Province cautioned on uncertainty impacting 2024-25 revenue estimates

From a press release

HALIFAX: For the fourth year in a row, Nova Scotia’s Auditor General is cautioning the province about the significant uncertainty impacting its Revenue Estimates.

Auditor General Kim Adair has issued a “caution” on the 2024-25 revenue estimates – the projected revenue the province anticipates for the coming year – which were released in the Provincial Budget.

The Auditor General’s report starts on page 16.

The AG first arrived at that opinion when COVID-19 impacted the 2021-22 budget. Since then, the province experienced two years of significant budget-to-actual increases to the province’s major tax revenues: $1.7 billion in 2022-23 and $660 million in 2021-22.


For the current year, the province is forecasting another notable jump of $936 million over the initial budget amount. These budget-to-actual increases have not been unique to the Province of Nova Scotia; they have also been observed in other jurisdictions.

The Auditor General annually conducts a review and reports whether the Revenue Estimates used by the province to prepare its annual budget are reasonable and presented fairly.

For many years, that report was standard but since 2021-22, the Auditor General has cautioned of the “significant uncertainty” impacting the Revenue Estimates, although her opinion remains unmodified.

“There have been significant revenue increases compared to budget for three years in a row now, totaling more than $3 billion,” she said.


Since 2021, the N.S. has used that increased revenue to advance additional spending.

Although Nova Scotia is following the Finance Act, the process for over-budget spending is not in line with other provinces across Canada, where legislatures are required to review, vote on, and approve the extra amounts.

To address this, the Auditor General has recommended a change to the Finance Act in her Annual Financial Report, but the Department and Minister of Finance and Treasury Board have so far refused to implement the recommendation.

Next week, the Auditor General will release a new audit on the Value for Money of the Province’s Over-Budget Spending.

The audit will examine whether spending outside of the budget process in the past two years considered value for money and safeguarded public funds.