|2002/03 Annual Service
Ministry of Finance
fiscal year 2002/03 — the first complete year in the government's
mandate — was a significant one in terms of challenges, goals
and achievements. The Ministry of Finance, and the government as
a whole, introduced important changes to how government does business,
and, perhaps more importantly, how government is held accountable
to the people of British Columbia.
Guided by first-ever three-year service plans for all ministries
and Crown corporations, the government confirmed its commitment
to restoring sound fiscal management and balancing the budget beginning
in 2004/05, while protecting priorities such as health care and
The key highlight for the year is that the fiscal plan is on track
and ahead of schedule. We are meeting our New Era commitments
to revitalize the economy, increase public accountability and transparency,
direct taxpayers' dollars to where they are needed most, and balance
the provincial budget as planned.
The ministry also introduced legislation that puts British Columbia
at the forefront for public accountability in the country. The Balanced
Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act ties Cabinet ministers'
salaries directly to budget and performance targets, bringing an
unprecedented level of accountability to top-level government decision
making. All ministers, ministers of state and the Premier himself
now begin the year with 20 per cent of their Cabinet salaries held
back, and must earn back that portion by meeting individual and
overall budget targets. I am proud to say that all ministries closed
the fiscal year with their operating budgets on or under budget.
At the same time, we did not need to use the $750 million forecast
allowance and accessed about half of the contingencies vote because
of unforeseen circumstances or opportunities to advance service
An update to the Auditor General Act modernized that legislation,
confirming the independence of the auditor general and providing
the mechanisms required to effectively carry out these responsibilities.
The new Business Corporations Act creates more flexibility
and cuts red tape for businesses, to help attract new incorporations
to the province. The capital asset management framework and Partnerships
British Columbia, also launched this year, will help guide government
to deliver innovative, effective, efficient public infrastructure
and services to British Columbians, especially through public-private
These are only a few of the highlights. Much work remains to be
done. However, throughout the year, small businesses, investors,
economic forecasters, ratings agencies, municipal leaders and citizens
repeatedly said to us, "Stay the course." After the first full year
of the government's phased approach to setting B.C.'s fiscal house
in order, one thing is clear: our plan is working.
I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all
Ministry of Finance employees, borne out in the year's substantial
achievements. We will continue to work responsibly to restore sound
fiscal management and open, accountable financial reporting for
the long-term economic good of all British Columbians.
Honourable Gary Collins
Minister of Finance
June 16, 2003