British Columbia’s minority New Democrat government says it is starting to build the province all residents want, tabling a budget update that promises to hire 3,500 teachers and build thousands of rental units and homes for the homeless.

Finance Minister Carole James said Monday the government’s first budget document puts people first after 16 years of Liberal rule where families, students and seniors struggled.

The government forecasts a surplus of $246 million this year and economic growth of 2.9 per cent, up from the 2.1 per cent projected in last February’s budget.