1994 Legislative Session: 3rd Session, 35th Parliament

The following electronic version is for informational purposes only.
The printed version remains the official version.


BILL M 208 -- 1994



WHEREAS the government of the Province of British Columbia has proven to be incapable of controlling public expenditures during periods of budgetary deficits without reference to statute or other regulatory authority, therefore,

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of British Columbia, enacts as follows:


In this Act:

"actual deficit" in Schedule 1 means the amount stated in the public accounts of the province;

"expenditure reduction period" means the period beginning on April 1, 1994 and ending on March 31, 1996;

"estimates" means the estimates prepared under Section 20(1) of the Financial Administration Act;

"general fund" means the general fund of the Consolidated Revenue Fund;

"expenditures" means expenditures of the general fund;

"revenues" means revenues of the general fund;

"deficit" means the difference in an annual budget presented to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia that is the amount of total annual expendi tures of government over the annual revenues received by government;

"program spending" means the definition provided in Section 2 of this Act;

"total spending" means program spending plus expenditures referred to under Section 2 of this Act;

"Minister" means the Minister of Finance and Corporate Relations.

Enactment Expenditure Reduction Requirement

1 During the expenditure reduction period, there shall be a minimum annual reduction in provincial expenditures on program spending for the purpose of reducing and eliminating the deficit between expenditures and revenues according to the attached Schedule 1 -- "Schedule for Annual Expenditure Reductions, Government of British Columbia".

Expenditure Reduction Formula

2 (a) "Program spending" of the government during the expenditure reduction period means all expenditures in the fiscal year, other than:

(i) expenditures made as a direct result of an emergency that has been caused by a threat to public safety and health, or by drought, earthquake, fire, flood, storm, act of intimidation or coercion, or a threat to the security of the citizens of the province that would be considered the responsibility of provincial jurisdiction, or, that is so severe, or of such severity in its effect on life, property, or the physical environment of British Columbia, as to constitute a serious concern and is so declared by order of the Lieutenant- Governor-in-Council to be an emergency for the purposes of this Act.

(b) where it is recognized prior to introduction of annual spending estimates for the fiscal years covered under Schedule 1 that a shortfall in revenues is anticipated, bringing into question the possibility of meeting the expenditure reduction requirements, the Minister shall cause expenditures to be reduced as a priority in order to return balance to the budget presented for the following year's estimates.

Public Announcement of Annual Exceptions Under this Act

3 (a) For each year of the period covered by this Act the Ministry of Finance shall make public on November 1 the list of projected allowances for the coming fiscal year provided for under Section 2 of this Act so that ministry personnel and others might understand the implications of those projections to meeting the requirements of Section 1 of this Act.

(b) Where expenditures are made under Section 2(a) of this Act, there shall be an annual requirement for the minister responsible for those expenditures to report to the Legislative Assembly on the cause and nature of such expenditures.

Legislative Authority Over Deficit Reduction

4 The Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council shall have the remaining authority with respect to determining how Section 1 shall be applied throughout the various ministries of the provincial government for the purposes of recommending annual budgets to the legislature. However, this Act empowers and mandates the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to provide advice to government on the specific implementation of Section 1 of this Act without in any way causing a lack of confidence to be implied with respect to the operation of government or the Minister as a result of advice from the legislature facilitated by this section.

Authority to Adjust Schedule of Reduction of Expenditures

5 (a) Where the Minister notices prior to the end of a fiscal year within the expenditure reduction period that expenditures for the year in progress shall surpass projected expenditures provided for in the annual budget estimates, the Minister shall, in the budget for the following fiscal year, allocate the excess expenditures to that year and maintain the Schedule for Annual Expenditure Reductions under this Act.

(b) Where the authority provided in Section 5(a) is required, the allocation of excess in budgeted expenditures for one year shall be compensated for in the following year's budget with additional expenditure reductions beyond those provided for in Schedule 1 of this Act.

This Act prevails over all others

6 In the event of a conflict between this Act and any enactment establishing new program expenditures or authorizing existing program or ministry expenditures, this Act prevails.


7 This Act comes into force on April 1, 1994 for the purposes of the 1994/95 fiscal year and thereafter for the two-year period following until March 31, 1996.


Schedule for Annual Expenditure Reductions
Government of British Columbia

Schedule 1 For the fiscal year ending March 31, 1995 The annual budget for program spending throughout the government of British Columbia shall be reduced so that the budget deficit for the year shall be at least fifty percent less than the actual deficit identified for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1994;

For the fiscal year ending March 31, 1996 The annual budget for program spending throughout the government of British Columbia, including any expenditures made under Section 2 of this Act for fiscal years 1994-1995 and 1995-1996, shall be reduced so that total spending will not exceed revenues.

Explanatory Notes

This Act provides for a two-year period of reductions in program expenditures of the Government of British Columbia. The percentage reductions outlined in Schedule 1 -- "Schedule for Annual Expenditure Reductions, Government of British Columbia", provide for the achievement of a balanced budget no later than the fiscal year ending March 31, 1996.

SECTION 1: this Section requires the minimum annual reduction in expenditures in accordance with Schedule 1 in each of the fiscal years commencing April 1, 1994 and ending March 31, 1996.

SECTION 2: for the purpose of the Expenditure Reduction Period, certain government spending is excluded to provide for certain types of emergency expenditures.

This section also requires the government to reduce spending as a priority in meeting the goals of the Expenditure Reduction Period.

SECTION 3: this section requires the minister responsible for any emergency expenditures to report to the Legislative Assembly.

SECTION 4: This section mandates the Legislative Assembly to provide advice to the Government on expenditure reductions.

SECTION 5: In the event that expenditures in any fiscal year during the Expenditure Reduction Period exceed the amount provided for, so that the percentage reduction required under Schedule 1 is not met, the Minister of Finance shall include the amount of the excess spending in the program of expenditures for the next fiscal year and maintain the terms of Schedule 1 under this Act.

[ Return to: Legislative Assembly Home Page ]

Copyright © 2002: Queen's Printer, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada