Canadian governments’ budgets are too unclear, according to a report conducted by the CD Howe Institute. “This annual report card hopes to encourage further progress and discourage backsliding,” said report co-authors William BP Robson and Nicholas Dahir in a press release.“Canadians can get more transparent financial reporting from their governments — if they demand it.”The CD Howe Institute said the jurisdiction with the highest grade was Alberta (A+). The Alberta government said in February it was rolling in dough, forecasting a $2.4 billion surplus in Budget 2023. READ MORE: Budget 2023: Alberta forecasts a surplus of $2.4 billion“Fiscal responsibility matters,” said former Alberta finance minister and treasury board president Travis Toews. “It’s been key to achieving our strong fiscal standing and will be essential for sustainable program delivery in the future.” While Alberta had the best score, the CD Howe Institute said Saskatchewan came a close second (A-). Provinces in the B-range included Yukon (B+), Prince Edward Island (B), New Brunswick (B), Nova Scotia (B-), Quebec (B-), Ontario (B-) and British Columbia (B-). Nunavut earned a C+, Manitoba a C, and the Northwest Territories a C. Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador had the worst grades with a C-. Robson and Dahir said the good news is the financial transparency of Canada’s senior governments has improved over time. In recent years, they noted more and more governments adhere to public sector accounting standards and that it has become easier to compare plans from budgets with financial statement results. They provided a preview of senior governments’ scores using budgets and estimates for the 2023/2024 fiscal year and noted most produced timelier budgets than in the 2022/2023 budget cycle. The bad news is too many governments hide key numbers, with the authors singling out federal budgets for burying them under hundreds of pages of irrelevant material. Robson concluded by saying the fiscal impact of COVID-19 “has made transparency in government budgets and financial statements more important than ever.” He said this report card is not about whether governments spend and tax too much or too little, whether they run surpluses or deficits, or whether their programs succeed or fail. “It is about whether Canadians can get information they need to form opinions on these issues and correct any problems they discover,” he said. Robson and Dahir graded Canada’s governments for the clarity, reliability, and timeliness of their budgets, estimates and public accounts. This year’s version of the report card covered year-end financial statements for fiscal year 2021/2022 and budgets and estimates for 2022/2023.