February 15, 2005
As required by Section 7(d) of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act (BTAA), I am confirming that the Budget and Fiscal Plan contains the following elements:
— Economic and fiscal forecasts for 2005/06, which are detailed in Part 1 and Part 3.
— Material economic, demographic, taxation, accounting policy and other assumptions underlying the 2005/06 economic, revenue, expenditure, surplus and debt forecasts. These and other major areas of risk to the plan known at this time are disclosed in the risks section in Part 1 and in the material assumption tables in the appendices. Also, key assumptions regarding ongoing or anticipated negotiations are disclosed, including:
— Current advice of the Minister's Economic Forecast Council on economic growth, including the range of forecasts for 2005 and 2006. This is found at the end of Part 3.
Although not required by the BTAA, the most material assumptions for the subsequent two years of the fiscal plan are also disclosed. The current public sector compensation mandate of 0-0-0 until March 31, 2006 remains unchanged. As the next mandate is still under development, the fiscal plan does not include funding for compensation increases associated with this mandate for 2006/07 and 2007/08.
The three-year ministry spending plans included in this budget have been developed following reviews by Treasury Board and Government Caucus Committees. Crown corporation forecasts have been approved by the respective Boards of Directors. In addition, the Budget and Fiscal Plan is accompanied by service plans for ministries and Crown corporations, detailing the expected outcomes given the financial resources provided.
School districts, universities, colleges and health authorities/societies (the SUCH sector) forecasts have been provided by the management of the various organizations, with broad policy assumptions and assistance provided by the Ministries of Health Services, Advanced Education and Education. Since universities and colleges submitted their forecasts ahead of the formal board approval process and ahead of recent tuition fee policy announcements, final approved financial plans may differ from the management forecasts included in the Budget and Fiscal Plan.
The Budget and Fiscal Plan conforms in all material respects to the standards set by the accounting profession for senior governments in Canada, referred to as generally accepted accounting principles or "GAAP". As required under section 7(e) of the BTAA, the forecast allowance, which is an adjustment to the most likely forecast of the 2005/06 surplus, is also disclosed.
I would like to thank staff in all government ministries, Crown corporations and the SUCH sector for their work in developing the plans and preparing these multi-year economic and financial forecasts. I would like to especially acknowledge the hard work and dedication of my colleagues in the Ministry of Finance for the significant achievement of preparing a second balanced budget plan.
Deputy Minister and