Platform Breakdowns: BC Political Parties Present Their Visions on Youth Issues

Global Shapers Vancouver Hub
15 min readOct 26, 2020


Earlier this month, the Global Shapers Vancouver hub sent a questionnaire to BC Political Parties to provide information to British Columbians about where the parties stand on issues pertaining to youth. Done in partnership with Generation Squeeze, the question topics range from youth unemployment, mental health, and youth inclusion in decision-making.

Below is a breakdown of the responses we have received from the BC Liberal Party and the BC NDP. Please note that although we have followed up, we did not receive responses from the BC Green Party. We hope that it’s helpful for you before voting on October 24th, 2020.


In August 2020, the unemployment rate for youth who were members of population groups designated as visible minorities was 32.3%. This was nearly 15 percentage points higher than the rate for youth who were not Indigenous or a member of a group designated as a visible minority (18.0%) (StatCan, 2020–09–04).

What is your party’s plan to facilitate youth focused employment opportunities, and how will you ensure inclusivity in this plan?


We know that in our current economy, skills and training are key factors that help open doors to employment opportunities and they will continue to be even more important in the future. Because of this, our BC NDP government has made advanced education and skills training programs more accessible than ever, especially for youth from equity seeking groups, to reduce barriers to new opportunities and successful careers. Over the past three years, our BC NDP government has:

• Reestablished needs-based student grants, which were cancelled by the BC Liberals.

• Restored tuition-free Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning removing roadblocks set up by the BC Liberals for people wanting to upgrade and pursue their dreams

• Eliminated interest on BC Student Loans

• Funded 27,000+ apprenticeship and foundation training spaces.

• Invested nearly $14 million to help thousands of youth, women and under-represented groups to get apprenticeships and employment in the skilled trades.

• Launched a new $5-million Youth Community Partnership program, engaging youth to work in their communities.

• Adding 2,900 new tech-related seats at public colleges and universities.

• Provided $9 million to expand co-op and work-integrated learning at post-secondary.

• Eliminated post-secondary tuition and provided additional funding for living expenses for former youth in care, up to age 27.

• Invested in open education resources including more open textbooks for students and instructors, reducing the burden of cost and levelling the playing field for students.

• Invested funding for new skills training and employment programs for survivors of violence and abuse and people facing multiple barriers to employment to empower people to achieve their educational and professional goals.

If re-elected a BC NDP government will continue to prioritize access to advanced education, skills training, and good jobs for young people and young people from equity seeking groups by:

• Expanding the BC Access grant by increasing eligibility to reduce barriers.

• Creating more learning and training opportunities around the province, particularly in fast-growing fields like health care and child care.

• Restoring the compulsory trades system to improve safety and give more workers access to apprenticeships that develop their skills for the work ahead.

• Expanding tuition waivers to all former youth in care: we will expand this program to all former youth in care, regardless of age.

• Create 2,000 new tech-spaces in public post-secondary institutions, provide startups with more grants to hire new grads — with a priority on placements for women, Indigenous people, transitioning workers and others — and expand scholarships for people using online courses for necessary skill upgrades.

• Support increased IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) representation within government and set targets for IBPOC representation in the public sector.

• Continue to support the Indigenous Youth Internship Program’s goals to recruit more Indigenous youth to the BC Public Service or Indigenous organizations.

  • Delivering local jobs and community benefits: we will attach our Community Benefits Agreement (CBAs) to more projects, providing good jobs, fair wages, and skills training to qualified local workers –particularly those who have traditionally been under-represented in the workforce.


Almost 1.2 million British Columbians were forced to rely on federal COVID-19 benefits because they were unable to work. A disproportionate number of these individuals are women and youth. By calling an unnecessary snap election, John Horgan’s NDP has put key recovery supports on hold, further hurting those in need.

That is why within our first 60 days of taking office, a BC Liberal Government will act to implement a new Economic Response Plan to create new jobs and investment and put money back in the pockets of taxpayers, by eliminating the PST for a year and launching a comprehensive review of regulatory processes to ensure more timely project approvals.

Additionally, we will establish an emergency Pandemic Response Committee to work with all parties and the Provincial Health Officer on a collaborative approach to managing the current and future pandemics, including accelerating provincial aid and supports for small businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19.

We will also prioritize sector-specific job-training opportunities for Indigenous peoples, because we must act boldly as a province in working with our First Nations and federal government partners to create new opportunities for Indigenous peoples.


