Skyrocketing rates have irritated potential homebuyers in the country’s hottest housing markets. They aren’t always bidding against other homebuyers, however. They’re sometimes bidding against offenders who want to hide money in real estate.
In the country’s hottest housing markets, skyrocketing prices have frustrated potential home buyers. They don’t often compete with other homebuyers, however. They will have to compete with criminals who want to hide money in real estate.
Because of Canada’s weak financial reporting rules, which enable people to conceal their identity behind numbered or shell firms, determining the true buyers behind the majority of those transactions is difficult.
B.C. hopes to change that with the launch of a new database on Friday that will provide information on the actual, or “beneficial,” owners of properties in the province, in order to prevent money laundering.
Money laundering and other financial crimes are also being targeted by Ottawa as well. With the introduction of a new database on Friday, B.C. hopes to change that. The database will include details on the real, or “beneficial,” owners of assets in the province, in order to deter money laundering.
Ottawa is still on the lookout for money laundering and other financial crimes. However, some transparency experts believe that without the approval of the provinces and territories, which each have their own laws for forming and controlling businesses, the reform would be ineffective. They were mostly taken aback by the federal government’s announcement, and most haven’t committed to participating.
Provinces can prove to be a stumbling block. All ten provinces and three territories, according to Sasha Caldera of Publish What You Pay Canada, a group that advocates for greater accountability among resource companies, will have to adhere to the same standards as the federal government.
Caldera told the media that if you’re a thief, you’ll simply choose a jurisdiction with the least amount of oversight and park your money there. “You still end up with the same problem.”
Transparency International Canada’s executive director, James Cohen, believes that harmonized legislation across all jurisdictions is “highly significant.”
In an interview, he said, “We don’t want people gaming between provinces.”
In 2016, the federal, regional, and territorial governments will debate whether and how to monitor beneficial ownership. Their most recent meeting was in April 2020, and the federal government released a report earlier this month summarising public consultations.
The federal government expressed reservations in the study about making the beneficial ownership list available rather than only open to law enforcement and tax authorities.
The Liberals then agreed to a public registry in last week’s budget without further explanation, perplexing accountability advocates who had previously criticized the recent study.
According to Cohen, it was likely the first time most provincial governments heard that the federal register would be open to the public.