Hey everybody! It’s been a little while since my last post, but part of that was because I spent the last ten days in Belize. Wait! Don’t stop reading yet – I’m not gonna spend the next few paragraphs talking about how great it was (although, for the record, it was amazing). No, my focus today is on the 2015 BC Budget, which was announced last Tuesday, and which makes British Columbia the only province in Canada with a surplus… of almost one billion dollars.
First of all, go BC! This is why I’m not too sad about coming back from Belize. Second of all, go all of you for helping make this happen! The CBC article I linked up there points to a bunch of things for this surplus, but chief among them are our many high earners and home buyers. And it’s no surprise that Northern BC, which has an unemployment rate of just 4% – lower than both the provincial and national rates – plays a big part in that. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of that as well.
But congratulations aside, what does all this mean for Northern BC? Well, for starters, it means good times ahead. Not only is BC well in the black, the current surplus is almost double what it was predicted to be. Not only that, but our Finance Minister Mike de Jong “is forecasting surpluses for the next three years.” And that’s not including any potential revenue from liquefied natural gas, although “Premier Christy Clark [claims] that up to 18 potential projects could eventually add $100 billion to a so-called prosperity fund.” In other words, the next few years are a great time to be anywhere near BC.
Even more promising is Northern BC, home to so many of those high earners and home buyers that are doing so much for our province. From the Alaska Highway News article I linked earlier is this wonderfully encouraging quote from WorkBC client services coordinator Jeanette Karasiuk: “in her 10 years working [in Northen BC], she’d never seen such a high demand for workers.” And with that demand has come population increases for both Fort St. John (of “nearly 1000 residents”) and Dawson Creek (of 3%). And with huge projects popping up everywhere – from “a massive gas plant in Chetwynd” to the “wind farm near Tumbler Ridge” – it’s almost impossible not to get in on the prosperity. If you work a trade, the five most in-demand jobs here all fit into that category. And if you don’t, no worries – “according to labour market studies, there will be between 37,700 and 47,900 job openings thanks to industry activity and attrition.” So if you’re thinking about moving up to Northern BC, or buying more land, or starting a business – now’s the time.
One last thing if you’re interested in becoming (or remaining!) a “high earner” – the new budget eliminates the “temporary personal income tax rate of 16.8 per cent on individuals earning over $150,000.” If you fall into that category – and I know a lot of you do – then prepare to start making even more money. Just remember who gave you the good news when you’re looking for your next mortgage! 😉
Lori Lalonde, Your Northern BC Mortgage Broker