What is your party’s strategy on tackling the mental health and addiction crisis among the youth population (under 30)?


Our BC NDP government has made progress over the past three years on mental health treatment and services for youth. We agree that this is a key concern for any government, especially during the pandemic, and believe that access to mental-health care shouldn’t depend on the size of your bank account. Led by the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, the only one of its kind in Canada, we have made the following investments in mental health initiatives for youth including:

• Expanding the Foundry youth centres network to 19 centres to help young people in more communities access these “one-stop shops” for health and wellness resources, services and supports.

• Introducing new integrated child and youth teams in schools focused on prevention, wellness promotion and early intervention.

• Doubling the number of treatment beds for youth struggling with addictions in BC.

• Operating 100 child and youth mental health clinics throughout B.C. where families can walk in for immediate assessments and referrals to treatment.

• Increased access to community-based low- and no-cost mental health and substance use supports as part of $10 million in grants awarded to community counselling programs throughout the province.

• Introducing mental well-being and substance use literacy in the physical and health education curriculum from K-12.

• Launching Here2Talk, a new free mental-health counselling and referral service for post secondary students, available online or by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

• Providing $1 million in funding to the non-profit FamilySmart program to deliver emotional support, training and resources to families whose kids are struggling with mental health or substance use issues, including a crisis line for youth.

• Launched a new, free virtual educational program for K-12 students, to support their social and emotional well-being as part of navigating the new world of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building on the start we’ve made, if re-elected a BC NDP government will:

• Scale up BC’s response to the opioid crisis: Before COVID-19 hit, BC had its first drop in the rate of overdose deaths since 2012 and we will keep accelerating BC’s response across the full continuum of care: prevention, harm reduction, safe prescription medications, treatment, and recovery. This includes cracking down on the toxic drug supply and moving toward decriminalization.

• Expand the availability of treatment beds for people: We will build new treatment, recovery, detox and after-care facilities across the province with beds specifically for British Columbians under age 24.

• Focus new mental health initiatives on kids and young adults: We’ve developed an initial mental health approach that focuses on addressing problems early. Moving forward, we’ll establish successful Foundry youth centres in more communities and dedicated mental health teams in school districts.

• Expand access to counselling: By investing in new e-health and other technologies, we can bring mental health care to more people in all regions of BC.

  • Put a focus on mental health in schools: We’re building on our investment into mental health supports for students and are committed to better supporting children and youth with special needs.

BC Liberals

As public awareness and understanding of mental health issues have grown, so too has our responsibility to provide adequate treatments and supports. We need to treat the causes and prevent the harm.

We recognize the important of having mental health supports for youth. That is why the BC Liberal platform promises to:

• Increase mental health supports in public secondary schools, such as registered psychiatric nurses.

  • Introduce a Safe Care Act to safely and ethically help young people with addictions into treatment.


Nearly half of renters in Vancouver spend more than a third of their income on rent, and many of them are young people. In communities outside of Vancouver, rents keep rising even in the midst of the pandemic.

What will your party do to make it more affordable to both rent and buy a home?


In the first few years since we launched our new Homes for BC 10-year housing plan, we’ve made good progress on our commitment to deliver 114,000 new affordable homes for people in communities of all sizes. To date, we have more than 25,000 homes complete or underway, in all categories of housing, from homes with supports for those experiencing homelessness and the first investment in new housing for women and children fleeing violence in two decades, to new indigenous housing both on- and off-reserve, new mixed-income rental housing for people with low to moderate incomes, and thousands of new market rental units for middle-income families and individuals.

New policies, like the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, have turned more than 11,000 empty homes into new rental homes. While the BC Liberals would cancel this tax, and roll back the progress we’ve made, we will continue to build on our efforts so far to deliver more homes that people can afford to rent or buy.

There is much more to do, and our government will again work to deliver the homes that all of our communities need, by:

• Freezing rents until the end of 2021, and capping rent increases at inflation after that; • Introducing a renter’s rebate, to provide renters with $400/year; • Streamlining development approvals, with new provincial funding to support the efforts that many local government are already undertaking, while we act to make the provincial permit and approval process more efficient as well with a new single-window permitting process; • Eliminating unnecessary parking minimums in new developments near transit investments, allowing for more affordable transit-oriented housing options for people to rent or buy;

• Bringing new rental developments to communities for people of all income levels, whether these are the next set of publicly-funded social housing projects, or tens of thousands of new market rental options for the middle-class delivered through the additional low-cost loans we will provide through our HousingHub program.

