Despite COVID-19 impacts, province says it is still in good financial standing

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:03 PDT, Wed September 2, 2020

Last Updated: 1:46 PDT, Thu September 17, 2020

While BC’s 2019-20 financial results were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the province is still able to weather the storm according to newly released reports.

“The final quarter of the fiscal year brought many challenges,” Finance Minister Carole James said. “BC isn’t alone in facing these challenges, but we are in a strong position to weather them. The investments we made in 2019-20, such as eliminating MSP premiums and investing in child care and housing, will make life more affordable and support people through COVID-19 as the province develops a strong economic recovery plan.”

Despite strong fiscal results in the first three quarters of 2019-20, unforeseen changes in the fourth quarter due to COVID-19, including declines in tax revenues, ICBC losses and early measures to tackle the pandemic, affected the province’s 2019-20 financial results. The fiscal year ended with a deficit of $321 million, which is $595 million lower than the surplus projected in Budget 2019.

“Despite the impacts of COVID-19, I am encouraged that BC continues to show positive signs, including improving employment numbers, robust capital spending and the best debt affordability in Canada,” said Finance Minister Carole James.

Public Accounts 2019-20 show BC is in good financial standing with affordable debt levels at the end of the fiscal year and continues to lead the country as the only “AAA” accredited province. Provincial gross domestic product for 2019 grew by 2.8 per cent, above the national average of 1.7 per cent.

To access Public Accounts online, click here.

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