Finance Minister Carole James. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. to review ‘fiscal responsiblity’ at Crown corporations

On the table are BC Hydro, ICBC, the BC Lottery Corporation and more

The B.C. government has announced plans to review the fiscal sustainability of its Crown corporations.

On the list released Tuesday are the BC Lottery Corporation, BC Hydro, the ICBC, the Liquor Distribution Branch, and the BC Housing Management Commission, including the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation.

The province said it will “evaluate risks and identify options” to develop, monitor and manage to its overall fiscal plan targets.

Budget documents released earlier this month showed ICBC did financially worse than forecast, while the BC Lottery Corporation and the Liquor Distribution Branch did better, and BC Hydro performed pretty much on par.

ICBC has been much criticized for an $833-million deficit revealed this past winter. A report released in July said rates could go up by as much as 30 per cent by 2019 if current trends persist, the corporation still has to cover its costs through rates, and nothing is done to improve things.

READ: ICBC rates could go up 30 per cent by 2019: report

The NDP had taken shots at the previous Liberal government for what the New Democrats called their “irresponsible” handling of the auto insurer.

In July, Attorney General and minister responsible for ICBC David Eby told reporters that a 30-per-cent rate hike “will not be happening on our watch.”

READ: ICBC claims up 14 per cent this winter

Premier John Horgan appointed new ICBC and BC Hydro chairs in late July as part of the government’s strategy of overhauling the two corporations.

The NDP has promised to freeze hydro rates, overturning a Liberal plan that would have increased rates by 28 per cent over five years.

The review is scheduled to be complete before the government starts putting together its next budget.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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