We’d be remiss writing on Price Tags without talking about the elephant in the room~and that is the alleged money laundering in local real estate deals. Last summer we published an editorial on this stating that “in 2016, Transparency International Canada found that 45 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s most valuable properties were held by numbered companies. This infographic illustrates where some of these properties are, and some of the background behind their purchase.”
And there’s a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute saying that “official estimates of the amount of money laundered in Canada each year range from $5 billion to $100 billion. Criminals involved in drug trafficking, smuggling, tax evasion and corruption have parked their dirty money in Canadian real estate and businesses, the report says, because they do not have to be identified as owners of shell companies and legal trusts.”
Canada does not have updated property ownership transparency, and sometimes all you need in Canada is a library card to register yourself as a corporation. In B.C. the Provincial government said it would create an accessible registry so that everyone would know the identity of property owners.
There was to be an inquiry too, but David Eby the Attorney General of the Province seems to have backed off this.
Richmond resident and champion of the Agricultural Land Reserve Jack Trovato has created a petition and is seeking signatures on Change.Org “calling on the BC government to support a public inquiry and create a commission to investigate and prosecute those involved in drug trafficking, money laundering, and corruption in British Columbia’s real estate economy.”
You can read that petition here that asks for a public inquiry in the real estate market and the creation of a task force to stop money laundering. The petition also requests that assets of persons involved in money laundering be seized, and those assets committed to helping those impacted by the opioid crisis and to build “affordable housing.”