B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Premier John Horgan have put a heavy emphasis on housing construction. (Chad Hipolito/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

B.C. welcomes Ottawa’s help on rental housing construction

Federal funds slow to arrive for child care, marijuana, Carole James says

Targeted funds in Tuesday’s federal budget to increase construction of rental housing adds to B.C.’s own effort to increase the supply of affordable homes, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James says.

Ottawa’s budget commits more than $1 billion to a fund for low-interest loans to builders of rental projects.

“I was glad to see the rental housing mentioned in the federal budget, but I haven’t seen any long-term plans,” James said. B.C. launched a 10-year housing plan last week.

James also praised the measure in federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s budget to increase data collection on housing purchases to identify the beneficial owner behind numbered companies and trusts that buy real estate. B.C.’s budget last week increased the foreign buyer tax from 15 to 20 per cent, and introduced Canada’s first speculation tax on empty homes, in a bid to cool down high urban housing prices and encourage long-term rentals.

But the federal budget’s multi-year spending plan doesn’t begin immediately, with Morneau continuing to deal with deficits three times as big as what he and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2015.

James was also concerned about immediate effects of federal spending on other areas of interest to B.C., including child care and preparing for the legalization of marijuana.

“We put $1 billion into child care, a major investment into helping women back into the workforce,” James said. “But it’s a long-term plan and long-term funds are going to be necessary.”

Morneau’s budget includes $65 million to provide education on marijuana use. James said education is needed, as other jurisdictions have found, but B.C. needs help with licensing marijuana production and roadside enforcement of cannabis-impaired drivers.

Just Posted

Ferry service increase to Nanaimo lauded by Gabriola Islanders

Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee to work with B.C. Ferries, says committee chairman

Nanaimo Astronomy Society to host Vancouver Island’s first AstroFest

AstroFest will showcase Island’s amateur and professional astronomical groups and activities

Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards announce winners

VIU women’s volleyball is Team of the Year, Presidents Cup lacrosse is Sports Story of the Year

Nanaimo community policing volunteer recognized for decades of service

Don Willett presented commanding officer’s certificate for 25 years of volunteer service

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday afternoon incident on Mostar Road

Poutine, sweet treats tantalize taste buds at Maple Sugar Festival in Nanaimo

L’Association des Francophones de Nanaimo hold festival at Beban Park this weekend

Vancouver Island Brewing puts Nanaimo bar on tap

Beer based on signature Nanaimo dessert flying off liquor retailers’ shelves

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

B.C. man creates Indigenous colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

City of Nanaimo issues building permit for Gordon Street hotel

Ground-breaking for $21-million project anticipated this spring

High school students converge on Nanaimo for Skills Canada competition

Winners will head to provincial event in Abbotsford later this year

Realtors hope that their help can make miracles happen for sick kids

Re/Max of Nanaimo donates $86,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Most Read