FORT ST. JOHN -- While the cost of living is already rising for many B.C. residents, some expenses became even more steep as of April 1.

Despite it being April Fools' Day, previously announced increases to ferry fares, the carbon tax, alcohol taxes and BC Hydro rates are no joke. Here are some of the rising costs B.C. residents can expect

Carbon tax

The national price on pollution rose by $15 per tonne Monday, which will lead to a rise in charges for more than 20 different fuel sources that produce greenhouse gas emissions when burned for energy. That includes gasoline, propane, diesel and natural gas. The added cost to each fuel depends on how many greenhouse gases are produced when that fuel is burned.

For those fuelling up, the rising carbon tax will add about three cents per litre of gas.

In B.C., a carbon tax has already been in place since 2008, with rebates offered based on income. But only one third of residents qualify.

Federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has targeted B.C. Premier David Eby and released an attack ad last month criticizing him for his support of the tax increases. Poilievre also sent Eby a letter, calling on him to oppose the April 1 increase.

But Eby dismissed Poilievre's letter, calling it a "baloney factory" campaign tactic.

"I don't live in the Pierre Poilievre campaign office and baloney factory," Eby said last month. "I live in B.C., am the premier, and decisions have consequences. The fact we face is that if we followed Mr. Poilievre's suggestion there would be less money returned to British Columbians after April 1 than there would be if the federal government administered this increase directly." 

Alcohol tax

The federal alcohol excise tax on beer, spirits and wine also rose by two per cent on Monday. That tax was initially set to increase by 4.7 per cent, but federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced last month it would be capped at the lower amount for two more years.

Restaurants Canada applauded the cap, saying the financial relief will give operators a chance to catch their breath as they try to cope with inflation and bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BC Hydro rates

B.C. Hydro rates also went up as of April 1, following an approval from the B.C. Utilities Commission. The Crown utility applied for a 2.3 per cent increase back in October, which it said was below the rate of inflation. That increase will add about $2 per month to the average residential customer's bill.

However, in February, the province announced an "electricity affordability credit" to help offset costs over the next year. The credit amount varies based on a customer's annual electricity consumption, but BC Hydro says the average customer could see about $100 in savings.

BC Ferries

As of April 1, average fares across the BC Ferries system increased by 3.2 per cent, an amount set by the BC Ferries commissioner. BC Ferries says it was able to avoid a 9.2 per cent fare increase due to a $500 million investment from the provincial government, adding there are more discounted fares available too.

Standard adult fares on routes between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island rose by 55 cents and the cost to those driving up and paying at-terminal fares went up by $4.10. 




With files from Alyse Kotyk CTV Vancouver andThe Canadian Press