Fraser Institute News Release: BC government spending reaches highest level on record in 2021 at $13,250 per person

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Feb. 14, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Per-person (inflation-adjusted) program spending in British Columbia reached its highest level on record at $13,250 in 2021 (excluding COVID-related spending, per-person spending ($12,533) was still by far the highest on record), finds a new report published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“An effective way of measuring a government’s fiscal policy is by reviewing per-person (inflation-adjusted) program spending by various Premiers,” said Tegan Hill, senior economist with the Fraser Institute and co-author of British Columbia Premiers and Provincial Government Spending.

This study reviews annual per-person program spending (inflation-adjusted) by British Columbia premiers from 1965 to 2021, and finds that the highest single year of per-person spending on record was under Premier John Horgan in 2021. Even excluding COVID-related spending, 2021 was still the highest year on record.

The second highest year of per-person spending was 2020 at $13,199 per-person, with non-COVID related spending at $11,188 per-person.

Overall, John Horgan increased per-person (inflation-adjusted) program spending by 6.1 per cent over his tenure, higher than his two predecessors Gordon Campbell (1.4 per cent) and Christy Clark, who recorded an average annual decline of 0.7 per cent.

“The intention is to provide a historical analysis of this key measure of government fiscal policy,” said Hill.

“It will be important to see how per-person inflation-adjusted spending develops moving forward.”

Tegan Hill, Senior Economist
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