Eleven ways we’re helping British Columbians with costs

Global inflation has been tough on everyone, including here in British Columbia.

Our BC NDP team understands, and we’re doing what we can to help with rising costs for people and families, while putting more money back in your pocket.

There’s always more to do, but here are eleven ways our BC NDP teams are tackling affordability for you right now.

A young mom and her small kid get ready for school beside the family car

Increasing the BC Family Benefit

To help families facing rising costs, the BC Family Benefit was permanently increased in 2023. The benefit is based on income and family size, but the average yearly payment is $2,250, which puts more money into the family budget. We know from talking to you that you’re using your family benefit in a bunch of different ways — from buying new skates and equipment for kids in peewee hockey, to stocking up supplies and clothes for school, to swimming lessons, and so much more.

Raising the minimum wage

Did you know that the majority of people receiving minimum wage in BC are women, immigrants, youth and elders? To help these already vulnerable communities, our BC NDP government has steadily raised the minimum wage since 2017. Now, our minimum wage of $16.75 an hour is the highest of all Canadian provinces, and its rate increases are tied to inflation so people don’t get left behind.

Kevin Falcon’s BCU party has called raising the minimum wage a "bad decision". That’s not surprising. After all, for more than a decade, his party’s government refused to raise the minimum wage. We’re doing things differently.

A woman barista at a coffeeshop counter

Making prescription birth control free

Birth control is healthcare. Last year, our BC NDP government became the first in Canada to make prescription birth control free for every British Columbian that needs it. This includes access to contraceptive pills, IUDs, and other birth control devices, potentially saving people up to $10,000 over their lifetime. It allows people more control over their reproductive choices and when, or if, they want to start a family.

When it’s already tough to keep monthly budgets in check, it’s good to know that no one will be forced to make financial choices between their reproductive health and making ends meet.

Providing a renters tax credit

When governments think about housing, it’s easy to think just about homeowners. But here in BC, one-third of all households rent — and they need protection from rising costs, too. Our BC NDP government has stepped up in several big ways to protect renters, including capping rent increases below the rate of inflation (3.5% in 2024), and implementing new regulations to prevent unfair renovictions and shady practices from landlords.

We also introduced a renter’s tax credit for low and moderate income renters to help with costs. Claim it on your 2023 tax return in the spring!

Four feet in two pairs of colourful wool socks pressed against a warm radiator

Helping with costs and fees

Since forming government in 2017, our BC NDP team has been committed to making life more affordable for people, instead of only supporting the wealthy and well-connected like th Kevin Falcon’s BCU Party did during their long, harmful, 16 years in government. This includes:

Ensuring ICBC rates are more affordable

For many years, ICBC rates went up and up and were out of reach for new drivers. We made a historic cut to rates to save drivers an average of 20 percent on their car insurance. Our government also made sure that ICBC returned profits to people with three rounds of rebates to customers in the last few years. Kevin Falcon called the rebates, which British Columbians could use to offset costs, "stupid little cheques". He’s not considering what people need.

Expanding affordable childcare

Affordable childcare is life changing for families! It means more people can join our growing economy by working. Our government has reduced childcare fees for kids under six by an average of 50% since 2019 and expanded $10 a day childcare, saving families up to $1,600 a month.

Removing unfair tolls on the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges

Commuters and people moving throughout the Lower Mainland to access necessary services were hard hit by bridge tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges, saving most drivers about $900 a year, and commercial drivers up to $1,800 a year. BCU Party leader Kevin Falcon has consistently spoken up against removing the tolls and would prefer to keep drivers on the hook.

Increasing the climate action tax credit

To provide more support for families, our government has boosted the climate action tax credit by 70 percent compared to where it was in 2017 and gave an extra $450 back to 80% of BC families during the pandemic.

Making transit free for kids 12 and under

Families need to get around! And it can be pricey to get to and from school, to activities away from home. We made transit free for kids aged 12 and under to save families $700 a year and make it more affordable for people to get out in their communities, and to get where they’re going.

Freezing ferry fares

Every day, people use our BC Ferries to commute, visit loved ones, and to take vacations. That's why we're acting now and investing in our ferries to keep fares affordable for British Columbians who rely on them. For the next four years, passengers will see rate increases frozen to 3.2 percent annually to keep fares affordable for everyone who needs to take a ferry trip between the islands and the mainland.

Keeping BC Hydro rates low

Families and businesses in British Columbia continue to see affordable, stable electricity rates.

For the 6th year, our government has made sure that BC Hydro rate increases are kept below the rate of inflation. This keeps our rates among the most affordable in North America, and keeps utility bills well below the rate of inflation — and below what the BCUP (BC Liberals) had planned on when they were in government.

Looking ahead in 2024

We know there’s more to life more affordable for British Columbians — and we’re focused on doing just that. Look for even more action from Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team this year in the lead up to the election this fall.

Want to stay connected to the work we’re doing on affordability for people in BC? Join our movement by adding your name below.