PSAB capital asset standard

A PSAB capital asset standard is central to public accounts reform, and in particular important to improving Municipal Governance. It would distinguish a range of capital asset types and how these are to be accounted for under law.

At present, there is no way for any municipality to distinguish between capital assets and operating expenses. This makes total cost of operations quite difficult to calculate for any given asset base and makes throughput accounting impossible. It also makes it impossible to assess the municipal role in emergency response and associated expenses, which is a form of downloading: municipalities are assuming responsibility for federal mandates.

The PSAB - part of CICA - is responsible to implement such standards based on GAAP and other principles recommended to it by the Government of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. It is a long pipeline, taking at least two years to yield a new standard.

See Civic Efficiency Group for a lobby group concerned with this, and see Minister of State - Communities and Infrastructure for an overview of the federal entity responsible. See Beyond GAAP for an overview of an approach to deal with this and many other issues in Federal-Municipal Relations.