Premier Sandy Silver at Yukon Legislative Assembly in Whitehorse on Oct. 1. Silver tabled documents at the assembly Oct. 31, that show the Liberal government had a non-consolidated annual surplus of $18.7 million last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon public accounts show $18.7 million surplus for 2017-2018

The non-consolidated surplus is almost triple what the Liberals had predicted

The Yukon government ran a non-consolidated annual surplus of more than $18 million in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, according to public accounts released this week.

The documents, which Premier and Finance Minister Sandy Silver tabled in the Yukon Legislative Assembly Oct. 31, show that the Liberal government had a non-consolidated annual surplus of $18.7 million last year, which is almost three times the $6.5 million-surplus it projected when it tabled its first budget in April 2017.

“Non-consolidated” means the figure does not take into account the finances of corporations like Yukon College, the Yukon Hospital Corporation or Yukon Liquor Corporation.

The larger-than-forecasted surplus, according to an Oct. 31 press release, can be attributed mainly to higher-than-estimated revenues and lower-than-estimated expenses.

On the consolidated side, there was annual surplus of $53 million — $20 million more than the planned surplus of $33 million. That surplus can be attributed to the fact that while revenues were lower than expected, they were offset by lower-than-expected expenses, according to a financial statement discussion and analysis.

The public accounts also show a drop in the Yukon government’s non-consolidated net financial assets in 2017-2018. While it started the fiscal year with $88 million, that figure decreased by $51 million, leaving the Liberals with $37 million by the end.

The press release attributes the decrease to “continued investment in the development of buildings, infrastructure and other tangible capital assets,” with other documents noting the construction of the Whistlebend Continuing Care Facility and Whitehorse General Hospital expansion as examples.

The documents also show an increase in expenses compared to the previous fiscal year for the Yukon Legislative Assembly, the Child and Youth Advocate Office, the French Language Services Directorate, and the departments of community services, education, health and social services and justice, among others.

The Yukon government’s consolidated net financial assets were $248 million at the end of the fiscal year, down from $274 million at the beginning.

The press release says that the Yukon government is taking a “three-pronged approach” to establish a “more strategic and sustainable method of fiscal planning,” which include a “comprehensive review of programs and services delivered by the Department of Health and Social Services” and “a review of internal efficiencies.”

The government ran a $5.4 million deficit in 2016-2017. It has previously projected deficits for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 fiscal years before seeing a small surplus in 2020-2021.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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