Inherent in any budget process is risk, as there are a number of uncertainties that could generate budget variances, either positive or negative. To that end, the Leadership Team makes efforts to arrive at reasonable assumptions to form the basis for the WECHU’s budget. The impact of those uncertainties will be analyzed throughout fiscal 2020 and mitigation strategies implemented as required.
The following is a list of potential risks arising from the 2020 Budget:
- Funding approval from the Ministry of Health less than the amount budgeted. This will require the Leadership Team to review financial results to determine whether operational efficiencies can be achieved to fund any shortfall or seek additional contributions from the Obligated Municipalities.
- Changes to the Ontario Public Health Standards with no resulting increase in funding from the Ministry of Health.
- Costs associated with capital projects. Legal and project management costs associated with capital projects have not been contemplated in the 2020 budget. As at the writing of this report, the WECHU has not received any further communications for the Ministry of Health regarding the extension of the planning grant that expired in March of 2019.
- Labour negotiations and other labour related matters. The collective bargaining agreement with employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Sector Employees expires December 31, 2019. The outcome associated with negotiations represent a financial risk to the WECHU. In addition, labour related matters associated with pay equity are ongoing and may represent a financial risk to the WECHU.
- Other operating costs. In arriving at budgeted operating costs, the Leadership Team attempted to factor in the impact of external pressures, such as inflation and market pressures, on expenditures. In 2020, the WECHU will look to mitigate these pressures first through ensuring that appropriate procurement procedures are followed. Secondly, the WECHU will actively monitor budget to actual results on a departmental basis and on an account-by-account basis and implement mitigation strategies (i.e. looking for operational efficiencies), if required.