About PSAS


Public Sector Accounting Standards or PSAS represent the accounting framework established by the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board or PSAB. The Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) was created to serve the public interest by establishing accounting standards for the public sector. PSAB also provides guidance for financial and other performance information reported by the public sector.  The Accounting Standards Oversight Council (“AcSOC”) oversees the activities of PSAB and ensures they follow their rigorous due process.    AcSOC appoints PSAB members and provides input on strategy and priorities. AcSOC also assesses and reports to the public on the performance of PSAB.   Due process is primarily associated with PSAB's request for and consideration of comments on proposed standards. However, due process actually starts when a project is being considered for addition to PSAB's technical agenda.

The Public Sector Accounting (PSA) Discussion Group is a discussion forum only. The Group’s purpose is to support the PSAB by enabling discussion in a public venue of issues arising from the application of the CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting Handbook. Any views expressed in the public meeting do not necessarily represent the views of the organization to which a member belongs or the views of PSAB. The discussions of the Group do not constitute official pronouncements or authoritative guidance and the comments made in relation to the application of the PSA Handbook do not purport to be conclusions about acceptable or unacceptable application of the PSA Handbook. Only PSAB can make such a determination.

Different types of public sector entities

The CPA Canada Public Sector Accounting (PSA) Handbook contains accounting standards that apply to all public sector entities that issue general purpose financial statements unless specifically directed or permitted to use alternative standards by PSAB.  The Introduction to Public Sector Accounting Standards in the PSA Handbook provides a series of definitions and related guidance around the various types of entities operating in the public sector and the accounting framework to be applied to each entity.  Appendix A to this introduction provides a diagram that may be used to assist in this analysis.  Effectively public sector entities may be classified as governments and government components, government organizations and government partnerships.  The latter two classifications (government organizations and government partnerships) are then further sub-classified into different types of entities.  These classifications and definitions are important since not all of these public sector entities apply PSAS.  Government business enterprises, for example, are required to apply Part I of the CPA Canada Accounting Handbook, being IFRSs.  


As a matter of policy, PSAB assesses the merits of proposed standards from a position of neutrality. That is, the soundness of standards is not evaluated on the grounds of their possible impact on behaviour. PSAB does not choose standards according to the kinds of behaviour it wishes to promote and the kinds it wishes to discourage. At the same time, it is admitted that some standards will often have the effect of influencing behaviour, and PSAB is alert to the economic impact of the standards that it promulgates. However, the justification for standards is conceptual and not in terms of their impact.

Correction list for hyphenation

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