Vancouver’s Liabilities: Eyes Wide Shut … But Who Would Know?

Commentary, Larry Mitchell, Local Government

Canadian municipalities currently produce financial information that is deficient because of limited disclosure and accounting for liabilities. These omissions include a failure to properly account for asset costs leading to accrued asset maintenance deficits, pension fund future liabilities and environmental and disaster contingency funds. For the huge sums involved, to base major borrowing decisions upon financial information that is this complete is imprudent and may border on the reckless.

Chalk or Cheese?

Commentary, Larry Mitchell, Local Government

Unlike the obvious difference between those two items, Canadian municipalities often mix up two very different accounting categories—operating and capital expenditures. The result is that an educated reader is left to guess about municipal financial statements.