BC's Parliament Building on a sunny day with a clear blue sky

February 23, 2024

At DoNoHarm BC, we’ve been awaiting the presentation of BC Budget 2024 with great interest. We’ve heard from many British Columbians about intense concern surrounding the expiry of funding for COVID-19 services, and we recently provided key recommendations to BC policy-makers around forward-thinking measures to support community health.

Advocacy Wins

BC Budget 2024 is committing over $3 billion over three years to support ongoing COVID-19 health measures, including “vaccines, personal protective equipment, lab testing and monitoring”, as well as funding rural and remote access to care. This allocation replaces the time-limited pandemic contingencies that expired after 2023.

This announcement represents a massive win for all the advocates and community members who’ve raised their voices. It also underscores the ongoing importance of this issue – and the impact of collective action in addressing pressing health challenges.

Additionally, we’re pleased to note that in alignment with DoNoHarm BC’s budget recommendations, policy-makers are taking steps to improve our province’s digital health solutions, and starting to address the critical need for cooling via heat pumps. 

Funding Gaps

Even as we celebrate these milestones, we must acknowledge where BC Budget 2024 falls short in addressing community concerns.

Despite broad-based support from the public, there are no steps to improve indoor air quality, either via building retrofits or a Clean Indoor Air Act. This budget also falls short in meeting the needs of several vulnerable groups, including ignoring some key recommendations from BC’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services. Despite one-time measures to address the cost of living, there is no mention of improving disability and income supports indexed to inflation; nor is there mention of improved medical equipment coverage or our recommended PPE tax credit.

Very notably, BC Budget 2024 leaves British Columbians with Long Covid and related complex chronic diseases out in the cold. This is despite Statistics Canada data showing a staggering 1 in 9 Canadian adults have developed Long Covid to date. The omission of further steps to address this issue ignores recommendations outlined by Canada’s Office of the Chief Science Officer since 2022 – even as the Ministry of Health Service Plan states that BC faces “impacts from health emergencies such as… the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Political Narratives

Lastly: we must flag a concerning trend in government communication around COVID-19. BC’s Budget 2024 materials persistently and inaccurately refer to the pandemic in the past tense, despite ongoing transmission and warnings from WHO leadership that we’re still in a pandemic. 

Moreover, the 2024 Strategic Plan explicitly frames the decision to “[keep] kids in classrooms more than any other province did” as a positive. While we recognize the importance of safe, equitable and accessible classroom learning, we find it inappropriate to celebrate the choice to downplay school transmission risks and ignore safety concerns from BC parents, teachers, and health experts.

For further context on this, we refer you to the August 2023 open letter signed by over 50 organizations and expert signatories regarding airborne illness in BC schools. We also refer you to the joint media investigation titled, “Emails show Dr. Bonnie Henry knew of concerns over BC’s COVID-19 data and school exposures while publicly downplaying them”.


At DoNoHarm BC, we’re celebrating the community wins represented in this budget announcement, and the tireless work of everyone who made them possible. We are also conscious of the ongoing gaps. Our advocacy work will continue, in order to ensure that the commitments in BC Budget 2024 are honoured – and that progress is made on the critical areas left unaddressed.

Key Points

DoNoHarm BC is a non-partisan action group based in British Columbia, Canada. Our mission is to demand evidence-based safety measures in high-risk settings; advocate for effective and equitable public health policies; and help lead grassroots collective action promoting safety, equity, accessibility and resilience in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. www.DoNoHarmBC.ca

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