The public sector continues to face many challenges, changes, and transformations. Even before COVID-19 changed how we live and work, several global trends towards increased responsiveness and adaptability in the rapidly changing modern world were occurring. Further action on emerging issues such as sustainability reporting, were also taking hold and creating a new normal. Indeed, identifying the needs of the future was an important driver in launching the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada’s review of governance and structure for establishing Canadian accounting and assurance standards, including sustainability standards. Within this context, PSAB is committed to ensuring its continued relevance to stakeholders.
Our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan was focused on laying the foundation for the future. We have accomplished what we set out to do in this plan – from proposing a new Conceptual Framework, deciding on a strategy for government not-for-profit organizations (GNFPOs), to establishing our International Strategy. As a result, we will now transition to addressing today’s and future’s most pressing challenges.
Over the past year, I’m pleased with our progress in respect of several aspects of this transition, which has allowed us to lay the groundwork for the future. Specifically, we began implementing our International Strategy by increasing awareness amongst stakeholders of the work being done by the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) and by engaging with the Chair, Canadian member, and staff of IPSASB to ensure they were aware of the Canadian context to their work. Additionally, we’ve reviewed extensive feedback received in respect of the Exposure Drafts on our Conceptual Framework and Reporting Model, and the Consultation Paper on our GNFP Strategy. Final approvals of the Conceptual Framework and Reporting Model documents are expected in the next year, to enable staff and Board review of stakeholder feedback. We also completed a significant milestone in respect of our technical projects by releasing the first Exposure Draft related to Employee Benefits and finalizing a series of narrow scope amendments in respect of the Financial Instruments suite of standards.
I'm also pleased with the recent issuance of our 2022 to 2027 Strategic Plan. This plan will build on the previous strategic plan and outline the future direction of PSAB’s work for the next five years. Specifically, our new Strategic Plan is focused on meeting the demands of the present while anticipating the needs of the future. To keep pace with rapid change, we have outlined opportunities to build speed, adaptability, and efficiency into the standard-setting process, and to leverage and adapt international standards to Canada when appropriate. We will also work to strengthen relationships with international standard setters. To ensure Canada’s public standards are relevant and forward-looking, we will monitor initiatives to encourage and support sustainability reporting, while initiating specific actions to enhance our relationships with stakeholders.
In closing, I continue to offer my deepest thanks to staff, volunteers and stakeholders for all their efforts to support our standard-setting processes, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 environment. It’s a true testament to their dedication and belief in the importance of our mission to serve in the public interest. Thanks to them, we have been able to lay a great foundation this past year, to help set us up for the future.
Clyde MacLellan, FCPA, FCA
This was the first year for implementation of our International Strategy, which was approved in April 2021. We enhanced our briefing meetings provided to the Canadian IPSASB member, focusing on issues important to our stakeholders. In line with our objective to influence international standards in the Canadian public interest, we submitted our response to five Exposure Drafts and Documents for Comments issued by the IPSASB. We provided a Canadian public sector perspective by submitting a response to Part 1 of the International Financial Reporting for Non-Profit Organizations (IF4NPO) Consultation Paper, and contributing to a response submitted by the Accounting Standards Board to the International Accounting Standards Board’s Exposure Draft on Regulatory Assets and Regulatory Liabilities.
Conceptual Framework and Reporting Model
After multiple years of consultation, we have received an unprecedented volume of feedback on the Exposure Drafts that were issued in 2021. Work is ongoing to review the feedback received since the end of the comment period in June 2021. As part of our strategy to establish high-quality standards, we will finalize the Conceptual Framework and Reporting Model standards in 2022-2023.
Government Not-for-Profit Organizations (GNFPOs)
In March 2022, we finalized our GNFP strategy, Option 2 ‒ PSAS incorporating the PS 4200 series with potential customizations. The development of an implementation plan for our GNFP strategy is now underway. Consultation with stakeholders will be undertaken throughout implementation, as we work to enhance and strengthen relationships with our stakeholders.
We made significant progress in achieving the strategies outlined in our 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. Over the past five years, we developed several key technical accounting standards and guidance in the Canadian public interest (e.g., PS 3400, Revenue, PS 3280, Asset Retirement Obligations, and PS 3160, Public Private Partnerships). We also approved our International Strategy, decided on a government not-for-profit strategy, and proposed a revised Conceptual Framework. Finally, we continued to enhance and improve our engagement with stakeholders through new online platforms and virtual roundtables.
In March 2022, we finalized our strategic plan for 2022-2027. The new strategic plan is focused on meeting the demands of the present, while anticipating the needs of the future, outlining our key strategies to position us and our stakeholders for a future where the ability to adapt quickly is key.
This past year, the Independent Review Committee on Standard Setting in Canada launched a review of the governance and structure for establishing Canadian accounting, auditing, and assurance standards and to identify what might be needed for the future. This has included calling for the creation of a Canadian sustainability standards board to adapt the baseline standards developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board for use in Canada. Our strategic plan positions us well to address any future recommendations from this body.