When it comes to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing measures, Canada is behind the eight ball, according to the report, Hidden Beneficial Ownership and Control: Canada as a Pawn in the Global Game of Money Laundering, released this past September by the C.D. Howe Institute, a not-for-profit research institute that fosters economically sound public policies.
Report author Denis Meunier says that Canada needs a publicly accessible central registry for beneficial corporate ownership, a major structural flaw in the country’s corporate registration system. “More scrutiny is given to individuals registering for library cards than to those setting up companies in Canada,” says Meunier, whose report reveals how the lack of beneficial ownership transparency facilitates the use of corporations and trusts for illicit purposes.
Official estimates of money laundering in Canada range from $5 billion to $100 billion. Offences such as drug trafficking, fraud, tax evasion, smuggling and corruption are fuelling the laundering of dirty money, the report shows. Evaded taxes become a burden for compliant taxpayers and corporations that shoulder a disproportionate amount of government expenditures. ◊