One of the pleasant surprises in the April federal budget was the announcement to earmark $2.1-million to build and implement a national corporate beneficial ownership registry. In December 2017, federal and provincial/territorial finance ministers had agreed in principle to pursue amendments to their respective legislative corporate law statutes to require corporations to hold accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information, but there has been little momentum to move forward with a publicly accessible pan-Canadian registry as an effective mechanism to identify illicit activities such as money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes. Canada has faced significant negative publicity in recent years as an easy place for money-laundering due to a perceived lack of enforcement.
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