New Brunswick’s auditor general noted in her annual report last week that she’s pleased with recent progress to resolve the province’s audit issues, including accounting for New Brunswick’s shared-risk pension plans.
Since the 2015 report, when concerns were raised regarding accounting for the new pension model, the province changed its accounting policy. At that time, MacPherson indicated it was impossible to know the province’s true deficit and net debt.
“Overall I am satisfied with government’s response on these important issues,” said auditor general Kim MacPherson, in a news release. “The province’s change in its shared-risk pension plan accounting policies, as well as new information being available, helped achieve resolution on this key issue.”
Ontario, which also published its auditor general’s report last week, has also had concerns about the accounting treatment of its pension funds. In the provincial government’s annual report and consolidated financial statements, published in October, an accounting difference involving the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had the government at odds with the province’s auditor.
The Ontario government stated the deficit for 2015-16 was $3.5 billion. Under auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s interpretation, however, it was $5 billion. Treasury Board president Liz Sandals says the province has been following the same pension accounting treatment for the past 14 years.
In November, the government announced it had formed an independent expert panel to deliver advice and recommendations on the appropriate application of accounting standards for the province’s jointly-sponsored pension plans.
The federal government’s auditor general also published his report last week but noted it didn’t examine notices of objection or appeals that involved the Canada Pension Plan or employment insurance.