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Provincial deficit forecasted to be $13.6 billion

Finance Minister Selina Robinson. Government of BC photo

The Fall 2020 Economic and Fiscal Update confirms the forecasted provincial deficit at $13.6 billion, which includes an additional $2 billion for new COVID-19 supports for British Columbians through B.C.’s Recovery Benefit and Recovery Supplement.

The province’s third economic and fiscal update of 2020 continues to show the economic impacts of COVID-19 on people, businesses and communities, while 2021 brings hope to British Columbians with a path toward recovery.

“2020 has been a tough year for families, communities and our economy. I am encouraged by the economic improvement we’re seeing, but I know not everyone has been similarly affected,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “We will continue to support people and businesses through this pandemic and into a brighter year with the first vaccinations already arriving in B.C.”

The update also shows a lower impact on provincial revenues than projected in the First Quarterly Report, with gains in income, property transfer taxes and Crown corporation net incomes. Partial economic recovery is predicted for B.C. in 2021, and the report shows continued areas of economic improvement in employment, retail sales and housing activity.

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been experienced right around the globe, and it’s going to be a while before a fiscal update for B.C. resembles anything like the pre-pandemic province we knew,” Robinson said. “We are continuing to support British Columbians through this pandemic, and we are making targeted investments like grant and tax relief programs for businesses.”

The economic and fiscal update shows both a story of continued fiscal prudence and one of the most supportive and comprehensive COVID-19 responses in Canada. It details over $10 billion in COVID-19 response measures that have supported people, businesses and communities since the beginning of the fiscal year.

The province acted immediately during the pandemic to develop a COVID-19 Action Plan that included supports such as workers benefits, rent supplements, income and disability assistance supports, and economic recovery funding. In September 2020, StrongerBC laid out focused investments to see people and businesses through the pandemic and into economic recovery.

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