VICTORIA – The British Columbia New Democrat government has announced reviews or consultations on a number of issues since coming to power in July. On Monday, the NDP announced it had hired a consultant to review the issue of ride-sharing. Here’s a look at the government’s approach:
Site C: The B.C. Utilities Commission is reviewing the hydroelectric dam project, fulfilling a promise Premier John Horgan made on the campaign trail. The utilities commission released a preliminary report on the $8.8-billion project’s future last month, saying it wanted more information before determining whether Site C should proceed.
Massey Tunnel replacement: An independent technical review will be done to determine the best option for replacing the aging Massey Tunnel in Metro Vancouver. The previous Liberal government had plans to replace it with a 10-lane bridge but Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the plan did not have support from mayors and residents.
Foreign buyers tax: Housing Minister Selina Robinson is reviewing a tax on foreign real estate buyers in Metro Vancouver and an interest-free loan program for first-time homebuyers. The government wants to know if they are effective in stabilizing the housing market and improving affordability.
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia: Attorney General David Eby has ordered a full audit of the Crown corporation’s operations. Eby said the auto insurance company is in crisis, with financial losses totalling more than $500 million last year.
Aquaculture policy and licensing: A committee is examining the aquaculture industry and a report is expected at the end of November. Protesters have occupied a salmon farm near Alert Bay off Vancouver Island. They want the provincial and federal governments to revoke the facility’s permits.
Money laundering at casinos: A review of the province’s polices aimed at preventing money laundering was announced last month after a report concluded a casino had taken in $13.5 million that police said could be proceeds of crime.
Marijuana regulation: A public consultation on recreational marijuana began in September to help shape public health and safety issues as the province drafts new regulations.
Human rights commission: The province has asked for input on developing a new human rights commission. The New Democrats promised to re-establish the commission after the Liberals dismantled it 15 years ago in favour of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.
Minimum wage: A fair wages commission has been established to determine how the minimum wage could be raised to $15 per hour without hurting business. The NDP has promised a $15 minimum wage by 2021, but Labour Minister Harry Bains has said it will be up to the commission to determine the deadline.
Ride-hailing: The province has hired an industry expert to consult on the best way to help prepare the taxi industry for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. The NDP had promised to bring in ride-hailing this year, but legislation is now expected next fall.