We also plan to expand the role of the innovative HousingHub team to partner with non-profit and co-op housing providers to acquire and preserve existing rental housing. We’ll also instruct the Housing Hub to look for new pathways to home ownership through rent-to-own or other equity-building programs.

BC Liberals

In Metro Vancouver, rents have risen $2,064 per year under John Horgan’s NDP. Their actions have failed to effectively increase the supply of rental homes relative to our growing population. Despite John Horgan’s promise to build 114,000 homes, fewer than 3000 units are actually open to date under the NDP’s housing program.

The BC Liberals have an ambitious plan to fix the housing market for renters and homebuyers. This includes platform promises to:

• Establish an incentive fund for municipalities with housing policies that enable demonstrable increases in the construction and supply of new housing.

• Implement tax and permitting changes to boost housing supply, including rental and market housing, to increase choice and improve affordability for British Columbians.

• Work with municipalities to review the current property tax structure to incent affordable housing development, prevent speculation and drive affordable rental housing.

• Require reviews of Official Community Plans every five years that are public, robust and transparent; require that zoning bylaws then be updated to reflect changes to the plan within one year after adoption; and allow for the waiving of hearings for Official Community Plan compliant projects.

• Support zoning reform to provide inclusionary zoning and to ensure that the Residential Rental Tenure Zoning (RRTZ) tool cannot be used to devalue and downzone property.

• Ensure no net loss of rental units in real estate redevelopment projects.

• Develop tax-relief measures to help people hurt by COVID-19 economic impacts to keep their homes.

• Implement split assessments for the commercially-rented portion of buildings through a new commercial property sub-class.

• Create a new residential property sub-class for rental housing of three or more units.

• Change BC Assessment practices to ensure rental properties are no longer valued based on the highest and best use, but rather on actual rental use.

• Provide energy-efficiency rebates on rental renovations.

• Use provincial and municipal land for affordable housing.

• Invest in getting homeless British Columbians a home and connecting them with the health and social service supports they need.

• Ensure prompt and effective resolution of tenancy disputes.

• Enable affordable condominium strata insurance by: encouraging and facilitating self-insurance models for stratas; eliminating the practice of “best-terms” pricing; and reducing statutorily-required insurance for strata properties from full replacement value to a level in line with actual claims cost history.

• Reduce delays in building-permit approvals and new homeowner costs.

• Improve the municipal development approval process, based on best practices.

• Strengthen and enforce Regional Growth Strategy targets so they are robust and effective.

• Provide provincial funding to create a digital tracking tool to allow municipalities and applicants to track the progress of individual applications and identify roadblocks.

• Increase the supply of fully-accessible units for persons with disabilities in newly-built multi-unit residential buildings.

• Modernize the BC Building Code to address accessibility, energy efficiency and strata insurance premiums.

  • Support and develop co-operative housing and other alternative ownership models.


The net-zero goal, embraced by dozens of countries, was catalyzed by a 2018 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said CO2 emissions had to be brought down to zero by 2050 if the world was going to try to limit global warming to 1.5C and avoid catastrophic impacts.

How will your party ensure that British Columbia’s cities are resilient to the devastating climate change impacts already being felt (ie. forest fires, rising sea levels, etc.) and also set us on a trajectory to net-zero emissions?


CleanBC, launched in 2018, is our plan to move British Columbia towards a clean-energy economy and future that drastically cuts the harmful emissions causing climate change. CleanBC was created by our BC NDP government in partnership with Dr. Andrew Weaver and is the leading climate action plan in North America. As part of — and adding to — CleanBC, John Horgan and the NDP will:

• Commit BC to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050: CleanBC currently sets a target of reducing emissions by 40 percent by 2030. To complete the task, we will pass legislation requiring BC to reach net-zero by 2050 — meaning there are either no harmful carbon emissions or they are offset by natural carbon sinks, carbon capture or other technologies.

• Require greener buildings: We are already requiring new buildings and retrofits to be more energy efficient and cleaner — every new building constructed in BC must be net-zero ready by 2032. We will take the next step by empowering local governments to set their own carbon pollution performance standards for new buildings. And we will require realtors to provide energy efficiency information on listed homes to incent energy-saving upgrades and let purchasers know what energy bills they will face.

• We will spur more energy-efficiency upgrades with programs and incentives for both residential and commercial buildings — including PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing that allows homeowners to take out loans for efficiency upgrades and pay them back over time through annual property taxes.

