Ontario's auditor general says Ontario's deficit for 2015-16 should be $5 billion, but the government's accounting has the deficit at $3.5 billion
TORONTO—Ontario’s Liberal government is in a spat with the auditor general over accounting practices that would affect the province’s deficit by $1.5 billion.
The government says auditor general Bonnie Lysyk is taking issue with their pension asset accounting, though it says these are rules that have been used for the past 14 years.
The issue is with the accounting of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Pension Plan and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which are jointly sponsored with the government.
The government says the plans have a surplus, but the auditor general says that should not be on the province’s balance sheet.
Under that accounting, Ontario’s deficit for 2015-16 was $5 billion, but under the government’s accounting the deficit would be $3.5 billion.
The audited public accounts are supposed to be tabled 180 days after the end of the fiscal year, which was Sept. 27 this year, but that deadline was missed because of the dispute with the auditor.
The government is releasing the unaudited financial statements.