The B.C. government has appointed nationally respected economist Dr. Tim O'Neill to review and assess the economic and revenue projections contained in the upcoming provincial budget, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced today.
A former chief economist and executive vice-president for the Bank of Montreal, O'Neill will review the work undertaken by finance ministry staff as Budget 2013 is finalized, with a specific focus on the underlying methodologies, processes and material assumptions the government has used in preparing its economic and revenue forecasts.
O'Neill will have the opportunity to review and evaluate all material supporting the Province's economic and revenue forecasts for the 2012-13 through 2015-16 fiscal years, and he will have complete access to Finance ministry staff as needed.
O'Neill will provide the Minister of Finance with a written assessment of the minister's economic and revenue forecasts. He will also be available on budget day to speak about this review. In 2005, following an 11-year stint with BMO, O'Neill founded his own consulting firm, O'Neill Strategic Economics, and has since provided expert economic and forecasting advice to the Canadian government and the governments of Ontario and Nova Scotia.
O'Neill was the first Canadian economist to be elected to the board of the Washington-based National Association for Business Economics, serving as its president from 2002 to 2003. He is also a visiting professor at Duke University in North Carolina. He now lives and works in P.E.I.
Finance Minister Michael de Jong -
"Given the ongoing economic uncertainty both in Canada and around the world over the past few years, I believe an external review of our economic and revenue forecasts makes sense at this time. It will also provide British Columbians with added assurance that Budget 2013 is based on sound revenue and economic forecasts."
"Dr. O'Neill's analytical skills and outstanding reputation will help uphold our longstanding commitment to fiscal transparency."
Economic consultant Dr. Tim O'Neill -
"I appreciate this opportunity to review the forecasts in the 2013 fiscal plan. I will be diligent in my review, honest in my opinions and forthright in my assessments."
After its Feb. 19, 2013, release, Budget 2013 and various supporting material will be posted on the government website at: www.bcbudget.ca
Last year, B.C. became the first province in Canada to provide full public access to provincial budget data sets:
Want to tell the government how you would balance the B.C. budget in 2013-14? Check out the Ministry of Finance budget simulator at: http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/mybcbudget/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Finance
250 356 2821
Terms of Reference - Consultant review of Budget 2013
Time frame - Feb. 5-19, 2013
- Individual and combined elements of the Province's economic forecast, methodologies, processes and assumptions to be used in preparation of the Province's Budget and Fiscal Plan for 2013-14 - 2015-16 (Budget 2013).
- Individual and combined elements of the Province's revenue forecasts, methodologies. processes and assumptions to be used in preparation of Budget 2013.
- Deliver a report to the Minister of Finance, which provides a review and assessment of the Province's economic and revenue forecasts that will be used to prepare Budget 2013, including revised forecasts for 2012-13, as shown in the Third Quarterly Report portion of Budget 2013.
- The report will include a review and evaluation of the Province's economic and revenue forecasts as to reasonableness, comprehensiveness and probability in relation to most-likely outcomes based on available information and assumptions.
- Make a public presentation on the findings of the report, concurrent with the Province's public release of Budget 2013.
Resources available to consultant
- All material supporting the Province's economic and revenue forecasts for 2012-13 - 2015-16.
- Access to Finance and/or other staff responsible for the preparation of the forecasts.
- Staff support for modelling and other simulations as required.
- Other support (to be further specified).
- Minister of Finance
Ministry of Finance
250 356 2821