The Government of BC released its 2022/2023 budget on Tuesday, February 22. As expected, there is a strong focus on housing, healthcare, childcare, reconciliation and climate change (including disaster relief and clean transportation, energy and infrastructure. Mineral exploration received a specific call out in Budget 2022 as a “growing sector” as the Hon. Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance, noted that BC had experienced the highest spending on mineral exploration in a decade “with growing demand around the world for the minerals that will play a key role in BC’s low-carbon future.”
The following points of interest relate directly to AME and our members:
An investment of $18 million to make mining regulatory decisions more efficient and attract investment to BC
This includes nearly $4 million going directly to Regional Mining Offices over two years to make Notice of Work (NoW) permitting more efficient, a direct result of AME’s “Our Time is Now” advocacy campaign following the release of Budget 2021. Not only was AME successful in advocating for these funds, they have also now been included in the base budget going forward. The remainder of this investment is earmarked for Major Mines permitting and the Regulatory Excellence in Mining strategy.
A new Ministry of Land, Water and Resource Stewardship has been created “to support government’s goals of stimulating economic activity, environmental sustainability and reconciliation”. AME looks forward to the release of the mandate letter for the Minister when the ministry’s responsibilities have been defined.
A new Declarations Act Secretariat has been funded with $12 million that will guide and assist government to meet its obligations to ensure legislation is consistent with UNDRIP. This position will be arms length to the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and will work in parallel to other Ministries as they work to modernize their laws to align with DRIPA.
AME will continue to advocate for fiscal incentives to ensure competitiveness compared to other Canadian jurisdictions, and for public geoscience funding that covers both base mapping programs as well as mineral potential to inform evolving land use conversations.