VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is projecting a $13.6 billion deficit for this fiscal year, as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continues its financial hit on businesses and families.

Finance Minister Selina Robinson said revenue from income, property transfer taxes and income from Crown corporations is actually higher than projected earlier in the year. In total, revenue is $1.4 billion higher than projected in the first quarterly update. The province is also expected to partially recover in 2021.

Retail sales are up, and “have surpassed pre-pandemic levels,” said the minister in Victoria Thursday morning.

Residential sales are expected to be up, bringing in more than $500 million more in revenue than last projected.

The minister also said the job market is improving although noting for youth aged 15-24, the rate was 14.1 per cent in November, which is lower than the high of 29 per cent and higher than what it was before the pandemic.

Robinson also noted the job losses show a bias.

“They discriminate based on age, gender, race, income level, and the sector you work in.”

During the July update, the province projected the deficit to hit $12.5 billion. Since then, more than $2 billion in spending has been added, including for the recovery benefit. In total, the minister said the province has allocated more than $10 billion to cope with COVID-19.

The government has recently introduced legislation to delay the spring budget, typically delivered in February, due to the pandemic. Instead, the budget will be delivered on April 20, 2021.