Fraser Institute News Release: B.C. government per-person spending in 2022/23 almost 20% higher than 2019 despite end of pandemic

Published February 21, 2024

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 21, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The British Columbia government’s per-person spending in 2022/23, the latest year of available data, was nearly 20 per cent higher than in 2019/20, finds a new study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“It’s difficult to overstate how much the B.C. government has changed course from nearly two decades of restrained spending to record-high spending levels as measured by per-person spending adjusted for inflation,” said Ben Eisen, senior fellow at the Fraser Institute and co-author of British Columbia’s Current Spending Peak: Highest in History, Highest Growth in Canada.

B.C. government spending (in 2022/23) reached its highest point ever on a per-person basis ($14,275) after adjusting for inflation, higher than during the height of the pandemic ($13,899).

As a result, the government projects a $5.6 billion budget deficit this fiscal year. But if it had simply held per-person spending (inflation-adjusted) to 2019/20 levels in recent years, overall spending would now be $8 billion lower than it is, and the province would be in a surplus rather than a deficit.

“Many British Columbians would be surprised to learn that the provincial government spent more on a per-person basis last year than it spent during the height of COVID,” Eisen said.

“As a result of rapid spending growth, the government is set to incur large deficits and accumulate substantial new debt.”

Ben Eisen, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit