B.C. Budget Could Go Further to Address Affordability

B.C. Budget 2023 could make better choices to protect British Columbians and makeinfrastructure investments go further, according to the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA) whose members build major infrastructure and capital projects across the country.

Budget 2023 boosts capital spending to a record $37.5 billion over three years, to support major taxpayer-funded projects including the Cowichan District Hospital, which falls under the province’s so-called Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs). That project so far, is $559 million over budget.

“If the B.C. government is truly concerned about affordability, its labour policies should encourage competition to help reduce infrastructure costs,” said Paul de Jong, president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA). “Scrapping the flawed CBA would go a long way in keeping project costs down, and making life more affordable for each and every taxpayer in this province.”

Budget 2023 does provide $480 over three years for a new skills training program that builds on the Future Ready plan. PCA supports additional funds for skills training and is hopeful there will be broad consultation before program details are announced in the months ahead.

“We look forward to providing our input on how to address B.C.’s skills shortage,” added de Jong. “Any new programs should support employers and workers through parity of esteem initiatives that help put the skilled trades on equal footing with all other academic pursuits.”