The BC Liberal Party

We've asked candidates in the top ten ridings (by membership population) to answer questions on the issues members raised in January. Below you will find responses from the BC Liberal Party.

Unionization: What changes would you make, if any, to enhance fairness for unions and to address declining union density in BC?

The foundation of Today’s BC Liberal plan is a strong, growing, and diverse economy that creates good-paying jobs for British Columbians. Because a job is the best way to look after the people we love. Unions are an important part of that. 

Like everyone else, the best thing for union workers is work. That's why we are focused on responsible resource development and building the infrastructure our province needs to continue to grow our economy. 

We will continue to find ways to ensure that British Columbians have the opportunity to find well paying, family supporting jobs. Unions have and will continue to have a role in our province and we are committed to a constructive working relationship.

The Environment and Climate Change: What would your party do to combat climate change?

Today’s BC Liberals have long been recognized as global climate leaders, with North America’s first broad based, revenue-neutral carbon tax and the first to have a carbon-neutral public sector. We can also be proud that our electricity supply is already 98% clean.  Not only do we have the fastest growing economy in the country, but we are seeing significant growth in the clean economy that currently employs more than 68,000 people.

We’ve proven that you can reduce GHG emissions while continuing to grow the economy and create jobs for BC families. Our Climate Leadership Plan sets out 21 new strategic actions spanning the province's transportation and industrial sectors, along with the built environment and government operations, including:

  • Launching a strategy to reduce upstream methane emissions by 45%;
  • Making B.C.'s electricity 100% renewable or clean;
  • Expanding the Clean Energy Vehicle program to support new vehicle incentives and infrastructure, and new transit options;
  • Setting a target for buildings to be net-zero ready by 2032; and
  • Targeting sequestration opportunities in our forests, and emission reductions in our natural gas production and processing.

Today’s BC Liberals have long been recognized as climate leaders, introducing North America’s first transparent, revenue-neutral carbon tax in 2008. Currently at $30 per tonne, B.C.’s carbon tax is the highest and most comprehensive carbon price on the continent. 

We will maintain the carbon tax freeze until 2021, while other Canadian provinces catch up to our leadership position.  The carbon tax will be revenue neutral, meaning every dollar raised will be returned to British Columbians in the form of tax relief. This way, we maintain affordability for families and competitiveness for industry.

Cost of Living: What will your party do to make the cost of living more affordable for British Columbians?

Today’s BC Liberals have a plan to create more jobs, because a good job is the best way to look after the people we love. And to make sure every resource is available, we need to build on our record of having one of the lowest overall tax burdens in Canada.  Today’s BC Liberals recognize individuals and families know how to spend their money best – not government.

Personal income taxes for most British Columbians have been reduced by 37% from BC NDP levels:

  • An individual earning $20,000 pays $723 less per year
  • A senior couple earning $40,000 pays $708 less per year
  • An individual earning $50,000 pays $1,320 less per year
  • A family of four earning $70,000 pays $2,044 less per year

We also introduced the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit, which saves families up to $660 a year per child under six, helping 180,000 families. And we created the BC Children’s Fitness Equipment Tax Credit – up to $250 per year - in addition to $500 Children’s Fitness & Arts Tax Credits.

For middle-class families looking for help making life more affordable, Today’s BC Liberals will provide a billion-dollar tax cut by making dramatic reductions to Medical Service Plan (MSP) Premiums. With two million British Columbians already exempt from MSP, two million more will see their premiums cut by 50% in January – the first step towards eliminating MSP entirely. That means a typical family of four earning less than $120,000 will save $900 per year in 2018.

We will continue to work to make life more affordable for families by:

  • Freezing all personal income taxes for the next four years.
  • Maintaining our carbon tax freeze until 2021.
  • Introducing a $500 annual cap for commuters who use tolled bridges.
  • By 2020, creating a loyalty program to reduce costs for user in ferry-dependent communities and, in the interim, creating a tax deduction to offset the costs for ferry use.
  • Doubling the Home Renovation Tax Credit to $20,000 to make home improvements to accommodate seniors or family members with disabilities.
  • Introducing a Respite Tax Credit of up to $2,500 for people caring for seniors or family members with disabilities.

Affordable Housing: What are your party’s plans to expand quality affordable housing?

Today’s BC Liberals recognize the critical importance of affordable housing and the investments our government has made reflect this. Since 2001, we have invested or committed to a total of $6.3 billion to provide affordable housing supply for low-income seniors, families and British Columbians. Through these investments, we have completed close to 24,000 new units of affordable housing.

