The tech winners (and one loser) of the 2022 BC Budget
We check in with how the province’s latest announcement will affect the tech sector.
The word “tech” appears three times in finance minister Selina Robinson’s BC Budget speech. Mostly, that’s in reference to announcements that have already happened, including last week’s pledge to build a Trades and Technology complex on the BCIT Burnaby complex through a $136.6 million investment.
As such, there isn’t much on the surface dedicated to the tech space in the $5.5 billion deficit planned for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. (The government plans for a $4.2 billion deficit in 2023/2024 and a $3.2 billion deficit in 2024/2025.)
But as we know these days, tech doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Most, if not all, industries in the province are connected to (and through) technology.
While this year’s budget does celebrate some previously announced commitments as referenced above, let’s dig into the latest news and see if we can find some winners in the tech sector.
Many tech workers (especially women) delay or suspend their careers after having children. The latest budget may keep some more of them in the workforce. The average BCer will pay $20 a day per child for daycare by the end of 2022, the province promised. That’s the intended result of a $100 million increase in the province’s childcare plan. It would be a massive boon for parents.
If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you might want to make cleantech a part of your next endeavour. The province announced it is increasing the tax credit budget for clean technology to $41 million from $38.5 million for the 2022 to 2024 calendar years.
The increase is being allocated to investments in clean technology businesses. So yeah, start building that solar-powered blender. (Actually, don’t steal that idea.)
Winner: Remote workers in certain areas
It’s not a huge surprise that after recent years, BC Wildfire Service will be turned into a year-round service at a cost of $243 million. The added capacity will improve facilities to deal with wildfires.
That has to be a relief to remote tech workers who work for a Vancouver-based company and made moves to, say, B.C.’s interior to save on housing costs.
Winner: First Nations communities
Well, a lot of them, anyway. High-speed internet service will be provided to 280 First Nations, rural and remote communities under a five-year, $289 million plan. That can only help produce more skill in the tech workforce in the form of people who otherwise might not consider joining it.
Winner: Electric vehicles
EV buyers are getting a tax brake (sorry). There will be a PST exemption for used zero-emission vehicles effective until 2027. And $79 million in government money will continue to fund the Go Electric Program for electric vehicle charging systems and to support vehicle pilot projects.
Loser: Online marketplaces
On July 1, businesses that facilitate sales or leases of certain goods, services or software for third parties through their online platform will be required to collect and remit tax on those sales and leases made in B.C.
Also on July 1, the PST will be applied to tobacco. It’s not our place to say cigarette companies are losers but I guess we just did.