BC’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer has looked at the provincial government’s Summary Financial Statements. While she feels the province’s statements are fair, she is expressing concerns (referred to as “qualifications”) in three areas.
Speaking on behalf of Bellringer is Deputy Auditor General Russ Jones.
For the fifth year in a row, the Auditor General is highlighting the province’s revenue recording method. When a province or territory receives funding from other governments, often the federal government, the money is often only to used on a specific project. Public sector accounting standards require governments to record these funds as soon as a project is bought, built, or complete.
Bellringer found the BC government’s accounting methods typically under-report revenues and cloud the province’s financial position.
The BC government has set its own accounting policies for RRA, which it enforces on the third-party regulator responsible for the rate-setting process. Therefore, the BC government impacts the rate-setting process and its own bottom line.
Transportation Investment Corporation
The Transportation Investment Corporation (TIC) is a crown agency that was established to oversee the construction and tolling of the Port Mann Bridge connecting Coquitlam and Surrey and now overlooks the George Massey Tunnel placement project (Delta-Richmond).
The BC government considers the TIC to be a “self-supporting” entity – which means bridge tolls will cover expenses, but the Auditor General feels differently.
The annual audit of the Summary Financial Statements is the largest financial audit in BC. It encompasses over 150 entities accountable to the provincial government and takes 60 staff over 40,000 hours to complete.
On September 1st, the office will release a report further explaining all of these qualifications.