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Auditor general’s report informs discussion on the province’s annual Summary Financial Statements

Press Release

November 28, 2023

VICTORIA – A new report from the Office of the Auditor General provides MLAs with a focal point for examining the $80 billion of financial activity summarized in B.C.’s public accounts for the last fiscal year.

“Today’s report assists MLAs as they look at government financial reporting and the results of my office’s independent audit of the summary financial statements,” Auditor General Michael Pickup said. This report – like all reports produced by my office – will go to the Select Standing Committee on the Public Accounts, providing an opportunity for formal consideration.

The summary financial statements consolidate the financial results for more than 160 provincial government entities – from ministries and Crown corporations to health authorities and school districts. The Auditor General Act requires the auditor general to report on whether the government’s “financial statements are fairly presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.”

The Independent Auditor’s Report and the summary financial statements were released on Aug. 30. The audit found the statements as presented shouldn’t be relied on without considering the impacts of the three areas where B.C.’s accounting fails to meet Canadian Public Sector Accounting Standards. It resulted in a qualified audit report (as opposed to a “clean” or unqualified report).

The qualified report was based on the government’s accounting and reporting of deferred revenues (a nearly $7-billion discrepancy), contractual obligations, and the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Agreement.

“Our report explains why, for the 16th consecutive year, we qualified our audit report. In fact, government has received 38 qualifications in the last 16 years. That is, we couldn’t say the government’s financial statements are fairly presented,” Pickup said. “It’s key because economic decisions rely on the accurate reporting of financial transactions and estimates.”

Summary Financial Statements Audit: Supporting the Role of MLAs is the first of two related reports. The second report will discuss other audit items of interest to MLAs (such as income tax revenue estimates and their impact on government budgets and spending). It’s scheduled to be released in early 2024.

Related links
Summary Financial Statements Audit: Supporting the Role of MLAs
Report at a glance
Video

Photo files
High-resolution images of Auditor General Michael Pickup: https://www.oag.bc.ca/media

For general questions and interview requests:

Nicholas Johnson
Manager, Communications
njohnson@bcauditor.com
250-419-6117

IBF4

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