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Housing market more opaque than transparent

A joint report, released this past March by the groups Transparency International Canada, Canadians For Tax Fairness and Publish What You Pay Canada, indicates that billions of mystery dollars are flowing through Toronto’s real estate market.

The report, OPACITY: Why Criminals love Canadian Real Estate and how to Fix it, analyzes more than 1.2 million property transactions in the GTA and examines how criminals penetrate Canada’s real estate sector to wash their dirty money, called “snow washing,” Canadians For Tax Fairness reports. Opacity reveals that “between 2008-2018, billions of dollars in Greater Toronto Area housing has been acquired by anonymous owners using funds of unknown origin.” The organization calls for solutions to fix some of these regulatory gaps, including the establishment of an open and accessible public registry.

The report follows a similar one from 2016 that revealed almost half of Vancouver’s valuable property owners were hiding behind shell companies. ◊