Home Business & Economy Affordability Premier says BC cost-of-living supports in the works

Premier says BC cost-of-living supports in the works

BC Government may use BC Hydro to deliver affordability support.

cost of living
Cost Of Living Expenses Sky High Monitor Showing Increasing Costs

Thursday August 4, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC

Analysis by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

In the works!

Yesterday Premier John Horgan said that his government is working on some financial supports for people in BC who are being most impacted by this year’s rising inflation and the steep upward climb in the cost of living.

Food and gasoline cost increases are seen at the retail level but the cost of fuel and the impact of rising interest rates is embedded into nearly every commodity and service.

john horgan, west shore, campus
Premier John Horgan addressing media in Langford, August 3, 2022. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Horgan said the customized (and possibly one-off) financial support might include something from or through BC Hydro. Pretty much every person or household in the province has an account with the electricity utility, so that would provide an accessible mechanism for delivery of funds or a discount.

Cost of living still pushing upwards:

Canada’s annual inflation rate rose to 8.1% in June 2022 (up from 7.7% in May), the highest since January 1983. Food inflation was up 8.8% at last count. Much of this is pressured upwards by the cost of fuel (just about all products are shipped by truck, train, ferry and/or plane).

bank of canada, interest rate
Bank of Canada key interest rate – March 2021 to July 2022. [Bank of Canada]

The Bank of Canada keeps pushing up their base rate, which is presently at 2.5% (jumping up by relative leaps and bounds from nearly the lowest possible rate of 0.50% where it sat since at least March 2021).

Back in 2019 the rate was at 2% but was dropped during the pandemic in 2020; easy money led many people into mortgages and credit lines or cards that now have increasing rates.

The next Bank of Canada rate increase announcement is set for September 7, which happens to coincide with families dealing with back-to-school costs and families and businesses heading into the cold season with heating costs and seasonally higher electricity usage to consider.

Addressing affordability across all ministries:

Today Island Social Trends received this statement from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation on this matter:

“Our government is looking at possibilities to address affordability across all ministries,” a spokesperson said. “We will have more to say in the weeks ahead.”

Horgan has said that he asked Finance Minister Selina Robinson about four months ago to start the ball rolling on this. It’s complex work which takes time.

About BC Hydro:

BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation, owned by the government and people of British Columbia. The utility says it generates and delivers electricity to 95% of the population of BC and serves over four million people.

BC Hydro, logo

“That’s a big responsibility that demands a simple, clear and straightforward mission with a clear vision that’s guided by our values,” as stated on the BC Hydro About page. Among their stated values are being forward-thinking and including everyone.

This would be a first:

Other than a customer crisis support fund (funded by contributions from every customer on their BC Hydro bill) which addresses only the most dire of customer scenarios (i.e. those under threat of disconnection), any rebate directed by government through BC Hydro would be a precedent-setting progressive action by and for the crown corporation.

This is a trademark style of the Horgan NDP government to use all possible government levers to support the widest possible number of people.

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Island Social Trends has been publishing socioeconomic news insights since 2008 (first as MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, then Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, then West Shore Voice News 2014-2020), launching fully online at islandsocialtrends.ca in mid-2020.

Founding editor and publisher is Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR.