The government is committed to ensuring Ontarians receive the best value for their tax dollars. This objective is achieved by enhancing the public’s understanding of government finances, improving transparency in financial reporting and strengthening accountability to the public.
Details of the government’s plan to strengthen accountability and provide greater transparency in the reporting of government finances are presented in the Addendum to the 2010 Ontario Budget: Ontario’s Plan to Enhance Accountability, Transparency and Financial Management.
Ontario, along with the federal, territorial and other provincial governments, has been working with the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) to improve public-sector financial reporting. The aim is to ensure that Canadian public-sector accounting standards continue to support sound public policy decision-making, government fiscal accountability and the clear transparent reporting of information on government finances to the public.
Ontario and the other governments in Canada are concerned that changes PSAB recently proposed to accounting standards are inconsistent with these objectives. Ontario raised these concerns with PSAB through an interjurisdictional Joint Working Group of senior government and accounting standards officials. The Group identified concerns with PSAB’s conceptual framework that underlies the board’s development of all public-sector accounting standards in Canada.
The government believes Ontarians, and all Canadians, need a set of public-sector accounting standards that:
Currently, the CICA prescribes four different sets of accounting standards for use in the public sector in Canada. In 2011, the CICA will introduce another set, International Financial Reporting Standards. Each of these sets of standards measures, records and reports public-sector financial results differently. This results in public-sector organizations reporting different financial results in similar circumstances. This distorts transparency and fiscal accountability for the expenditure of public monies.
Accordingly, there is a need for PSAB to establish a consistent set of accounting standards for all public-sector organizations in Canada as soon as possible. In the interim, the Ontario government will provide direction to provincial government organizations and enterprises to ensure consistent, transparent financial reporting and fiscal accountability are sustained throughout Ontario’s public sector.
Starting with this Budget, for improved transparency in reporting, a number of important changes have been implemented in how revenues and expenses are presented. These presentation changes do not impact the Province’s annual surplus or deficit results or accumulated deficit. These changes affect the presentation of:
As part of continuing efforts to strengthen the financial management, transparency and accountability of Ontario’s ministries and agencies, the government is enhancing existing policies and processes to improve accountability, oversight and reporting, including: