British Columbia This Week

What to Expect

Premier David Eby announced his cabinet today, an important signal for what to expect from the Premier regarding his future policy directions. Premier Eby welcomed eight new faces to the table, with 19 Ministers either keeping their portfolio or being shuffled into a new Ministry. British Columbia’s new government has 23 Ministers, four Ministers of State, and 14 Parliamentary Secretaries. The entire list can be found here.

The most notable changes in the new Cabinet are the appointment of Ravi Kahlon to the newly created position of Minister of Housing and the appointment of Katrine Conroy to Minister of Finance. The housing portfolio is seen as a priority for Premier Eby; appointing Kahlon to this key position and naming him Government House Leader shows a very high level of trust and recognition of Minister Kahlon’s abilities. Kahlon previously held the Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation portfolio, and there was some speculation that he may have been appointed as Minister of Finance. Instead, Katrine Conroy was named the new Minister of Finance, having previously served as Minister of Forests, with former Minister Selina Robinson moving to Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

Premier Eby also announced Bowinn Ma as the Minister of the new Emergency Management and Climate Readiness portfolio. Minister Ma was the previous Minister of State for Infrastructure. MLA Niki Sharma has been sworn in as the new Attorney General after previously serving as Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. Minister Adrian Dix, the second longest serving health minister in B.C’s history, remains as Minister of Health.

This new Cabinet also sees three former Ministers shuffled out, including MLA Nicholas Simons, now former Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, MLA George Chow, formerly Minister of State for Trade, and MLA Katrina Chen, previously the Minister of State for Child Care. MLA Chen publicly announced her recusal from Cabinet on Monday, citing personal reasons.

As the legislature doesn’t return until February 8, 2023, with a Speech from the Throne, this Cabinet will have time to shape its priorities.

The Week That Was

Premier David Eby met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Richmond on Friday, discussing housing shortages, childcare, climate change, public safety, mental health, addictions, and the overdose crisis, before making an announcement on childcare. This month, B.C. will see an increase in the number of people who qualify for the $10-a-day ChildCareBC program with an additional 2,450 childcare spaces.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, stated that consistency is required regarding B.C. legislation pertaining to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples if the province hopes to resolve issues related to healthcare, homelessness, and land and resources. He made the statement last week at the seventh B.C. Cabinet and First Nations Leaders’ Gathering. Premier David Eby told the gathering that his government is committed to implementing the Declaration and wants to be able to address specific issues seen in communities.

According to the November labour force survey results, B.C. has reported a gain of 8,800 full-time jobs while the year has still seen an overall loss of 13,700 jobs, a decline of 0.5 per cent. The provincial government is attributing this to the loss of part-time positions and the impacts of inflation.

To support communities in the province, 12 non-profit organizations are eligible to receive as much as $40,000 to be directed toward projects that increase accessibility and inclusion.

Orders in Council

OIC 653/2022 – Appoints Theresa Wan Yee Ho as a Senior Ministerial Advisor within the Office of the Minister of Health.

OIC 654/2022 – Appoints Douglas D. Caul as a Deputy Minister within the Office of the Premier.

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