FREDERICTON (GNB) – Auditor General Kim MacPherson remains very concerned about the provincial government’s accounting for Shared Risk Pension Plans which caused the reservation in the March 31, 2015 audit opinion on the province’s financial statements. Since the government has not obtained information to determine the impact of their accounting decision, the province’s fiscal position including the true deficit and net debt remain unknown.

MacPherson found that the government’s method of accounting for the four Shared Risk Pension Plans did not follow Public Sector Accounting Standards because the risk inherent in the plans is not reflected in the numbers.

“The numbers in these financial statements may be misleading and this situation will continue until the accounting is changed or until accounting standards change which is expected to take a number of years,” said MacPherson. “It is important that the public understands the significance of this serious and disappointing outcome.” 

The auditor general recommended the Department of Finance:

  • change the accounting method for the province’s Shared Risk Pension Plans;
  • restate the province’s March 31, 2015 financial statements using correct pension accounting; and
  • obtain the missing information to quantify the impact of the accounting change.

The chapter on pension plan observations can be found in Volume III of the 2015 Auditor General Report. This volume focuses on matters arising from the annual financial audit of the province and Crown agencies. Volume IV contains two performance reports completed during 2015. These volumes and one page summaries for select chapters are available online.