(LANGLEY, February 25, 2022) The 2022 Provincial Budget was released on February 22, with a government focus on building a stronger BC and making life better for people by investing in our economy, environment and social strengths. Of significance is that government in the budget confirmed its fight against climate change by investing an additional $1 billion for its CleanBC plan, which includes additional funding for BCTA’s Heavy-Duty Vehicle Efficiency (HDVE) Program and inclusion of hydrogen combustion vehicles, with honourable mention of BCTA member Hydra Energy in the motor fuel tax exemption program.
The province’s economy expanded by an estimated 5.0% in 2021 and is forecast to expand by 4.0% in 2022 and 2.5% in 2023.
Budget 2022 invests an additional $1 billion in funding for CleanBC and the Roadmap to 2030, including:
Investing in the low carbon economy with $9 million over the fiscal plan to expand the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and to develop a new emissions cap on natural gas utilities
Supporting cleaner transportation over the fiscal plan, including:
PST exemption for used zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), effective now until 2027, and a higher threshold for luxury surtax on passenger ZEVs to a base of $75,000.
Motor fuel tax exemption for the use of hydrogen in internal combustion engines, encouraging use and development of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, effective immediately. This will benefit companies like BC-based Hydra Energy, as it works to transition heavy-duty vehicles to hydrogen power.
$79 million to continue the Go Electric program to provide rebates for electric-vehicle charging systems, fund hydrogen refueling infrastructure and support commercial vehicle pilot projects.
Developing a Clean Transportation Action Plan to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.
Authorizing $249 million in Low Carbon Fuel Credits to continue light-duty zero-emission vehicle rebates.
Investing $5 million over two years to continue the Heavy-Duty Vehicle Efficiency Program, which partners with industry to educate drivers and install fuel-efficiency measures in heavy-duty vehicles.
Budget 2022 also outlines a record level of $27.4 billion over the next three years on their infrastructure plan. This includes funding for major transportation projects such as replacements for the Massey Tunnel and Pattullo Bridge, and improvements along Highway 14 on Vancouver Island and Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Canyon underway.
This year’s budget delivers more than $2.1 billion to help us prepare for, respond to, and recover from floods, heatwaves and wildfires. An additional $1.1 billion is earmarked in contingencies to support additional recovery costs in the months ahead.
Budget 2022 is committed to supporting British Columbians and communities to get through COVID-19 safely together. The government is committing $875 million in the next year to get more people immunized, more personal protective equipment purchased, and more people tested for COVID-19. $25 million in funding has been budgeted to support the tourism sector’s continuing recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
BCBC outlined that more must be done to eliminate barriers to investment and business expansion across the entire economy. Additional measures should be put in place to address the sharp rise in business operating costs in recent years and to improve efficiency and effectiveness in our regulatory regimes for our leading industry sectors.
Despite British Columbia’s advantage of producing natural resource and energy products that, on average, have only half the greenhouse gas intensity of similar products from competing jurisdictions, the province’s carbon pricing system continues to be challenging for investments as it introduces added costs, without having offset measures that level the playing field. As a result, there is more incentivization for energy and other traded good sectors to invest dollars in other, higher-emitting jurisdictions that have different or no carbon pricing framework.