2018 BC Budget Announced

February 20, 2018

The books have been balanced. The debt has gone up. New programs are in place. So what does B.C. budget 2018 mean to you? These are 11 things that can be taken away from the first full B.C. NDP budget since 2001.

Speculation Tax
Starting this year, the provincial government will apply a 0.5 per cent speculation tax on homes owned by people who don’t pay taxes in British Columbia. The tax goes up to two per cent in 2019 and will stay at that rate going forward. It is expected to bring in $87 million this year.

Foreign Buyers Tax going up
Starting Wednesday, the foreign home buyers tax is going up from 15 per cent to 20 per cent. Not only will the tax be applied to homes in Metro Vancouver, but will now apply in the Capital Regional District, the Fraser Valley, the Central Okanagan and the Nanaimo Regional District.

Property Transfer Tax up
The property transfer tax continues to be a cash cow for the province. The province is expected to collect $2.23 billion this year from the tax after bringing in $1.6 billion last year. The province is also increasing the tax on properties over $3 million from three per cent to five per cent.

Closing housing loopholes
The NDP was highly critical in opposition of the loopholes that were being exploited in the overheated housing market. Now in government, the NDP will try to close some of the loopholes by creating a database on pre-sale condo assignments, stopping numbered companies from owning homes and deal with mega-homes built on Agriculture Land Reserve Land.

Eliminating MSP by 2020
The province will start collecting an Employer Health Tax in 2019 to work towards getting rid of the Medical Service Plan premiums by 2020. Most businesses will be required to pay the new tax, with bigger companies paying more than smaller companies.

Affordable Child Care benefit
The province is providing support to parents who have their children in licensed child care facilities. A new credit will see up to $350 per month go directly into licensed child care that will see the savings passed onto parents.

Fair PharmaCare program
Health Minister Adrian Dix had previously announced B.C.’s Fair PharmaCare program to eliminate deductibles for families with annual incomes below $30,000. The funding for that program was unveiled in Tuesday’s budget.

Shelter aid for elderly renters
Low-income seniors are going to benefit from an increase to the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters program and Rental Assistance Program. The province is pledging $116 million over three years to the benefit, while raising the ceiling to include those who have annual households incomes of $40,000, up from $35,000.

Fire recovery funding
After an historic fire season that cost the province $648 million to fight, the government is pitching in another $72 million for a fire recovery fund.

Indigenous Skills Training Program
The province is spending $201 million over three years for an Indigenous Skills Training Program and Aboriginal Friendship Centres. There will also be $50 million in 2017/18 to revitalize Indigenous languages.”

Luxury tax on cars
If you are in the market for a high-end car in B.C, get ready to pay a little more. The province is doubling the tax on the purchase of cars worth more than $150,000 to 20 per cent. The measure will bring in an estimated $10 million.