January 23, 2006
For immediate release
Public Accounts 2004/2005
The 2004/05 final results compare favourably the original Budget Estimates from March 2004 ($33 million deficit) and the April 2005 Forecast ($39 million deficit). While there have been variances along the way, the overall goal for 2004/05 was achieved. If incremental revenues became available, they were used to accommodate additional needs that arose during the year. Given the financial situation facing government in previous years, significant emphasis was placed on developing a long-term plan towards financial sustainability without placing undue hardship on existing programs or services.
Our debt per capita of $10,869 is lower than the provincial average of $12,132, thus ranking us 4th best among the provinces. As well, fewer dollars are being used for debt servicing (interest-bite) thus freeing-up additional resources for other programs.
In many ways, 2004/05 was a transition year as government needed to address several financial realities and develop viable solutions. As a result, an on-going program review process was initiated to ensure the Province is doing the best with what it has in order to ensure essential services can be maintained. To this end, the Workforce Renewal Program was initiated to lessen any hardships from the changes that were required. The level of participation in the Workforce Renewal Program exceeded original expectations. While this caused a $14 million charge to 2004/05 final results, it is expected to have long-term positive results in achieving Program objectives.
To put into perspective, if the effects of the Workforce Renewal Program $14 million were backed out, the 2004/05 deficit would be only $19 million. Similarly, the increase in Net Debt would have been $3 million. Overall, this reflects the direction we want to take and is consistent with the budgeted 2005/06 increase in Net Debt of $9 million.
In general, the 2004/05 results are encouraging given the effects of the Workforce Renewal Program, the impact from accounting standard changes, additional assistance provided to some Crown entities, and continuing financial pressure from program expenditures.