B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)

B.C. delays 2021 budget, moves to borrow more for COVID-19

$1,000 family benefit coming, online applications open Dec. 18

B.C.’s next budget could be delayed until after the new fiscal year starts in April, as the NDP government prepares up to borrow another $2 billion to add to its current deficit, already approaching $13 billion.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson began a brief pre-Christmas session of the B.C. legislature Tuesday by presenting amendments to allow the province to delay its budget until as late as April 30, after the current fiscal year ends March 31. The delay is partly due to the October snap election called a year earlier than its scheduled date, which has already delayed the government’s second quarter financial report for the current year.

The un-budgeted $2 billion in extra borrowing includes about $1.5 billion for another round of COVID-19 payments, promised by Premier John Horgan in the fall election campaign. Unlike B.C.’s first round of pandemic payments, these do not require proof of lost income during the pandemic, with up to $1,000 going to families with income up to $175,000 this year, and up to $500 for single people earning as much as $87,000.

Robinson told reporters there will be an online application process for the money that will open Dec. 18. The target continues to be getting transfers to bank accounts by the end of 2020.

People receiving B.C. income or disability assistance are eligible for the family or single benefit, and an additional $150 due to their low incomes, Robinson said.

RELATED: B.C., Ottawa COVID-19 debt could ‘indenture generations’

RELATED: B.C. throne speech predicts ‘better days ahead’ in COVID-19

The fall snap election was a key part of the delay in the province’s financial reporting and approval.

“While the proposed rules will also allow for modest extensions for release dates for quarterly reports in a fiscal year when there is a general election, the amendments still ensure that fiscal updates are publicly provided so there is not a lengthy gap in public reporting,” Robinson told the legislature Dec. 8. “This amendment ensures that limited funding remains available should a supply act not be enacted by the start of a new fiscal year, and would only apply to address election-year schedule impacts.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

Youth from Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton and the Kootenays were able to dig into two evenings of online learning and connection through United Way Southern Interior B.C.’s <CODE>anagan program. (Submitted)<code> </code>
CODEanagan gives youth a chance to learn about technology

The youth, aged 12 to 21, built their own WordPress sites and developed blogging ideas

One person was extricated from a vehicle that rolled off Highway 97 Feb. 25, 2021, near Clerke Road in Coldstream around 2 p.m. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star)
UPDATE: Highway 97 cleared near Vernon following rollover that trapped occupant

Single-vehicle incident on highway stretch; vehicle rolled onto its roof

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Larch Place is the first building to be built in the BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association housing project at the corner of Third Street SW and Fifth Avenue SW. This view is from the Shuswap Street side where it sits behind the Graystone East building. (File photo)
Opening of doors at new housing development in Salmon Arm welcomed

BC Housing announces opening of 32 rental units, with 35 more expected in summer 2021

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller, before she knew she would change literature. Photo Wikipedia
And Then There Were None

What book knocked your booties off when you were young?

Most Read