B.C.’s Budget Surges to $12.5 Billion Deficit Due to Pandemic

July 14, 2020 Updated: July 14, 2020

VICTORIA—British Columbia’s balanced budget has been shattered by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the province forecasting a deficit of $12.5 billion for 2020-21.

Finance Minister Carole James says the numbers are staggering with a predicted GDP decline of 6.8 percent, retail sales down 15.9 percent and job losses of 235,000 since February.

James says the government has provided $6.26 billion in financial aid to businesses and individuals.

She says B.C.’s restart plan is showing signs of hope for the economy as consumer confidence increases.

James says it wouldn’t help the economic recovery to pull back on spending, but the government will also review every cent spent as it heads into the next budget year.

The B.C. government has tabled legislation giving itself room for three years of deficits, which James says will be re-examined each year.