An audited public accounting of British Columbia’s financial records shows the province posted a surplus of more than $700 million in the 2022-2023 budget year.
Finance Minister Katrine Conroy outlined the province’s financial performance in the government’s public accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.
The government’s budget forecasts have been on an up-and-down ride for the past two years, with the 2022-2023 budget originally forecast in February last year to show a $5.5-billion deficit before that was revised to a surplus of almost $6 billion, then downgraded to a $3.6-billion surplus.
The final numbers now show a surplus of $704 million.
Conroy forecast three years of consecutive budget deficits last March, with the current 2023-2024 budget projected to bring a deficit of $4.2 billion.
She said the audited public accounts show B.C.’s economy grew by 3.6 per cent, tied for fourth highest among the provinces and equal to Canada’s national growth.
Conroy said at a briefing Wednesday that the province’s debt had been reduced to $89.4 billion and operating debt had been “eliminated.”
She said there had been additional revenue from companies and top earners, allowing a series of “one-time investments.”
Additional spending included $1.5 billion in cost-of-living supports, $1.23 billion in housing initiatives and $1.5 billion on the shared recovery mandate for public workers.
She said the public accounts represent a “high-level view” of how B.C. ended the year.
“We know it’s people who build our province,” said Conroy, adding government investments in infrastructure and health and climate initiatives “actually makes our economy stronger and more resilient.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 30, 2023.