With its emphasis on affordable housing, access to public health care and childcare services, and the creation of good-paying jobs in a cleaner economy, today’s Throne Speech sends a clear message that the BCNDP government of Premier David Eby is focused on the issues that matter to working British Columbians, said CUPE BC President Karen Ranalletta.

“This government understands the challenges that working people in this province have been facing with the rising cost of living, and how inflation has put the squeeze on household budgets, with more pressure on personal finances than ever before,” said Ranalletta.

“With signs of a global slowdown ahead, it also knows that this year’s budget surplus of $5.7 billion will not be there next year, so that’s why it’s delivering on public investment in so many important areas.”

The government plans to strengthen access to health care by investing in new hospitals, a new medical school at Simon Fraser University and enhanced programs at UBC, new substance treatment and recovery services, and fast-tracking internationally trained health professionals to provide care at B.C. clinics.

The new housing plan calls for more homes and services near transit hubs throughout the province and promises to get tough on speculators. And by the fall, new support for people with lower incomes and families with children will include extended childcare savings to parents with school-aged kids, not just those in kindergarten and younger.

“The throne speech says that people who work hard and play by the rules need someone on their side, and we couldn’t agree more,” said Ranalletta.

“The response to an economic downturn is not to reduce services or make people pay out of pocket for health care,” said Ranalletta. “The solution is to invest in more public services that can help build a stronger, more secure future for all British Columbians. And this government is doing that.”