B.C. Premier John Horgan elaborates on the NDP’s Throne Speech in the legislature on Tuesday. (Kristyn Anthony photo)

Throne Speech leaves B.C. housing, childcare advocates awaiting details

Cutting housing speculation, adding childcare spaces were the highlights in NDP speech

Advocates for affordable childcare and housing are pinning their hopes on the NDP’s provincial budget next week, after hearing Tuesday’s Speech from the Throne.

“They’re going to make a difference this year for families in their affordability issues,” said Sharon Gregson, the spokesperson for the group pushing for $10-a-day childcare.

“They’re looking at moving unlicensed to licensed, creating more spaces, investing in the work force and … a new registry or way to identify problem unregulated caregivers.”

That same day, the federal government quietly promised $153 million for childcare in B.C. over three years, contingent on the province finding ways to address “quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and/or inclusivity of their early learning and child care system.” The funding will roll out in approximately equal thirds, starting with the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Speaking with reporters later on, Premier John Horgan acknowledged the speech did not mention the $10-a-day figure.

“It’s important to remember that the $10-a-day slogan was to brand the childcare plan,” said Horgan.

“The first three years of the ramp-up period, we’re looking at toddler and infant care. We’re creating more spaces and we’re training more people. Those elements will be in the budget.”

The $10 policy has been a source of friction between the NDP and the BC Greens. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said Tuesday afternoon he was happy that the government was moving away from slogan-based police to measurable steps.

However, newly-elected BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson said $150 million over three years is a “very minimal commitment” from Ottawa.

Increasing supply, decreasing ‘out of province’ demand

The speech also called B.C.’s escalating housing costs “the single greatest challenge to affordability in British Columbia.”

Generation Squeeze founder and UBC professor Paul Kershaw said the recommendations were vague, but he was buoyed by the vow to address “harmful demand” and increase supply.

READ: Lack of budget help for young B.C. renters ‘problematic’

He said he wanted to see the specifics of how the government would push people treating housing “as a commodity” out of the market.

The NDP campaigned heavily on an annual $400 rebate for renters, with details expected during the Feb. 20 budget.

Kershaw also praised the speech’s pledge to work with municipalities to create rental-only zoning, considering that high-priced housing keeping people renting for longer.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Hero campaign raises $24,000 for Okanagan non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Lake Country crash leads police to recover three stolen vehicles

Incident happened early Monday morning on Highway 97 between Oyama and Vernon

Concussion treatment clinic opens in Kelowna

Unique Okanagan health service initiated by BrainTrust Canada

Vernon council candidate forum draws 400

Forum focuses on Greater Vernon Cultural Centre referendum and other hot election issue topics

VIDEO: First legal cannabis purchases as midnight strikes in eastern Canada

Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to kick off the sale of cannabis, just after midnight local time

Don’t be dazed and confused about legalization

Sitting down with an Okanagan lawyer to clear the haze of marijuana rules

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Legal pot shops in the South Okanagan still months in the future

Penticton still working on retail cannabis regulations

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

North Okanagan-Shuswap trustee hopefuls state stance on education

Retired teachers association holds forum for School District 83 board candidates

Most Read