BC Tech: Budget 2023

The Minister of Finance, Katrine Conroy, delivered the BC government’s 2023 Budget today with a focus on helping people with costs, tackling the housing crisis, strengthening health and mental health services, supporting safe, healthy communities and building a sustainable economy.

With over one million job openings in BC expected over the next decade and a low unemployment rate of 4.4% in January, the government is launching the Future Ready plan in the spring. Budget 2023 lays out $480 million over three years to support Future Ready’s work to break down barriers to post-secondary training, so more people can get the training they need for in-demand careers and employers can access the talent they require.

The Future Ready plan includes initiatives, such as:

  • A new grant for short-term skills training, which will help people get the relevant skills and training they need to succeed in good-paying, high-demand jobs;
  • New funding to assist small and medium-sized businesses in finding and implementing practical solutions to current labour market challenges and prepare for a changing economy;
  • More opportunities for Indigenous Peoples, including funding to support Indigenous‑led programs, such as a new Guardian training program that will be co-developed with Indigenous Peoples; and
  • Creating thousands of new training seats for in-demand fields to help build up a workforce ready and able to meet the demands of the future.

Access to talent continues to be the major challenge for tech employers, so BC Tech looks forward to reading the detail of the Future Ready plan to see how much funding will be deployed to address the tech sector’s talent needs.  With non-tech sectors looking to address their labour shortages by deploying technology, supporting a growing BC tech sector is the tide that will raise all boats.

The BC government noted the overall value of goods exports is weakening while service exports continue to grow.  BC Tech continues to advocate to close the current gap in economic measurement of BC’s tech and innovation economy.  With more complete data, the BC government will be better able to anticipate and harness the economic opportunities for BC.

It was great to see as part of the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation Service Plan the focus on growing businesses with 10 or more employees.  Such companies can pay higher salaries, invest more in R&D, support a growing workforce, and generate more economic activity domestically and internationally.  Supporting more small businesses to scale up and become economic anchors in communities, builds a resilient and diverse economy and BC does not invest enough in this work today.

As the Minister stated we all look forward to a growing, secure and clean economy which is a success for everyone, today and in the years ahead.