Another deficit projected for B.C.’s 2024/25 budget


As household budgets across the world continue to be squeezed, the B.C. budget is projecting another deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

The outlook over four years projects deficits each year between the 2023/24 fiscal year to the 2026/27 year.

The updated forecast for 2023/24, which is the current fiscal year ending March 31, projects the province will have a $5.9 billion deficit.

In the 2024/25 fiscal year, the deficit is expected to increase to $7.9 billion, followed by $7.8 billion in 2025/26 and $6.3 billion in 2026/27.

SEE ALSO: Five main takeaways from B.C.’s budget

These deficits expect to bring the provincial debt from $103.8 billion in 2023/24 to $165 billion in 2026/27.

“As you can see in our forecast plan, we’re on a declining deficit for the next three years,” Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s finance minister, said Thursday.

“Our goal is a balanced budget, but at this time we have to make sure we’re providing services to people.”

In response to these deficits, the B.C. government says it is increasing spending in services and supports that people rely on.

“It’s not the right time right now to make cuts to services in this province,” Conroy said. “We can’t afford a deficit of services. People need health care, they need education, they need those services that are so critical to living in British Columbia.”

By the numbers

The budget comes with investments in some key areas for people, including tax and cost-of-living credits, investment in building housing, a new tax to crack down on speculators, expanding the first-time homebuyers program, $2 billion per year to support access to health care, $968 million for more staff in K-12 classrooms, $4.2 billion over three years to build or upgrade schools, $398 million for public safety and $1.3 billion in climate change measures.

Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, says he is optimistic to see the presented budget.

“This is a budget that has a lot of promise,” Kershaw said. “I have never seen a provincial government reserve such scarce resources and really plan to double down on creating a budget, really for all generations.”

Kershaw says measures like the flipping tax and changing zoning regulations across the province to allow a wider variety of housing to be built are positive measures towards addressing housing prices in the province.

Jeff Bray, president of the Business Improvement Areas of B.C., says he wanted to see more to address public disorder in the province.

“We were definitely looking for significant changes on the policy side with some funding around street disorder,” Bray said. “Street disorder is the number one issue we’re hearing from our members, not just in Victoria, but provincially.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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