Provincial Budget Highlights for AAPS Members

 

On Monday, September 11, 2017 Finance Minister Carole James delivered the Budget 2017 Update. The Provincial Government announced a balanced budget and made some positive first steps for the University of British Columbia, and the day-to-day lives of AAPS members.

KEY AREAS FOR AAPS MEMBERS:

Rate Reduction to Medical Services Plan premiums

The province announced a 50% cut to MSP premiums starting January 1, 2018. This is part of a longer-term initiative to end MSP premiums over the next four years.

Elimination of Bridge Tolls

The government has removed tolls from the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.

Support for Communities Impacted by Wildfires

The Provincial Government will support evacuees, communities, and businesses with $100 million through the Red Cross as well as $140 million in funding for projects focused on wildfire risk reduction, reforestation, wildlife habitat restoration, and raising awareness of the FireSmart program.

Funding Restoration for the UBC Therapeutics Initiative

The government has committed $2 million annually to this program. The UBC Therapeutics Initiative is a team of medical professionals and part of the Faculty of Medicine. They provide independent advice to the Ministry of Health on the effectiveness of new drugs being considered for the provincial PharmaCare program. As with other departments at UBC, AAPS members provide management and support to this initiative both directly, and through their roles in the Faculty of Medicine.

Building a Sustainable and Innovative Economy

In the BC Budget Update, the Provincial Government committed to support projects funded by the Federal Government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund as well as continue to support capital projects to build capacity in the fields of science and technology.

Services Plan for the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training

The Ministry’s mandate letter included priorities such as expanding B.C.’s technology-related post-secondary programs and co-op programs, developing more degree programs to support the forestry sector, establishing technology and innovation centres, and introducing a graduate student scholarship fund.

AAPS will continue to lobby the government for an increase in UBC’s operating grant in our presentation to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. We hope to see an increase in operating support for UBC in the 2018/2019 as well as more initiatives to improve affordability for all AAPS members.