The claim is made in a report by Transparency International Canada, part of a global non-profit which aims to expose corruption; it says that the government does not know for sure who owns 46 of the 100 most expensive properties in Vancouver.
“Individuals can use shell companies, trusts and nominees to hide their beneficial interest in Canadian real estate. This makes property attractive for money laundering, deprives the government of tax revenue, and hinders data collection, making it difficult to analyse the impacts these ownership structures have on the real estate market,” said TI Canada Executive Director, Alesia Nahirny.
Transparency International Canada is calling on the government to tighten checks on those benefitting from companies and trusts registered in the country.
“In Canada, more rigorous identity checks are done for individuals getting library cards than for those setting up companies,” said TI Canada Chair and President, Paul Lalonde, who is a partner at law firm Dentons Canada.
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Canada’s regulatory shortcomings is allowing ownership of real estate by unknown individuals, risking corruption and money laundering.