BC Budget 2024: Credits, housing, and a focus on spending

B.C. Budget 2024 will be the NDP’s last before the next provincial election, slated for October, and as was expected, the focus in this fiscal plan is on spending.

The multi-year economic plan is centred around affordability, as many British Columbians struggle with every-day, cost-of-living pressures.

Housing forms a major pillar of the plan, following several pieces of legislation last year aimed at increasing supply and density around public transit, cracking down on short-term rentals, and relaxing restrictive building permitting processes.

B.C. is projecting a deficit of $7.9 billion in 2024/2025. Meanwhile, the updated third quarter forecast for 2023/2024 projects a deficit of $5.9 billion. That is $357 million higher than what was projected in the second quarter, last November.

Here’s a breakdown of how the province plans to spend your tax dollars:


-BC Builds-

Last week, the NDP government announced its BC Builds program, which brings non-profits, local governments, public agencies, First Nations, and community groups together to identify underused land across the province to create and build more homes for means-tested, middle-income renters. Earlier this week, the federal government announced it was providing up to $2 billion in funding to support the program, effectively doubling the case it now works with.

When asked about getting British Columbians into homeownership, Conroy noted that “interest rates have to fall,” though she touted BC Builds as a program to get people there.

-Renters Rebate-

Although not new, eligible British Columbians are expected to see the annual renter’s tax credit come to life this year. Introduced in Budget 2023, after it was an election promise years prior, this provides low- to moderate-income households that rent with an income-tested refundable income tax credit of up to $400.

“We want to make sure people hear that,” Conroy said.

-BC Home Flipping Tax-

As expected, Budget 2024 also includes a flipping tax, under its Homes for People plan. The BC Home Flipping Tax, slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2025, is aimed at discouraging speculators from driving up prices in the real estate market. The tax would be on the profit made from selling a property within two years of purchase, with certain exemptions for life events such as divorce, death, illness, or work relocation. The BC NDP says the profits from this flipping tax would go into building more affordable homes across the province.

“To those who want to make a quick buck by flipping homes, things are about to get more difficult,” said Conroy.

“The tax rate will be 20 per cent for properties sold within 365 days of purchase, and will decline to zero between 366 and 730 days,” the budget explains.

-Transfer tax exemptions-

The BC NDP is proposing increases to the threshold for the First Time Homebuyers’ Program, to “give people the financial boost they need” when buying their first homes. Qualifying buyers can see benefits when they purchase a home worth up to $835,000. The province says the first $500,000 would be “completely exempt from the property transfer tax,” resulting in “as much as $8,000 in savings.” With this change, the BC NDP expects twice as many people to be eligible for the support when buying their first home. Lower costs are also proposed for buyers looking to purchase newly constructed homes worth up to $1.1 million. Meanwhile, builders could also see property transfer tax exemptions for certain purpose-built buildings of four or more units until 2030.


-Families with children-

Budget 2024 includes increases to the BC Family Benefit, with eligible families with children expected to see a 25 per cent bump to their monthly payments. Starting in July, a family of four could receive up to $2,850 over the year – on average $445 more. The budget includes $248 million for a one-time bonus from June 2024 to June 2025, and expanded eligibility so more families can take part.

-Electricity credit-

The NDP is planning a one-time BC Electricity Affordability Credit. The credit would save households an average of about $100 on their hydro bills, depending on power usage, over the year. Budget 2024 says “commercial and industrial customers will receive savings of about 4.6 per cent on average based on their 2023/24 electricity bills.” Monthly credits should start showing up on bills starting in April of this year.

-Climate credit-

Increases to the quarterly Climate Action Tax Credit are coming as part of Budget 2024, with the BC NDP saying all revenue from the carbon tax will be directed to this credit. The province says the number of people who receive the credit grows each year, with the goal of hitting 80 per cent by 2030. Budget 2024 says increases will begin in July.


