British Columbia

Cost of living rises in B.C. as new fiscal year begins

The first of April marks the beginning of the fiscal year for government organizations, and that means price adjustments to a number of everyday costs and services.

Changes to home, transportation expenses as carbon tax, ICBC, BC Hydro fees increase

B.C. residents can expect to pay more in 2019-20 for insurance, fuel and electricity. (CBC)

The first of April marks the beginning of the fiscal year for government organizations.

That means price adjustments to a number of everyday costs and services.  

One of the biggest dents to residents' bank accounts will come from ICBC, which is raising insurance rates by 6.3 per cent, adding about $60 to customers' basic insurance coverage.

The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved ICBC's request for the rate hike on an interim basis in January after Attorney General David Eby revealed the crown corporation was set to lose $890 million in 2018-19. 

Other transportation hikes

Drivers will also be punished at the pumps as the province's carbon tax is increasing by another $5, to $40 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. That adds about one cent per litre to the cost of gasoline, diesel and natural gas.

The carbon tax will increase another $5 per tonne over the next two years until it reaches $50 in 2021.

And arriving later in the year, the motor fuel tax will jump another 1.5 cents per litre to help fund a $30 million shortfall in the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Council's $7 billion transportation plan. 

B.C.'s carbon tax will add more than one cent per litre to the cost of gasoline, diesel and natural gas. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

On the public side of transportation, there won't be any changes just yet, but on July 1, 2019, TransLink fares will increase.

Adult and concession cash fares will increase by five cents, adult and concession stored value fares will go up 10 cents, adult monthly passes will rise $3, and concession monthly passes will cost $2 more.

Ferry users can breathe a sigh of relief, though, as BC Ferries has frozen their rates this year, thanks to $54.8 million in funding from the province and BC Ferries for the 2020 fiscal year.

What's more, starting April ,1 BC Ferries is increasing service on 10 of its routes, adding 2,700 round trip sailings.

Costs at home

Inflated costs are hitting homes, as well, as BC Hydro announced a rate increase of 1.8 per cent.

The crown corporation says the interim change will add $1.63 to the monthly bills of residential customers.

FortisBC recently increased rates for residential customers of natural gas in the Mainland and Vancouver Island by an average of $5.60 per month to cover storage and transportation costs, due to the Oct. 9, 2018 Enbridge pipeline rupture. It says customers will not see an increase to the cost of natural gas in April.

FortisBC says the storage and transportation costs announced in January will be reviewed at the end of the year.

About the Author

Cory Correia

Video Journalist

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