In the speech from the throne, Lt. Gov. Janet Austin outlined the B.C. Government’s work through the COVID-19 pandemic and its plans to build a strong recovery.

“We have come a long way by looking out for each other and we can finally see the finish line in sight,” said Premier John Horgan. “But in a marathon, the final push is the most difficult. The threat of new variants means we cannot let down our guard, not when we are this close to the end. Our top priority will continue to be on keeping British Columbians safe while we get more people vaccinated and plan for brighter days ahead.”

The speech highlighted a number of actions the Province intends to take in the next year to help B.C. recover from the pandemic, including:

  • Health Care:
    • Addressing cracks in long-term care.
    • Reducing surgery wait times.
    • Building more hospitals and urgent primary care centres.
  • Affordability:
    • Changes to ICBC to cut insurance rates by 20%.
    • Expanding access to $10-a-day child care spaces.
    • Investing to build more rental homes.
  • Business support:
    • Grants aimed at helping them build online stores.
    • Introducing legislation to support operations of InBC strategic investment fund.
  • Inclusivity:
    • Creating B.C.’s first anti-racism law.
    • Reforming the Police Act.
    • Introducing legislation to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion experienced by those with disabilities.
  • Protecting the environment:
    • Reforming forestry legislation.
    • Taking action on recommendations to protect old-growth stands.
    • Improving plastic waste management.
  • Digital connectivity:
    • Boosting connections in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

The B.C. Government said the budget will be tabled next week, which will focus on making health care better, while creating opportunities for residents, giving help to businesses and making infrastructure investments to create jobs and strengthen communities.

“The focus of our government from day one has been to put people first. When the pandemic struck, that focus did not waver,” said Horgan. “We moved quickly to provide relief for renters, middle-class families, hard-hit businesses and the most vulnerable. But we know that while we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. There is much more to do to ensure people don’t get left behind as we recover.”

Austin said in the speech that residents across the province have not felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic equally.

“Women have been more likely to lose their job or feel forced out of the workforce, young people have missed out on work opportunities and vital social connections. Indigenous people, Black people and people of colour as well as those working in front-line jobs and in the gig economy, have all been affected disproportionally. As we move forward toward better days, your government will make targeted investments to make sure the recovery does not leave people behind,” said Austin.

According to the B.C. Government, tackling climate change and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples will remain guiding principles as it looks to support recovery.

The province will look to continue its implementation of CleanBC, which is said is North America’s most progressive climate action plan.

“Too often in the past, economic growth in our province has come at the expense of the environment. That must change,” explained Horgan. “Our economic recovery must become an opportunity to accelerate environmental protection, not an excuse to relax our commitment to sustainability. We are committed to building a B.C. where we create good jobs that help us meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and where we always work in partnership with Indigenous peoples, so everyone shares in the prosperity of this land.”

Next week, the B.C. Government will table a budget that will focus on helping the province and its residents now and into the future.

“The focus of our government from day one has been to put people first. When the pandemic struck, that focus did not waver,” said Horgan. “We moved quickly to provide relief for renters, middle-class families, hard-hit businesses and the most vulnerable. But we know that while we are all in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat. There is much more to do to ensure people don’t get left behind as we recover.”

The full throne speech can be found below.