Accounting Group Speaks Out on Canada's Federal Budget

Press Release

Canada’s Chartered Accountants expressed disappointment about the depth and breadth of program spending in Canada's federal budget and that so little attention is being paid to the federal debt.

"We have concerns that the amount of program spending and the rate of increase in spending, forecast over several years, doesn't afford the government enough flexibility should revenue or economic growth slow," said Pierre Brunet, FCA, Chair of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Board of Directors. “Health care and defence are important priorities, and we recognize that. However, in our view too many commitments have been made with this budget, too far down the road, while not enough of the surplus has been assigned to pay down the debt. The magnitude of the current debt is this generation's responsibility to address, we should not be passing it down to our children."

The government says program spending will increase by 11.5% in 2002-2003. On a per capita basis, each Canadian household’s share of the federal debt is more than $43,000. The federal government’s debt-to-GDP ratio stands at 44.5% -- the CICA has set a debt-to-GDP target for the government of 40.0 per cent. The CICA warns that variables such as slower than expected economic growth or increased interest rates give the government less than optimal flexibility.

"We would also liked to have seen more of the surplus assigned to the debt than simply the three billion dollars in the contingency fund," said Brunet. "The government is to be commended for its sound fiscal management in producing a surplus – it is unfortunate that the government could not then have followed through and put a greater portion of that surplus towards the debt."

As of 2002, interest payments on the debt still consumed 21.8 per cent of all federal government revenue. “On a personal level, this is like an average Canadian earning $50,000 per year who must contemplate an $11,000 interest bill at the start of the year,” said Brunet. “How much flexibility would this give you for other needs and priorities?”

This was the federal government's first budget based on accrual accounting. "We applaud the government's move to accrual accounting, which we believe provides a more comprehensive set of indicators to describe the government's financial position," said Brunet.

You may like these other stories...

By Jason BramwellThe IRS on August 19 unveiled a new online registration system for financial institutions that need to register with the agency under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).Financial institutions...
By Curtis C. Verschoor, CMAThe furor over the extensive tax avoidance measures used by technology companies such as Google and Apple has reached new heights in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Government...
By Jason Bramwell Government leaders of eight of the world's largest economies pledged on June 18 to take a tougher stance on fighting tax evasion. The Group of Eight (G8) leaders, who met in Northern Ireland,...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.