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November 22, 2022
VICTORIA – A new report to the legislature from Auditor General Michael Pickup flags key areas of interest and concerns after his office’s audit of the Province’s financial statements for the 2021/22 fiscal year.
The Summary Financial Statements consolidating the financial results of over 160 public entities (government ministries, Crown organizations, health authorities, universities, colleges, and school districts) were released by the finance minister in August.
It included a qualified independent auditor’s report based on three material misstatements that fall outside of public sector accounting standards. Except for these misstatements, the summary financial statements are fairly presented in all material respects. The audit found misleading errors or omissions, including:
“As an independent officer of the legislature, it’s my role to provide accurate, objective information, and independent assurance to assist the legislative assembly in holding government accountable,” Pickup said. “I’m the fourth successive auditor general to issue a qualified opinion on B.C.’s financial statements based on how the province reports revenue received from other governments.
“Public sector accounting standards are designed to enable the government to faithfully report their finances, including any volatility that occurs. The B.C. government is obscuring its financial position by applying an accounting policy designed to smooth earnings out over long periods of time,” Pickup said “Our concern is that this opens government accounting up to possible future financial statement manipulation. It also hinders financial statement users, such as MLAs, from engaging in healthy, informed debate about government’s finances.”
Today’s report provides additional information on financial matters of interest, including:
After reading the report, MLAs and the public may wish to ask how the government plans to resolve material misstatements, address management letter items, and if it has financial processes and resources to effectively manage future weather-related disasters.
Report on Financial Audit Work: Fiscal Year 2021/22
Report at a Glance
Summary Financial Statements for 2021-2022 Fiscal Year
For general questions and interview requests:
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