget also provides significant increases in funding to address the so-called ‘other’ public health emergency, the opioid overdose crisis,” said Faoro. “The budget also continues the Horgan government’s strong work on fighting poverty, with the largest-ever permanent increase to income assistance and disability rates in provincial history. That stands in stark contrast to the former BC Liberal government’s decision to strip bus passes from disabled people. That was reversed early on by the BC NDP, but it continues to be a great example of how important elections are.

“I’m also pleased to see that kids will now be able to use transit for free, helping families make ends meet and reducing emissions at the same time—and helping develop a new generation of transit-users. And the new investments in rapid transit and roads will make it easier for people to get to and from their work, school and play.

“Strong public services are key to getting us through this pandemic, and they will be absolutely crucial to supporting workers and communities as we rebuild,” said Faoro.