B.C. Premier John Horgan elaborates on the NDP’s Throne Speech in the legislature on Tuesday. (Kristyn Anthony photo)

Throne Speech leaves B.C. housing, childcare advocates awaiting details

Cutting housing speculation, adding childcare spaces were the highlights in NDP speech

Advocates for affordable childcare and housing are pinning their hopes on the NDP’s provincial budget next week, after hearing Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne.

“They’re going to make a difference this year for families in their affordability issues,” said Sharon Gregson, the spokesperson for the group pushing for $10-a-day childcare.

“They’re looking at moving unlicensed to licensed, creating more spaces, investing in the work force and … a new registry or way to identify problem unregulated caregivers.”

That same day, the federal government quietly promised $153 million for childcare in B.C. over three years, contingent on the province finding ways to address “quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system.” The funding will roll out in approximately equal thirds, starting with the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Speaking with reporters later on, Premier John Horgan acknowledged the speech did not mention the $10-a-day figure.

“It’s important to remember that the $10-a-day slogan was to brand the childcare plan,” said Horgan.

“The first three years of the ramp-up period, we’re looking at toddler and infant care. We’re creating more spaces and we’re training more people. Those elements will be in the budget.”

The $10 policy has been a source of friction between the NDP and the BC Greens. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said Tuesday afternoon he was happy that the government was moving away from slogan-based police to measurable steps.

However, newly-elected BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson said $150 million over three years is a “very minimal commitment” from Ottawa.

Increasing supply, decreasing ‘out of province’ demand

The speech also called B.C.’s escalating housing costs “the single greatest challenge to affordability in British Columbia.”

Generation Squeeze founder and UBC professor Paul Kershaw said the recommendations were vague, but he was buoyed by the vow to address “harmful demand” and increase supply.

READ: Lack of budget help for young B.C. renters ‘problematic’

He said he wanted to see the specifics of how the government would push people treating housing “as a commodity” out of the market.

The NDP campaigned heavily on an annual $400 rebate for renters, with details expected during the Feb. 20 budget.

Kershaw also praised the speech’s pledge to work with municipalities to create rental-only zoning, considering that high-priced housing keeping people renting for longer.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

BC Ferry fare reductions, Indigenous language investments, rent support for seniors

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Crowns asks for more time in Victoria double murder of young sisters

Andrew Berry’s next court appearance will be in three weeks to set a date for trial to begin

B.C. MP invites convicted terrorist to Trudeau reception in India

Jaspal Atwal was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Women’s ice hockey team loses first Olympic game in 20 years

Team Canada added two silvers and a bronze to their total

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Most Read