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Section PS 3200 - Liabilities

Effective date:

September 1, 2004

Published by the PSAB:

September 2004


This Section:

  1. provides guidance for applying the definition of liabilities set out in Section PS 1000 Financial statement concepts, and establishes general recognition and disclosure standards for liabilities; but
  2. does not include standards for recognition and disclosure of specific types of liabilities, which are dealt with in individual Public Sector Accounting Handbook Sections.

Liabilities are present obligations of a government to others arising from past transactions or events, the settlement of which is expected to result in the future sacrifice of economic benefits.
Liabilities have three essential characteristics:

  1. they embody a duty or responsibility to others, leaving a government little or no discretion to avoid settlement of the obligation;
  2. the duty or responsibility to others entails settlement by future transfer or use of assets, provision of goods or services, or other form of economic settlement at a specified or determinable date, on occurrence of a specified event, or on demand; and
  3. the transactions or events obligating the government have already occurred.

Liabilities are recognized in the financial statements when:

  1. there is an appropriate basis of measurement; and
  2. a reasonable estimate can be made of the amount involved.

History of Section PS 3200




September 2004

New Section

This new Section establishes recognition and disclosure standards relating to liabilities reported in government summary financial statements.

Effective for fiscal years beginning on or after September 1, 2004.

Note: The above summary does not include details of consequential amendments made as the result of other projects.

Public Sector Accounting Discussion Group meetings

  • November 17, 2017 - Sections PS 3200, PS 3300 and PS 3390: Social Impact Bonds – Government Funder Perspective
  • March 3, 2016 - Sections PS 1000, PS 3100, PS 3200 and PS 3210: Endowments – Selected Issues
  • October 27, 2015 - Sections PS 3200, PS 3250 and PS 3255: Vacation Paid in the Year of Retirement
  • May 7, 2015 - Sections PS 3200 and PS 3260:  Remediation Obligations

Correction list for hyphenation

These words serve as exceptions. Once entered, they are only hyphenated at the specified hyphenation points. Each word should be on a separate line.