British Columbia

B.C. rates up in 2016, but 'vast majority' will pay less tax

The average B.C. resident can expect to pay $100 more in provincial fees and taxes next year, but many will get more than that back in federal tax cuts.

B.C. residents will still pay more for MSP, ferries, electricity and auto insurance

Adjustments to MSP premium thresholds mean some couples will be paying an additional $168 per year, while single parents and low income families will enjoy savings. (Getty Images/Gallo Images)

The average B.C. resident can expect to pay $100 more in provincial fees and taxes next year, but they may get much of it back in federal tax cuts.

"It's fair to say the vast majority of Canadians ... will have more money in their pocket," Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told CBC.

The changes to the federal income tax system will be particularly good news for those in the second income bracket who make between $45,282 and $90,563,

The tax rate will drop to 20.5 per cent from 22 per cent in 2016, which translates to a maximum of $680 for those with income at the top of the range and beyond.

But those who make over $200,000 per year, the news is not so good. The changes will create a new top tax bracket with a rate of 33 per cent, a hike from the 29 per cent rate that kicks in at $140,000.

The Liberals have also promised to cancel income splitting by 2016. For now, dual-income earners with a huge disparity in their incomes can still claim a $2,000 benefit, but that program is expected to disappear by the next tax filing.

On the flip-side, the federal government has also promised to release more details on their plan for a new Universal Child Care Benefit for families with young children in the new year.

The Canadian Taxpayer's Federation has crunched the numbers across Canada and the savings, including the expected changes to child benefits, could be as high as $2,000 for some households.

  • A two-income household with two children earning $60,000 could save between $1,600 and $2,000.
  • A single earner making $60,000 could save up to $100 and $250.

More fees in B.C.

While the fed's are cutting taxes for many, almost everybody in B.C. will feel increases in provincial fees and rates.

BC Hydro, ICBC, BC Ferries and Medical Services Plan are all expected hike rates in 2016.

"The feds giveth, but the provinces and cities taketh away," says Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).

Medical Services Plan premiums increase in Jan, 2016. Here is a list of the total yearly increase and how that translates into a monthly payment.

  • $72 total yearly increase for a family of three or more  (bringing the monthly premium to a maximum of $294)
  • $66 total yearly increase for a couple (bringing monthly premium to a maximum of $266)
  • $36 total yearly increase for an individual (bringing maximum monthly rate to $147)

MSP rates have risen 39 per cent since 2009.

The CTF has a petition urging Premier Christy Clark to "Freeze the MSP Tax."

Property assessments are expected to skyrocket in parts of B.C., especially Greater Vancouver, but it will remain up to municipalities to set their tax rates. Vancouver has already voted to raise taxes by 2.3 per cent.

B.C. Ferries will raise fares 1.9 per cent beginning April 2016, for each of the next for years.

ICBC filed an application for a rate hike of 5.5 per cent — an average of $3.70 per month for customers — in October 2015.

B.C. Hydro is planning to increase rates four per cent in 2016, and 3.5 per cent for 2017.


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