Big profit on driver’s licences

ICBC charges $75 for a new or renewed driver’s licence, but it only costs the corporation $10

  • Dec. 12, 2011 8:00 a.m.

Black Press

ICBC charges $75 for a new or renewed driver’s licence, but it only costs the corporation $10 to issue the licences, B.C. Auditor General John Doyle says in a new report.

The fee is set by the provincial government, which takes all the revenue and leaves ICBC to fund licence handling costs from its insurance revenues. The licence fees added up to $36.5 million in revenue to the province in the fiscal year that ended last March.

Doyle found fees are set by the government without providing a rationale to the agencies that collect them. Some fees haven’t been revised since the 1990s, and nearly half of the 2,332 fees studied in the audit had no date recorded for when they were last revised.

Doyle recommended that government fees be explained to agencies, revised regularly and the information made “readily available to the public.”

Boomer health care study starts

Can the B.C. health care system withstand the retirement of baby boom generation? A B.C. legislature committee is trying to find the answers.

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, chair of the all-party committee, said its goal is to sort through different projections of the largest wave of retirement ever. The post-war generation officially begins reaching retirement age in 2012, continuing to 2036.

“As the boomers move through, there are differences of opinion in the literature and in the public as to what kind of impact those boomers are going to have,” Letnick said. “Some believe that it’s going to be a little bit more money, a little increase in GDP. Others believe that the system is not sustainable.”

The committee is accepting academic studies and other research papers until Jan. 13 for the first phase of its work, assessing the impact. It will then outline alternative strategies to cope with the increased demand, and identify public response to the different proposals.

No confirmed anemia in B.C. salmon

After extensive testing for infectious salmon anemia (ISA), the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says there are no confirmed cases of the disease in wild or farmed salmon in B.C.

In recent years, the CFIA and the province have tested more than 5,000 wild and farmed salmon in B.C. for ISA; none have ever tested positive, says the CFIA.

While ISA poses no risk to people, a Simon Fraser University professor recently reported finding the ISA virus in two smolts from Rivers Inlet on B.C.’s central coast, after testing 48 wild salmon samples in May and June.

In the October SFU release, it was concluded that “the only plausible source” for the ISA virus “is the Atlantic salmon farms.”

The BC Salmon Farmers Association, which noted it has been testing regularly since 2002 and has never found ISA, welcomed the CFIA’s latest news.

“It is good to see that our testing results … have been validated by CFIA’s extensive follow-up on these reports,” said BCSFA executive director Mary Ellen Walling.