Government of Canada strengthening corporate transparency for Canadian businesses
Canadians invited to provide feedback on public registry options for who owns and controls corporations
February 13, 2020 – Ottawa, Ontario
The Government of Canada is ensuring that Canada is an attractive place to do business while protecting the safety and economic interests of Canadians through measures against illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and tax avoidance. Canadians can trust that businesses in Canada are able to innovate, succeed and contribute in positive ways to the economy when there are strong corporate governance rules in place.
Today, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, and the Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, launched a consultation to examine how to strengthen corporate transparency. The Government is seeking feedback from Canadians and subject matter experts on the consultation paper entitled Strengthening Corporate Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada, which examines options for the creation of a public registry of individuals who own and control corporations.
The feedback will help advance a national approach to beneficial ownership so that law enforcement, tax and other authorities have the tools to crack down on illicit activities while respecting Canadians’ privacy rights. The Government is also working with the provinces and territories to further strengthen transparency and improve the availability of information across the country about who owns and controls corporations.
“Canadians want to trust that companies operating in Canada are governed by strong rules that safeguard against illicit activities such as money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion and tax avoidance. This consultation is an important step towards improving corporate transparency in Canada, and it underscores our commitment to building a more inclusive and competitive economy that improves the lives of all Canadians.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“Our government is committed to using every tool at our disposal to detect, stop and prosecute money laundering, but we can’t do it alone. We must all work together and take the necessary steps to better protect Canadians. Knowing clearly who owns which company will help stop those who use corporations to launder money, evade taxes and finance terrorism, while not deterring good corporate citizens from conducting their regular business activities.”
– The Honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance
As of June 2019, the Canada Business Corporations Act requires federally incorporated, privately held corporations to maintain a register of individuals who have significant control of their company, update it regularly, and provide information to certain government authorities on request.
In June 2019, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction met with a number of provincial and territorial counterparts and agreed on a need to improve beneficial ownership transparency.
Federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers discussed launching consultations on creating a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry at their meeting in December 2019.
As a G7 and G20 country and a member of the Financial Action Task Force, Canada has committed to implementing international standards on beneficial ownership and corporate control transparency.
These standards require that appropriate authorities have timely access to accurate information about who owns and controls corporations to combat international tax evasion and avoidance, money laundering, terrorist financing and other related criminal activities.
The consultation is open from February 13 to March 26, 2020.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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