(Image / BC Government website)

BC’s Budget 2019 was announced earlier today, and it tackles a wide range of provincial challenges.

Amongst some of the highlights is a new BC Child Opportunity Benefit and a shift in provincial student loan payment.

“Budget 2019 opens doors for you and your family by putting thousands of dollars back into your pocket,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance.

“We’re helping hard-working British Columbians get ahead at every stage of their life, no matter where they’re starting from.”

The new Child Opportunity Benefit is set to return $400 million to families starting in October 2020 by transitioning into the new BC Child Opportunity Benefit. Currently, the province’s early childhood tax benefit (BCECTB) only assists families until a child is 6 years old. Under the new benefit, the financial assistance will continue until the age of 18.

For a family’s first child, the benefit can provide up to $1,600 a year. The amount increases to $2,600 annually for two children, then $3,400 for three children.

Between the Child Opportunity Benefit and the budget’s elimination of Medical Service Plan (MSP) premiums, a family of four earning $60,000 will have its provincial taxes reduced by up to 60% compared to 2016, returning approximately $2,500 to their pockets. Meanwhile, a family of four earning $80,000 will have taxes reduced by 43% compared to 2016, and a similar family earning $100,000 will see 22% less in taxes.

“For anyone who has raised a child, they know how transformational that kind of support will be,” said James.

“From the ability to put healthy meals on the dinner table, to being able to buy your child a good winter coat, that kind of support is going to make an incredible difference.”

No more interest on student loans

The province is also working to help young people pursue their dreams with less concern over the cost of education by completely removing the interest from student loan payments.

“To help make sure young people are able to start their careers without being saddled with debt, Budget 2019 eliminates interest from all new and existing British Columbia student loans,” reads the budget announcement.

As of today, February 19th, all student loans have stop accumulating interest, saving the average graduate $2,300 (based on a $28,000 combined federal and provincial loan with a 10-year repayment period).

A full look at BC’s Budget 2019 announcement can be found online here.

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