[CHILLIWACK] British Columbia’s strong economy means more money back in the pockets of middle-class families in Chilliwack, and investments in the programs and services people rely on most.

“The provincial budget provides several direct benefits to the people in our community,” said Chilliwack MLA John Martin. “In addition to the households who are fully exempt from MSP premiums, as of January 1st, 2018, up to 2 million British Columbians can look forward to seeing their premiums cut in half. For an average family this means up to $900 more for them to spend how they want. This is a big step as we work our way towards eliminating premiums all together.”

“This budget is all about giving back to British Columbians the benefits we have reaped from a strong economy,” Chilliwack-Hope MLA  Laurie Throness. “By slashing MSP premiums by 50 percent – in the first step on our plan to eliminate them – families will save up to $900 annually. The Government is also making sure we invest in the important services that British Columbians rely on.”

The centrepiece to Budget 2017 includes $1 billion in tax relief for middle-class families by cutting Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums in half for individuals and families with a net income up to $120,000.  This is the first step as the Province begins to eliminate MSP premiums. A typical family of four paying full MSP premiums will save $900 per year in 2018 as a result of this measure.

Budget 2017 also makes key investments in areas like classrooms, mental health services, and other supports for those most in need.  The Government is also significantly increasing investment in healthcare – over $4.2 billion more over the next three years – to ensure British Columbians continue to receive the healthcare services they need.

Regional highlights that will benefit communities like Chilliwack include:

  • Budget 2017 provides an additional $159 million to maintain assistance levels for low-income families and seniors, to help make rent more affordable in private market rental units. Services are also maintained for the homeless in the existing permanent shelter system.
  • $100 million more for mental health and substance use treatment, focusing on youth.
  • $65 million to fund 380 housing units in support of the homeless across BC, including individuals with mental health and substance use issues.
  • $45 million to eliminate the fees for school bus services.
  • Firefighters and Search and Rescue volunteers tax credit, a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit providing a benefit up to $151.80 each year.
  • $10 million for invasive plant management.
  • $6 million over three years to support the Buy Local program to support the continued growth of local demand for B.C. agrifoods.

Additional highlights of the budget include:

  • $796 million for children, families and those in need.
  • $740 million for the K-12 education sector, including $320 million to address the recent interim agreement with teachers
  • More than $700 million for first-time homebuyers, building on $920 million for housing affordability and assistance.
  • $249 million for communities and economic development.
  • $149 million for parks and environmental protection.
  • $280 million for other programs and services.

Learn More:

For more details on Budget 2017, visit: www.bcbudget.ca