Canadian government confirms plans for publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry

The federal government in Canada has confirmed plans for a publicly accessible register of corporate beneficial owners in a bid to tackle money laundering, fraud and tax evasion.

This week’s Federal Budget set aside CA$2.1 million to support the creation of a new registry by 2025.

The Budget document said: “To catch those who attempt to launder money, evade taxes, or commit other complex financial crimes, law enforcement, tax, and other authorities need access to accurate and up-to-date data on the individuals who own and control corporations.

“Advancing a beneficial ownership registry will help Canada counter a broad array of crimes, for which the gender, ethnicity, age, and socio-economic status of the victims vary greatly. All Canadians are expected to benefit.”

The move would bring Canada more into line with several European countries, including the UK, which have public registers.

The United States passed legislation at the end of 2020 to establish its own beneficial ownership registry and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) earlier this month published a notice seeking comment on how it should look. Unlike the Canadian plans however, the US registry is not publicly accessible.


By Carl Brown, April 23, 2021, published on GRC World Forum

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