Throne Speech Commits to Homes for People First and Features Child Care
“Today’s Throne Speech signals renewed reason for hope among B.C.’s younger generations, at a moment when hope is desperately needed,” explains Dr. Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, a non-partisan voice for younger Canadians in the world of politics.
Research shows that the new NDP government inherited the worst economy in Canada for younger generations as home prices leave our earnings behind. The typical 25-34 year old in B.C. earns over $9,000 less for full-time work by comparison with the same age person in 1976 (after inflation), while home prices have risen hundreds of thousands of dollars. No province reports a larger reduction in earnings, nor a greater increase in housing costs.
The result is a dramatic deterioration in the standard of living for younger British Columbians, because hard work and study don’t pay off like they used to. Compounding this problem is the fact that postsecondary tuition has increased more in B.C. than in any other province since 2001, while child care costs twice as much university tuition.
For too long, provincial governments have overlooked the challenges created for younger British Columbians by outdated policy decisions.
But today’s Throne Speech hints that positive change may be forthcoming. Generation Squeeze asked the new government to commit to a vision for housing policy that puts Homes for People First – prioritizing home prices that remain in reach for what typical people earn over investment returns in the real estate market. Premier Horgan’s government explicitly embraced this language in the Speech, and went on to signal its intention to develop a comprehensive housing strategy that will increase supply, curb speculation, and level the playing field between renters and owners.
Since child care currently costs the equivalent of another mortgage-sized payment in this province, it’s also excellent news that the Throne Speech restated Premier Horgan’s commitment to deliver a province-wide universal child care system intent on ensuring that child care fees don’t take such a big bite out of the family budget. The NDP election platform endorsed the $10/day fee recommendation first proposed by the Gen Squeeze lab at the University of BC, around which the 10aday.ca campaign has since mobilized. That plan could save young families tens of thousands of dollars before their children reach grade school – funds they could use to pay down student debt, pay rent, save for home, or put money aside for retirement.
“Since the devil is always in the details,” explains Kershaw, “all British Columbians must wait to see what actually gets prioritized in the budget update, and the next full budget scheduled for February 2018. Still, we can hope that the new, positive tone set in today’s Throne Speech could restore B.C. on an economic path that actually works for all generations – young and old alike.”