The BC NDP released their entire election platform today in Victoria. Today’s announcement concludes the themed daily policy announcements the BC NDP have made since the Sunday prior to the start of the campaign.

New initiatives announced today include commitments to create a new Ministry of Women’s Equality, conduct a judicial inquiry into the sale of BC Rail, index the minimum wage to the cost of living, make changes to the labour code and appoint a panel to review the crown corporation responsible for BC Place and the Vancouver Convention Centre with potential intent to sell both assets. The platform also states that a BC NDP government would continue with $18.3 billion in capital projects that are underway but will not make commitments beyond what is available in the current capital plan given the current fiscal climate.

The platform details $2 billion in new spending over three years with $2 billion in deficits over the same period. The previously-announced fiscal plan detailed new revenue measures and identified reallocations from existing BC Liberal government commitments. Additional revenue measures including an corporate tax rate increase to 12 per cent, a re-instated capital tax on financial institutions and an increase on high income earners personal tax will help fund the platform promises announced today.

They also maintain their planned $2 billion deficit is the “real BC Liberal deficit” after removing the planned sale of government assets and reinstating funding for government services such as health and education to “more realistic and prudent levels”.

Below is a summary of key commitments by theme:

Sustainable Economy / Skills Training

  • Create a $100M needs-based, non-repayable grant program for post-secondary and skills training students
  • Renew BC’s trade and export strategy by developing a coordinated approach with regional and sector-specific goals
  • Improve the apprenticeship system by creating more spaces, improving completion rates and times, and investing in modern training equipment
  • Skills training commitment to invest $40M in skills training to increase training spaces, shorten completion times and improve completion rates
  • A one-time $20M scholarship fund for post-secondary and skills training students
  • Expand the BC Training Tax Credit Program
  • Support Destination BC as BC’s industry-led, formula-funded tourism marketer
  • Increase BC’s film and TV tax credit program
  • Freeze ferry fares

Education and Childcare

  • Hire new teachers, education assistants, librarians and counsellors
  • Replace the Foundation Skills Assessment
  • Reduce fees for existing licensed infant and toddler care by 20 per cent
  • Invest in early learning and childcare through an Early Years Innovation Fund

Reducing Poverty and Inequality

  • Create a Ministry of Women’s Equality
  • Improve legal aid through new community partnerships
  • Support crime prevention and restorative justice
  • Support Aboriginal Friendship Centres
  • $210 million annual investment in a BC Family Bonus Program
  • Increase income assistance rates
  • Strengthen Community Living BC

Health Care

  • Restore and expand the use of independent drug research
  • Expand province-wide academic detailing and BC’s low-cost drug program
  • Increased access to mental health and addiction services
  • Strengthened primary and community health services to relieve pressure on acute care, especially in rural areas
  • Expand home support and community care for seniors, people with disabilities and people with chronic and complex conditions
  • Establish an Independent Seniors Representative

Forests, Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Forestry plan to invest in skills training, improve forest health, expand global markets,
  • Reduce raw log exports and enhance value-added activity
  • Establish a Jobs Protection Commissioner to support communities in transition
  • Promote and support sustainable mining and exploration
  • Enhance the Environmental Assessment process so certification decisions are reached in a more timely manner
  • Re-instate Buy BC program

Employment Standards and Workplace Safety

  • Tie minimum wage to inflation and eliminate the “server wage”
  • Examine changes to the Labour Code to ensure workers can freely exercise their right to join a union
  • Establish a more effective governance system for the Workers’ Compensation Board to give employers and unions a greater role in decision making
  • Invest new resources in the BC Labour Relations Board
  • Restore free collective bargaining in the health and education sectors

Protecting the Environment

  • Continue to oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline
  • Maintain a moratorium on offshore oil exploration, drilling and tankers on the North Coast
  • Oppose turning Vancouver in to a major oil export port
  • Dissolve the Pacific Carbon Trust and place its measurement and monitoring functions in the Climate Action Secretariat
  • Ban cosmetic pesticide use
  • Use carbon tax revenue to fund transit, green projects that contribute to greenhouse gas reductions, and retrofits and other green infrastructure in both urban and rural areas
  • Cancel the proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort

Promoting Good Government

  • Move the next Provincial Election to the fall of 2017
  • Ban taxpayer funded advertisements
  • Ban donations to political parties by corporations and unions and strike an all-party legislative committee on campaign finance reform
  • Strengthen FOI laws
  • Empower legislative committees to undertake meaningful consultation with British Columbians
  • Conduct a judicial inquiry into the sale of BC Rail

The BC NDP’s backgrounder on the platform is available here: http://www.bcndp.ca/files/Backgounder_BC_NDP_Platform_0.pdf