Our plan of action is guided by 6 key principles:

  • Ensuring the dream of home ownership remains within the reach of the middle class
  • Increasing housing supply
  • Smart transit expansion
  • Supporting first-time home buyers
  • Ensuring consumer protection
  • Increasing rental supply

To implement these principles, Today’s BC Liberals will:

  • Increase housing supply by working with municipalities to speed up permitting and open new opportunities for housing.
  • Expand the Home Renovation Tax Credit eligibility to those renovating their home to accommodate a secondary suite.
  • Raise the threshold of the First Time Home Buyers’ Program exemption to $500,000, saving first-time buyers up to $8,000.
  • Invest $700 million in the BC HOME Partnership program to provide mortgage down payment assistance loans to an estimated 42,000 first-time home buyers over the next three years.
  • Continue support for RAP and SAFER to assist over 33,000 low-income families and senior households with their rent each year.
  • Provide housing support to the close to 53,000 seniors’ households that receive assistance today.
  • Maintain the ability of seniors as well as homeowners who are financially supporting a child to defer all or part of their property tax on their primary residence.
  • Double the Home Renovation Tax Credit to $20,000 to make home improvements to accommodate seniors or family members with disabilities

Today’s BC Liberal government adopted a comprehensive housing strategy in 2006, with Housing Matters BC.  It was updated in 2012 and we will continue to build on it with the approaches outlined above.  

Heath Care: How will your party invest in public health care if elected?

B.C. has the best health outcomes in Canada, and since forming government, Today’s BC Liberals have made record investments in making sure British Columbians live long, healthy lives. This year, we are increasing Ministry of Health’s budget by $875 million, in 2018/19 $501 million and in 2019/20, a further $572 million, reaching almost $20 billion. From our investments in new and expanded hospitals, to more than doubling the number of doctors who graduate from B.C. medical schools, to creating healthy-senior friendly communities— Today’s BC Liberals understand that there is nothing more important than the health of an individual.

And while we have made huge strides, we know there is much more to do as our population continues to grow and age. Today’s BC Liberals have a plan for health care,  now and into the future.

We will increase the number of medical professionals in B.C. by:

  • Adding to the number of graduating doctors from B.C.’s medical programs to 400 by 2025—ensuring that the majority of these new students are placed in the distributed medical programs at the University of Victoria, University of Northern British Columbia and UBC Okanagan.
  • Increasing funding to train an additional 500 nurses per year across the province by 2022.
  • Training and placing an additional 100 nurse practitioners across British Columbia.
  • Creating additional spaces for in-demand professions, such as physiotherapists and speech therapists
  • Identifying retention programs to ensure these health care providers remain in rural and northern communities.
  • Expanding our Practice-Ready Assessment-BC program that fast-tracks international physicians into clinical practice in rural communities.
  • Working with colleges to amalgamate B.C.’s three nursing colleges into one.
  • Investing an additional $91.4 million towards ambulance response times and supports to paramedics and dispatchers.

We are also committed to:

  • Investing $225 million over three years to reduce surgical wait times for elective surgeries – with no impact on emergency surgeries. That means 5,500 more hip and knee replacement surgeries over the next two years.
  • Providing $90 million to fund integrated community-based primary care services to more communities across British Columbia.
  • Increasing the B.C. tobacco tax by 10 percent and dedicating all increased revenues to fund cancer research and treatment.

A growing and aging population means British Columbia needs a vigorous plan to ensure people have the health care they need. As people age, they need more health care services than they did in their earlier years.

We are fortunate to have highly-skilled and highly- trained medical practitioners across the province that can help. We need to make sure all of them can contribute to our health, and we’ve already started making progress. British Columbians can now get flu shots and travel vaccines at their local pharmacist’s office. But there is more we can do to safely expand the scope of practice for medical professionals – from nurse practitioners to pharmacists.

If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will develop and implement a Ministerial Task Force on Expanded Scope of Practice, with a special focus on how we provide better access to health care in rural and remote communities.

In addition to the Ministerial Task Force and developing strategies to attract and retain existing health care practitioners, we will work with provincial medical credentialing colleges to safely and responsibly expand the scope of practice of medical practitioners in British Columbia thereby reducing pressure on general practitioners, registered nurses, and other in-demand professionals.

Post-secondary Education Funding: How would provincial funding for post-secondary education change if your part were elected?

With up to one million job openings expected by 2025, Today’s BC Liberals’ plan is focused on taking full advantage of our growing economy by ensuring that the right training is available at our post-secondary institutions in different regions of the province.  From trades to tech, we are re-engineering the way our post-secondary system works to ensure British Columbians can take full advantage of the jobs of today, and tomorrow.

Today’s BC Liberals are determined to ensure British Columbians are first in line for the job openings to come.  Which is why we introduced the Skills for Jobs Blueprint, which is designed to provide supports for students to pursue in-demand careers.

We are proud of what we’ve accomplished:

  • More $3.3 billion in capital and infrastructure projects at public post-secondary institutions since 2001, including more than 1,900 capital projects throughout the province.
  • Invested more than $1.8 billion each year in public post-secondary education – about $5M a day, an increase of over 45% since 2001.
  • Added more than 32,000 student seats, including 2,500 graduate student spaces, as well as seven public university campuses since 2001.
  • The BC Training and Education Savings Program provides a grant of $1,200 to eligible children born in 2006 or later that can be used toward the cost of their post-secondary education.

