What do new PSAB technical accounting standards mean for the public sector?
People often dismiss public sector accounting standards to be irrelevant compliance requirements, but the reality is the standards set by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) have real implications on public sector organizations. Senior governments, local governments, and their agencies (school boards, hospitals, colleges, universities, museums, and crown corporations) are affected by technical accounting standards.
For example, PSAB set new standards to account for environmental obligations in 2013. To comply, public sector entities across Canada had to perform a detailed examination of contaminated lands, what their obligations were under legislation, and perhaps most importantly, it revealed the many ways governments end up being responsible for contaminated lands that were once privately owned. As part of complying with this new accounting standard, governments had to create policies to manage and control contaminated lands as well as develop strategies on how they could mitigate such obligations in the future.