CANADA: ‘Beneficial ownership’ bill aimed at stopping money laundering, publicly disclose owners.

As published on westernstandard.news, Monday 27 March, 2023.

A new bill introduced by Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne would require federally-incorporated companies to publish their owners names yearly.

The “beneficial ownership” bill applies only to a few companies as most are incorporated in their home provinces.

“Greater corporate transparency and accountability are needed,” Champagne said in a statement.

“This is why we are committed to implementing a beneficial ownership registry.”

Bill C-42 An Act to Amend the Canada Business Corporations Act requires that companies incorporated under the Act annually submit the names and home addresses of individuals holding “significant control.”

The information would be published on an industry department website beginning in 2025.

An omnibus budget bill C-19 passed in June 2022 allowed the department to compile data for public disclosure, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Senate Banking committee, at hearings last May 11, complained the scope of the bill was too narrow.

“How do we deal with money laundering across this country?” asked Senator Hassan Yussuff, who noted most companies, like real estate developers, are incorporated provincially, not under federal law.

Toronto-based advocacy group Transparency International Canada (TIC) said public registries have effectively reduced money laundering in other jurisdictions.

“These registries have become more urgent as transnational criminal networks and foreign state actors seek to exploit liberal democracies and hide dirty money,” said TIC in a statement.

“Currently, 108 countries have made commitments to publicly accessible registries.”

TIC in a 2019 report Opacity: Why Criminals Love Canadian Real Estate called Canada the “la la land for financial crime.”

In Toronto, some $25 billion worth of transactions from 2008 to 2018 was deemed suspicious.

“Vancouver is not the only Canadian target for criminals who want to hide dirty money in real estate,” said the TIC report.

In 2021 at the Senate National Finance committee, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the public disclosure of corporate owners was for Canadians “a big deal.”

“This is a big deal and a big new step,” said Freeland.

“I think this is really important to Canada,” said Freeland.

“I see the world moving in this direction.”

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