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BC BUDGET 2021: Nearly $6 billion set aside for COVID support, forecasts $8.1-billion deficit

CA, 21 Apr 2021
The B.C. government on Tuesday set aside nearly $6 billion in new spending to address the COVID-19 pandemic in its first budget since the fall election.

But it’s not immediately increasing circuit-breaker funding for the hard-hit hospitality sector, following an extension of bans on in-restaurant dining and social gatherings through the May long weekend.

The new cash includes nearly $2.5 billion in ongoing support for small and medium-sized businesses and support for the healthcare system.

The province is also allocating $3.25 billion in pandemic contingency funding that could be used to help sectors such as hospitality and tourism based on virus transmission rates over the next few weeks.

As for British Columbia's overall economic picture, it's rosier than expected.

"The pandemic will end. And when it does, B.C. will be ready for the opportunities that come with recovery," Finance Minister Selina Robinson said.

Budget 2021 includes an updated forecast deficit of $8.1 billion for 2020-21, down from the fall 2020 projection of $13.6 billion.

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