• With heavy vehicles being a large and growing source of harmful emissions, it’s essential we move now to green-up BC industrial transportation. We will expand CleanBC’s SUVI program to get more trucks, buses, ports, airports, and marine vessels off fossil fuels. And we will accelerate the move towards a provincial fleet powered by electrification, hydrogen fuel cell technologies, and other zero-emissions technologies.

• Ramp up CleanBC’s industrial emissions strategy: We’ll provide additional funding for our CleanBC industrial emissions strategy so that more mines, pulp mills, oil and gas processing plants, and other industrial facilities can reduce harmful emissions and move to cleaner operations.

• We will make electric vehicles more affordable for more people: We’ll provide a new income-tested incentive on new and used zero-emission vehicles to get more people into the electric vehicle rebate program, regardless of their income.

• Increasing public vehicle charging availability: We will expand home and workplace charging through increased incentives and ‘right-to-charge’ legislation that gets charging infrastructure into more strata and apartment buildings.

• Making e-bikes more affordable: To help more people make the switch to active transportation, we will remove the PST on e-bikes

  • Employ best-in-the-world emission detection: To make sure our reduction goals are being met, we’ll employ world-leading regulations and technologies to detect and reduce harmful methane emissions

BC Liberals

We need to re-establish BC as a climate leader again. In order to meet our goals, our next challenge is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and buildings. That means that we will need to invest in making electric transportation more widely available, and updating our building codes.

That is why a BC Liberal Government will:

• Re-establish BC as a global climate leader, and make BC a place where people have clean and green choices in transportation, buildings and public services.

• Create jobs and reduce energy costs for British Columbians, by encouraging the retrofitting of homes and businesses.

• Reduce the impact of climate-related disasters like wildfires and floods, to make BC communities safer.

• Expand public transit options.

• Support investments in more electric vehicle charging stations across BC, working with municipalities and businesses.

• Support investments in renewable energy and next-generation clean energy and technology solutions, including working with the federal government and other provinces to leverage innovations and research in carbon capture.

• Ensure a comprehensive greenhouse gas strategy that reduces emissions while enabling our world-leading sustainable resource development and Indigenous land use.

• Ensure decisions in every Ministry across government are made with environmental improvement as an overarching goal.

• Improve the provincial building code to maximize energy-efficiency in a way that respects communities’ unique geography, and avoids imposing one-size-fits-all costs with minimal environmental benefit.

  • Work with the federal government to review scheduled increases in the Carbon Tax in light of the current economic recession.


In the past, youth have only had a seat on two advisory councils in British Columbia: the Clean Growth Advisory Council and the CleanBC Labour Readiness Task Force.

What is your party’s strategy for ensuring that youth are effectively consulted and have seats at decision-making tables during the COVID-19 recovery and beyond?


Youth have enabled our BC NDP government to revitalize government and ensure the programs and services provided are helping those who actually want and need them, especially as we move through our recovery response following the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe it is important for government to consult and engage with British Columbians, while the BC Liberals have demanded on numerous occasions that we curtail consultations and ignore communities.

When our government was looking for ways to make post-secondary education more accessible, students told us they wanted an up-front grants to help them at the beginning of their studies. We listened and after receiving this input, we overhauled the student aid system and made it better by re-establishing needs based grants. By listening to the perspective and lived experiences of youth, government can be more responsive to the needs of our province as we work to make our province better and more resilient for everyone.

We are committed to making B.C. a leader in inclusion. In order to achieve this we know it is important that government seek out underrepresented voices, including youth, to learn from their diverse perspectives and needs. These voices will help us expand and improve on the significant actions taking place through government, and provide insight into how these actions may impact people further into the future. Over the past three years, our BC NDP government has also sought out the voices of youth on other councils and committees including our Economic Recovery roundtables, Multicultural Advisory Council, Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee and Ministry of Children and Family Developments youth advisory councils, but there are many more advisory bodies that would benefit from youth representation. If re-elected a BC NDP government will continue to consult youth regarding policy and programs and secure their seat at the table of government actions.

BC Liberals

Everyone impacted by the pandemic deserves a voice in how we recover, and the BC Liberals are committed to a recovery that includes opportunity for all of BC.

This questionnaire is a part of our #ShapeTheVote initiative to elevate young candidates and youth voices in the 2020 BC Election. You can find our related work here:

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