-Helping people grow families-

Starting in April 2025, the BC NDP says it will launch its new In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) program. The publicly funded program will help with costs for a single round of treatment. Budget 2024 sets aside $68 million for this plan.

-Access to care-

Overall, there’s nothing in Budget 2024 in the way of new health funding. The province says it is taking into account the growing and aging population, with more than $2 billion provided in the fiscal plan to support access to services, including primary and acute care, long-term care, assisted living, mental-health and substance-abuse care, and more.

The province notes demand for cancer treatment has only increased, adding its 10-year action plan, previously unveiled, focuses on getting patients the treatment they need. Budget 2024 includes $270 million to continue delivering and expanding prevention and screening services, such as HPV prevention and screening.

For seniors, Budget 2024 earmarks $354 million for access to services.

Following major investments in 2023 for mental health and addictions supports, this year’s budget continues to build on an expansion of services included in last year’s budget. In Budget 2023, the BC NDP announced $1 billion in new cash to expand services, up from the promises made in Budget 2022, when the government announced $10 million for this sector over three years.


-Employer Health Tax-

Budget 2024 includes a big ask from businesses. The BC NDP says it is “answering calls” by doubling the exemption threshold of the Employer Health Tax. The increase will be from $500,000 to $ 1 million, with the province saying this change will exempt 90 per cent of businesses from the tax.

-Electricity savings for businesses-

On the business side, Budget 2024’s one-time BC Electricity Affordability Credit is expected to save commercial and industrial customers about 4.6 per cent on average, “based on their 2023/24 electricity bills.” Credits should start showing up on bills starting in April of this year.

-Clean economy-

Budget 2024 continues with past promises and measures as part of the CleanBC Roadmap to 2030. The BC NDP says it’s reaffirming its “commitment with $318 million to continue to fund grant and rebate programs for clean transportation, energy-efficient buildings and communities, and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

-First Nations Equity Financing Framework-

Equity financing opportunities are among the promises in Budget 2024. The budget says the First Nations Equity Financing Framework is just one measure as part of its “commitment to co-develop with First Nations a new fiscal relationship that supports the self-determination and operation of First Nations governments, aligned with rights and principles in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”


In total, the finance minister says Budget 2024 “commits more than $1.3 billion over four years to fight climate change and keep building a cleaner economy in partnership with First Nations, communities and businesses.”

-Wildfires, floods, and other emergencies-

Given the impacts of the climate crisis, which have been deeply felt in B.C. over the last few years, the government says it is investing $405 million more over four years to ensure the province is prepared and able to respond to future flood, wildfire, and other climate emergencies.

The funding includes $154 million in operating and $21 million in capital funding for wildfire response, recovery, and infrastructure, following last summer’s record-setting season, and as dozens of fires continued to burn into the winter.  

Meanwhile, $234 million is earmarked for flood risk and drought resiliency programs. This includes investments to expand the Agriculture Water Infrastructure Program to help farmers manage, collect, transport, and store water; money for water metering pilot programs in 21 B.C. communities; and upgrades to Abbotsford’s Barrowtown Pump Station.


For CleanBC, Budget 2024 “reaffirms” the government’s commitment, with $318 million toward continued grant and rebate funding targeted at clean transportation and energy-efficiency. The province says an additional $93 million is aimed at helping communities and British Columbians reduce emissions, through things like heat pump rebates, active transportation grants, EV infrastructure, and youth climate initiatives.


Despite being on the wishlists of many, Budget 2024 doesn’t make mention of any investments targeted at addressing congestion and expanding transit in Metro Vancouver. This is despite the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council launching a campaign in recent weeks aimed at putting more pressure on the province to help TransLink address overcrowding on the system.

The BC NDP says it is investing more than $15.5 billion on transit and transportation infrastructure from its capital plan over the next three years. Of that funding, $4 billion is slated for the Surrey Langley SkyTrain and $2.8 billion is earmarked for the Broadway Subway in Vancouver.  

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