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Auditor general raises concerns about B.C.'s bookkeeping for 16th time

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British Columbia's auditor general is repeating himself over concerns about the way the provincial government keeps its books, just as the Ministry of Finance's quarterly report projects a $5.6-billion deficit.

Michael Pickup says if B.C's financial statements followed Canadian public sector accounting standards there would be about another $7 billion in the revenue column, and liabilities would have dropped by the same amount.

This is the 16th time Pickup's office has “qualified” its audit report, meaning it couldn't say the financial statements were fairly presented.

Pickup says the way the province records money it receives for specific projects is incorrect because instead of counting the cash as revenue as soon as a building is complete, a portion is counted each year across the project's lifetime.

He also says government documents don't disclose all the money it's contractually committed to spend in the future, and they don't include gaming revenues earned and transferred under the BC First Nations Gaming Revenue Sharing Agreement.

Finance Minister Katrine Conroy says the government “respects and appreciates” the auditor's efforts on this issue, but feels it's “doing what every other jurisdiction in Canada is doing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.

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