Skip to main content

Rapid Recap: B.C. Budget 2024 Focuses on Affordability, Housing and Health Care


February 22, 2024- B.C. Minister of Finance Katrine Conroy today tabled the B.C. NDP Government’s final budget before this fall’s provincial election. Key initiatives in the $81.5 billion spending plan include a one-time B.C. Hydro rebate, an increase to the B.C. Family Benefit, an increase to the Climate Action Tax Credit, a new home flipping tax, and a new publicly funded fertility treatment program.

To pay for these new initiatives, the B.C. Government will run a record $7.9 billion deficit, which is almost twice as much as the last fiscal year. Minister Conroy defended the size of the deficit, saying spending cuts would be “reckless” and “we cannot afford to have a deficit of services”.

Overall capital spending will be $14 billion over the next three years, an increase of $4 billion over last year’s budget. $4.4 billion will support the construction of new hospitals and long-term care facilities and $1.1 billion will be allocated to build and renovate schools.

Ministry of Health Budget and New Mandate Letter

The Ministry of Health’s budget will rise to $32.8 billion this year, an increase of $4.2 billion over the previous fiscal year. New funding initiatives include $270 million in additional funding to improve cancer care, $354 million for home and community care, $215 million for addictions treatment and recovery programs and $68 million for the new fertility program. More details on health initiatives are below.

A new mandate letter for Minister Dix directs him to continue to increase access to physicians, make it easier for health care workers trained elsewhere to work in B.C., make B.C. a leader in cancer care, build and modernize hospitals, improve senior’s care, and strengthen the ambulance service.

Other Budget Priorities

Housing was a key theme in the budget with much of the focus on a new 20 per cent flipping tax that will apply to anyone who sells a home within two years of purchasing it. The tax will be implemented next year and the $11 million expected in the first year will be used to build affordable housing. The first time homebuyers program will be expanded by raising the threshold of the property transfer tax. Stakeholders were critical that there were no changes to programs which provide rental subsidies for low income families and seniors but Minister Conroy said those changes are still under consideration.

The Employer Health Tax (EHT) threshold will be raised from $500,000 to $1 million which means that 90 percent of B.C. businesses will now be exempt, saving them a combined $100 million. The EHT was introduced in 2019 to replace Medical Service Premiums which were paid by individual British Columbians.


B.C. United Party Leader Kevin Falcon was very critical of the size of the deficit, saying when the government spends so recklessly it drives up inflation and affordability issues for British Columbians. B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Fursteanu criticized the budget for failing to invest in transit, support for renters, public education, and tangible actions that address climate change. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives was supportive of public investments and resisting pressure from business advocacy organizations to introduce an austerity budget.

Specific Health Care Initiatives Include

  • Cancer Care – $270 million in new funding will support B.C.’s 10-Year Cancer Action Plan which was launched in spring 2023. The new funding will support HPV vaccines and cervical cancer screenings, hereditary cancer screening, and medical imaging strategies.
  • New In-Vitro Fertilization Program – B.C.’s program will launch next year and help with the costs of treatment and medication for a single cycle of treatment. The program will benefit hopeful parents regardless of their relationship status, who they love, and how much money they make.
  • Seniors Care – Budget 2025 allocates $354 million for home and community care for seniors. This includes initiatives to help seniors live safely in their homes for longer and improve seniors’ quality of life overall.
  • Mental Health and Addictions – $215 million in new funding will help continue to fund 2,200 community mental health and substance use beds, harm reduction initiatives and Peer-Assisted Care Teams and Mobile Integrated Crisis Response Teams.
  • New Hospitals – B.C. will proceed with $13 billion worth of hospital projects including the new $2.9 billion hospital and cancer centre in Surrey, the new $2.2 billion St. Paul’s Hospital, the $1.7 billion Burnaby Hospital redevelopment, $1.4 billion for a new Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan, and many more.

Key Takeaways

Today’s budget kicks off the spring legislative session running through to May 16, 2024. It also officially begins the countdown to the B.C. election. The writ will drop in mid September with British Columbians going to the polls on October 19th.

More information: