Throne speech builds momentum toward a stronger B.C. for everyone

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**From the BC Government Website**

**Originally published February 11, 2020**


Today’s speech from the throne marks the positive changes people across B.C. are starting to see through stronger public services, policies that are making life more affordable, and the opportunities a strong, sustainable economy can provide for everyone.

“British Columbians are starting to see the benefits of a government that puts people first,” said Premier John Horgan. “After years of falling behind, people are starting to make progress – but we’re not done yet. Today’s throne speech shows how our government is going to keep B.C. moving forward and build a stronger province for everyone.”

Government is continuing with its plan to address the housing crisis by building homes for people and cracking down on speculation and fraud. Two years after the launch of Homes for B.C., 23,000 new affordable homes are underway or complete. This year, government will keep building more affordable housing for people, and will also give renters more security and protections against unfair or illegal renovictions. A public inquiry into money laundering will make sure B.C.’s economy is working for people, not organized crime.

For a long time, B.C. families have struggled to find affordable child care. Two years ago, government put B.C. on the path to universal child care. Government cut fees and brought in the Affordable Child Care Benefit, saving parents $320 million so far. More than 10,000 new child care spaces have been funded in two years. This year, government will continue progress by creating more child care spaces, training more early childhood educators and partnering with school districts to create more before- and after-school care.

In less than three years, the B.C. government has moved on 13 hospital projects and opened 12 urgent and primary care centres with two more on the way.

Improvements to Fair PharmaCare have made prescription drugs more affordable. Wait times for hip and knee surgeries are down and the number of MRI exams are up. And seniors in long-term care are getting more direct hours of support. In the year ahead, government will keep working to deliver better, faster health care.

Reconciliation with Indigenous peoples remains an important cross-government priority. In two years, government has made significant investments in priorities identified with Indigenous peoples, including long-term revenue sharing, language revitalization, funding for Aboriginal friendship centres, culturally appropriate health care and mental-health supports, and Indigenous housing on- and off-reserve. Building on the legislature’s unanimous passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, the next step is an action plan, which government will develop in consultation and co-operation with Indigenous peoples.

CleanBC is a critical part of this government’s strategy to grow a sustainable economy that works for people. As CleanBC enters its second year, B.C. will keep working to reduce emissions and grow opportunities in B.C.’s technology and innovation sectors. This year, B.C. will release a climate adaptation strategy to make sure communities are ready for changes in weather and other climate impacts, and an action plan to reduce plastic pollution and keep it out of B.C. landfills and waterways.

Investments in technology and innovation are transforming B.C.’s economy across all sectors. This year, government will work with business to promote B.C. industries as competitive suppliers of low-carbon products. Technology and innovation are combining with B.C.’s long-standing strengths in natural resources to help ensure a resilient, sustainable economy that creates good jobs and opportunities for people. Government continues to support forestry workers and communities as the industry transitions, and is bringing industry, workers, local governments and First Nations together to find local solutions to help the industry stay competitive. Forestry, mining, agriculture and energy continue to generate good jobs for people. These industries will play a leading role in supporting innovation that helps B.C. achieve its economic, climate and reconciliation goals.

B.C. remains an economic leader in Canada, with the lowest unemployment rate for two years running, and high business optimism. Government will continue to grow a strong, sustainable economy by investing in people and the services they count on, promoting a competitive business environment, and moving forward on its commitments on climate action and reconciliation.

“British Columbians are more prepared to face the challenges of today and tomorrow, because they have a government that is a partner in their future,” Premier Horgan said. “We’re going to continue the work we started two and a half years ago, to make life better for people, so that B.C. can once again be a place of hope and opportunity – a stronger province, for everyone.”

Government is making progress on the shared priorities outlined in the Confidence and Supply Agreement, with the BC Green Party caucus.