A third benefit payment will soon be hitting B.C. families’ bank accounts, as part of the province’s efforts to curb inflation.
Starting April 1, eligible families will start receiving money from the new $500-million B.C. Affordability Credit announced in February’s provincial budget.
A family of two children will receive up to $410 based on $164 per adult and $41 per child with 85 per cent of British Columbians eligible for help.
Finance Minister Katrine Conroy said global inflation is stretching most budgets, but it can be really tough for those already struggling to make ends meet.
She made these comments as British Columbians await this month’s federal budget due to be tabled March 28, which promises additional relief in the face of inflation.
Statistics Canada will release information about inflation Tuesday (March 21) and early predictions from Canadian banks point toward another drop. Inflation peaked in June 2022 at 8.1 per cent and has since dropped to 5.9 per cent in January 2023 year-over-year.
April 1 will also see B.C. start offering free prescription contraception at a cost of $119 million over three years. B.C. will become the first province in Canada to provide that service following lengthy lobbying by groups like AccessBC, which has argued that the measure would improve health outcomes, make life more affordable and reduce stigma around birth control.
What the province giveth on April 1, it also taketh on April 1 – only to top it up later.
The benefit will return to its former level of $133.33 per month for the first child until July 1, when the benefit will permanently go up by 10 per cent. Parents will receive up to $1,750 for their first child, up to $1,100 for the second and up to $900 for each subsequent child per year.
Single parents can get as much as an additional $500 on top of the 10 per cent increase.
July 1 will also see the province increase the Climate Action Tax Credit for people with low to moderate incomes.
Other measures touted by the government include increased support for people on income and disability assistance — $558 million over three years. Anti-poverty advocates have described this measure as necessary but insufficient.