If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will:

  • Invest $2.6 billion in capital spending by post-secondary institutions for new buildings and renewal of infrastructure at campuses across the province.
  • Work with post-secondary institutions to develop new student housing financing rules that allow student housing to be built without impacting the provincial debt load or credit rating.
  • Match qualified students with available seats across the province with a coordinated management of excess capacity in our public post-secondary schools.
  • Change how student eligibility is assessed to exclude assets for students not residing with their parents or a spouse which will allow the loan limit to be increased for almost 25% of borrowers.
  • Provide a 50% tuition rebate for Canadian Armed Forces veterans to help them upgrade their education at B.C. public post-secondary institutions and transition into civilian life.

Today’s BC Liberals want British Columbians to have the opportunity to gain the skills needed to be first in line for jobs. That’s why we introduced the Skills for Jobs Blueprint in 2014, our plan to align funding and programs to a data-driven system where training dollars and programs target in-demand occupations. Prudent fiscal management and the country’s fastest growing economy has allowed us to make significant investments in our post-secondary system. These include:

  • $220 million for 19,000 newly targeted student full-time equivalent spaces for in-demand training and education since the launch of Blueprint.
  • $14.6 million to reduce wait lists in high-demand trades critical to a diverse economy, creating 3,730 additional critical trade seats at 14 public post-secondary institutions.
  • More than $1.8 billion in 2016-17 in operating grants to public post-secondary institutions, up 45.5% from $1.3 billion in 2001-02.
  • Directly investing $1.028 billion in planned capital projects in the post-secondary sector over three years (2017-18 to 2019-20).

To become a leader in the innovation economy, we will work to increase the talent pool by 1,000 grads per year by 2022, with increased graduates in regions throughout the province. Once those 1,000 additional graduates have completed their fourth year, we will expand by another 1,000.

As government, Today’s BC Liberals are proud of the investments we have made in our post-secondary system. Operating grants provided to public post-secondary institutions have increased by 45.5% – from $1.3 billion in 2001-02 to more than $1.8 billion in 2016-17. And we have invested more than $3.3 billion in capital and infrastructure projects at public post-secondary institutions in BC since 2001, including 1,900 capital projects throughout the province.

We have been able to make these investments by building the fastest growing economy in the country. By sticking to our plan, we will continue to make post-secondary education a priority, putting British Columbians first in line for jobs.

Science and Government: Numerous watchdog agencies have pointed out deficiencies with the current professional reliance model. What would your government ‘do to address these deficiencies’ and restore the positions?

Since 2001, more than 25 per cent of licensed science officer positions in BC’s public service have been eliminated.

British Columbia has clear, rigorous environmental standards, ensuring decisions are made consistently and fairly to balance the needs of industry while protecting our environment.   It is critical that this process not be subjected to political interference. Information provided by Qualified Professionals is taken into account by independent decision makers, but to be clear, final permitting decisions in BC are made by the technical experts in the BC government.

Overall, the ratio of PEA professionals in the BC Public Service has remained roughly consistent since 2001. The number and types of professionals government employs is guided by the human resources needs flowing from Ministry Service Plans. This ensures government employs the resources it needs and taxpayers receive the best value for their money. Today’s BC Liberals will continue to maintain appropriate staffing levels and employ those individuals with the skills needed to effectively deliver the programs and services British Columbians rely on.

In this section

The PEA was formed in 1974, by a group of professionals working in the public sector. The story goes that the founders of the union mortgaged their houses to fund negotiations of the union’s first collective agreement. 

Now, the PEA is BC’s union for professionals. We represent a wide range of professionals including lawyers, foresters, engineers, agrologists, teachers, veterinarians, fundraisers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists program managers, librarians and more.

Our union is led by the PEA Executive. They represent members from across the chapters of the PEA and set the overall vision and direction for our union.

Resources for our members

Navigating a union can sometime be a challenging process. Under this section of the website you will find resources to help you navigate the PEA. In the members section you'll find expense claim reimbursements, information on the PEA's scholarship and bursary program and our grants and donations program.

Collective bargaining and job action resources explain the process of collective bargaining and what to do in the unlikely event of job action. 

Local reps can also find resources to help them complete their job more effectively. This includes ways to welcome new members, how to take notes in investigation disciplinary meetings and more.

The heart of our union

The PEA is made up of ten chapters, or groups of members who either work for the same employer or are in the same field of work. Each chapter has an elected executive tasked with running the affairs of the chapter. Each chapter is entitled to representation at the PEA Executive, the governing body of the union. 

Our members work for a range of employers: the Province of BC, the University of Victoria, St. Margaret's School, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Law Society of BC, Legal Services Society, the Okangan Regional Library and health authorities across BC.

Professionals need unions now more then ever

Since the 1970’s, when the PEA was formed, our mission has been to ensure our members can work in safe, productive environments and receive fair and reasonable wages and benefits for the valuable work they do. We help individuals and groups of professional workers to understand the challenges they face in their workplaces and some of the solutions available to them. 

We work with potential members to become certified as a union and achieve the wages, benefits and respect they deserve. 

The Professional | Volume 43 Issue 3

The Professional is the PEA's award-winning, quarterly magazine for members.

The September 2017 issue includes a profile of HESU member Ronnie Nicolasora, member survey 2017 update, and an article on PEA members stepping up in a record-breaking wildfire season.

Read the September 2017 issue

 

 

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