B.C. budget critiqued by teachers, business groups

Support for Tuesday’s B.C. budget announcement is far from unanimous, with teaching and business groups saying it doesn’t do enough to address issues in their respective sectors.

The BC Teachers Federation (BCTF) says it’s disappointed by the fiscal plan, noting it lacks any targeted funding to address the teacher shortage.

“BC’s future doctors and nurses—careers that are a focus of recruitment and retention efforts in this budget—are currently being taught in our K–12 system. This foundational education needs more investment to ensure every student has a certified teacher and to protect the system against erosion,” the union said in a statement.

Read More: BC Budget 2023: Delivering on renters’ rebate, mental health and addictions supports

According to the BCTF, nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of teachers reported their workload has increased since before the pandemic, with more than a third saying they’re likely to leave the profession within the next few years.

“Teachers are making magic in classrooms every day, but behind the scenes, they are burning out,” said federation president Clint Johnson.

In addition to not investing enough into teacher retention, the BCTF also says there is not enough funding to support children with special needs.

Meantime, a couple of business groups agree there’s more to be desired in the 2023 provincial budget.

B.C. budget doesn’t do enough to help businesses, groups say

The BC Chamber of Commerce says while it’s happy the province’s budget is taking aim at addressing affordability challenges, it did little to help businesses.

“Of particular concern to small and medium-sized businesses is the increase to the carbon tax of $15 per tonne per year through 2030 with little to offset the costs they will incur,” said chamber president and CEO Fiona Famulak. “This is going to impact our supply chains and raise costs of producing goods in British Columbia.”

Famulak continued, “In order to have healthy communities, we need to ensure we have healthy businesses. Today’s budget did not take meaningful steps towards addressing the concerns that we have raised.”

For its part, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade gave the provincial government’s plan a “C-minus” grade.

“Our members had hoped for measures to offset the rising costs of doing business but found no relief in Budget 2023,” said board president and CEO, Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO

“Unfortunately, the budget is essentially silent on an economic strategy to attract investment and increase our innovation capacity and competitive advantage. With a slowing economy and a growing population, we need a strong private sector and competitive investment conditions to increase prosperity across the province.”

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The organization says it’s happy to see investments into the Future Ready Plan, which is intended to address labour challenges.

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