The British Columbia government is looking beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in its speech from the throne to other priorities including help for the economy, improved health care and taking on inequality.
Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin delivered the speech in the legislature on behalf of the government outlining its priorities more than a year after the pandemic began and amid a third wave of surging infections.
Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin opens the 2nd session of the 42nd Parliament of BC and reads the speech from the throne. https://t.co/WqgROXlWar— BC Government News (@BCGovNews) April 12, 2021
The speech says the province's NDP government will hire thousands of new workers for long-term care and fix cracks exposed in the system by COVID-19, improve surgery wait times and build new hospitals, including one in Surrey.
It commits to record spending on infrastructure including replacing the George Massey Tunnel and building the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain line, as well as legislation to support a fund to help B.C. companies scale up and hire local workers.
The government also promises to develop British Columbia's first anti-racism law and introduce legislation to remove barriers to accessibility and inclusion felt by those in B.C. with disabilities.
It says the government is committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour in June, and promises to get thousands of rental homes built while also expanding $10-a-day daycare.
The speech says B.C. residents need to come together with the same spirit that saw them bang pots and pans for front-line workers last year.
"It is this same spirit of common purpose that we must summon again to get us safely through to the end of the pandemic, so that we can start building towards that brighter future we know is possible," the speech says.