The British Columbia legislature is back in session with the reading of the Throne Speech by the Lt. Governor, Janet Austin. As expected, today’s speech from the throne focused on the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The speech outlined two main themes, Protecting People’s Health and Protecting People’s Livelihoods. On the economic recovery front, the throne speech said that government will support businesses, jobs, and incomes in the short term in several ways:
- Reward eligible businesses for hiring;
- Help thousands of people upskill or reskill and find in-demand jobs in the post-COVID-19 economy;
- Make it easier for companies to bet on themselves and increase productivity by rebating the PST on capital investments like machinery and equipment;
- Give renters a bit more financial breathing room.
This session is expected to run for two weeks, wrapping up on December 17th. The main focus will be on the government’s commitment to a new Recovery Benefit, which will be rolled out by the end of the year. Families with a combined household income of less than $125,000 per year will be eligible to receive $1,000; families earning above that, up to $170,000, will receive payments on a sliding scale. Individuals earning less than $62,000 a year will be eligible for $500, with those earning up to $87,000 eligible for a payment on a sliding scale.