Labour costs shape B.C. budget

B.C. will balance its budget for a second straight year, despite a larger than usual contingency fund for labour costs

Finance Minister Mike de Jong got a favourite pair of shoes resoled and an extra hole drilled in his belt for budget day on Tuesday.

VICTORIA – B.C. will balance its budget for a second straight year, despite a larger than usual contingency fund for labour costs, Finance Minister Mike de Jong said Monday.

De Jong wouldn’t comment directly on a January court decision in favour of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, which Education Minister Peter Fassbender has estimated could cost $1 billion over the coming years.

But de Jong said there are only two ways the government could cover unexpected labour costs without going back into deficit.

“One is to ask the taxpayers for more money, and we’re not prepared to do that,” de Jong said. “And the second is that it comes from somewhere else in the budget.”

Government lawyers filed in the B.C. Court of Appeal Friday for a stay of provisions that would force school districts to return to staffing rules in place in 2001. Its submission said the ruling would cost Surrey school district $40 million in the first year, with similar financial impacts on all 60 districts.

Affidavits from school district superintendents around the province said the ruling would involve construction of portables, reorganization of classes, cancellation of special needs, preschool and child care programs and other disruptions.

De Jong said the 2013-14 budget surplus is “modestly ahead” of the forecasts, and no major tax changes are coming this year. For the fiscal year that begins April 1, he expects B.C. and Saskatchewan to be the only provinces with balanced budgets.

 

Just Posted

Community helps fund dreams through Moms and Mentors

West Shore society helps women face the challenges of motherhood

Mainly cloudy skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Speculation tax forces sale of Oak Bay’s ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

Province rejects criticism from Saanich councillor over McKenzie Interchange

Transportation ministry says project will ‘significantly lower’ greenhouse gas emissions

Traditional salmon designs brighten Salish Sea Lantern Festival

Children from ȽÁU,WEL,ṈEW̱ tribal school built salmon hats for festival on Sidney waterfront

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Most Read