B.C. won't move into recovery until Dr. Bonnie Henry gives OK: Horgan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. won't move into recovery until Dr. Bonnie Henry gives OK: Horgan

Premier John Horgan speaks at a media briefing, Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
April 15, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Everyone wants to know when B.C. can move its pandemic response into recovery but the Premier said today he still doesn't know what that looks like or when.

“We are making this up as we go, as the problems emerge,” Premier John Horgan said during a press briefing today, April 15.

That comment was made in response to a question about the City of Vancouver asking for $200 million in aid and TransLink announcing it is losing $75 million a month providing public transit in the Lower Mainland. Horgan said municipalities all over the province are struggling so it’s not just a Lower Mainland issue.

But the comment could also be applied to many other measures that all governments are taking to deal with the pandemic.

For example, he was asked about people falling through the cracks of various support programs.

“Keeping up with federal announcements is a major challenge for our finance people,” Horgan said. “As the federal government brings through programs, we’re looking at how we can complement those and try to capture those individuals that are falling through the cracks.”

He noted that B.C. is the only province to bring in a rent subsidy program, something he's urging other premiers to do.

“It’s critically important that people have secure housing at a time when we need to stay close to a home,” he said.

When asked what signs are needed to trigger a change in lockdown policies, he said he will follow the direction of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry who, later in the day, stressed there will be no changes this month.

In terms of what a recovery might look like, Horgan stressed that B.C. is in a good position with strong resource and tech centres but much depends on how the rest of the world recovers since trade is essential.

Since B.C. launched defensive measures earlier than other provinces, it’s in a good position to be ready to get its goods to market and bring in things like film and television production sooner than others, he said.

“What we’ve been trying to do is not shut down everything,” he said. “There was a lot of talk about lock down this and lock down that. Other jurisdictions used that language and then they published their exemption lists which were sometimes pages long.

“What we’ve tried to do is make sure that we had safe workplaces… so we can ensure that work can carry on in British Columbia, whether it be in the construction sector, whether it be in public transit and so on. We’ll be able to start things up, I think – because of early start to prepare for the pandemic – I think we’ll be in a better position when the restart happens.”

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