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B.C. announces tax credit increase, cap on rent hikes to fight inflation

B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced an increase to two tax credits and a cap on rent increases as the province grapples with rising cost of living due to "unprecedented" inflation.

On Wednesday, Horgan announced a boost to the Climate Action Tax Credit and the newly named B.C. Family Benefit.

The first credit will see an increase of $164 per adult and $41 per child. Horgan said those payments will start flowing in the first week of October.

Next January, families with children will see $58.33 more for each child under 18 for at least three months. Horgan estimated that the combined impact of this will mean a family of four would see an additional $760 per year and a single parent with one child will see an additional $500.

The amounts are based on how many kids and caregivers are in a family. According to the Ministry of Finance, individuals earning around $79,000, and families of four with a combined income of around $150,000 won’t get the Climate Action Tax Credit.

To be eligible for the newly renamed BC Family Benefit (previously the Child Opportunity Benefit), a family with one child needs a combined income of less than $115,000, while eligibility for a family with two kids maxes out at $148,000.

The Opposition BC Liberals took aim at the examples, arguing many people will get much less than advertised, due to the sliding scale.

“Of course you want people who are on the lower income scale to get some help," Finance Critic Peter Milobar told CTV News,.

"I think it's just disingenuous of the government to use strictly that income bracket as the only representative example.”

Horgan said these two things combined will cost the province $600 million over the next six months.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson said that 85 per cent of people in B.C. will be eligible to benefit from the bump to the Climate Action Tax Credit. She estimated 75 per cent of people with children will benefit from changes to what was formerly known as the Child Opportunity Benefit Fund.

"These measures are really going to go a long way to help a lot of people," she said.

"These are the next steps we are taking to reduce costs and we're putting money in people's pockets because we know that that's what people need right now."

Everyone who is up to date on their income tax filings will receive these payments automatically.

The annual rent increase – which is normally tied to inflation -- will be capped at a maximum 2 per cent for 2023. For a household paying $2,000 per month, that works out to a maximum hike of $40 per month. The province estimates this will represent a savings of up to $816 per year.

"During this extraordinary time, an inflationary increase in rents would be debilitating for 1.5 million British Colombians," he said adding the government is working with landlords to address their concerns about the impact of this cap.

The BC Liberals pointed out the supports didn’t include a long-time NDP promise of a one-time $400 renter’s rebate.

The package didn’t include anything specifically for those on fixed incomes. Robinson said if the province’s finances were in a surplus situation, the province would consider adding new supports.

Horgan described the measures as targeted to support those who need it most.

"That's been our choice. Other jurisdictions have made similar choices. Others have made different choices. But ultimately, we believe that this is a fair package that will meet the needs of people in the short term," he said.

"We're going to continue to work on these issues. It's not something that you just stop because inflation starts to go down. The cost of living is a fundamental issue for families wherever they may live."

Horgan also said a hydro rebate of some kind will be announced later this year but that finalizing the details has taken longer than he hoped. Top Stories

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