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The British Columbia government’s new budget will spend more as the economy shrinks.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy says now isn’t the time to start making cuts, so there is more money for things like health care, addiction treatment, foster care, rent control and family supports.

Opposition Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon says the proposed budget is a disappointment and people feel no better today than they did six years ago.

The B.C. Chamber of Commerce says the government's focus on spending on social and community issues comes at the expense of businesses that face increased costs.

Housing advocates say the money promised in the budget shows the government’s strong commitment to tackling the housing crisis.

And in what is a first for Canada, B.C. will make prescription contraception free to all residents starting April 1, in what the group AccessBC says will save the government about $95 million a year through reductions in abortions, prenatal visits and social supports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2023.

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