B.C. Attorney General David Eby and former RCMP officer Peter German release German’s first report on money laundering, June 2018. (B.C. government)

Trudeau says B.C. money laundering report is ‘extremely alarming’

B.C. ranks fourth for money laundering among a division of six regions in Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a report out of British Columbia on the extent that criminals are laundering their dirty money in Canada is alarming and shows that everyday Canadians are being hurt in the process.

The report, done by a panel commissioned by the B.C. government, estimates $5 billion was laundered through the province’s real-estate market last year out of $47 billion in Canada as a whole. It estimates that illegal cash increased the cost of buying a home in B.C. by five per cent.

READ MORE: B.C. estimates $7 billion laundered in 2018, $5 billion in real estate

“The report that came out of B.C. is extremely alarming, absolutely unacceptable,” Trudeau said Friday in Edmonton.

He said the report shows money laundering is hurting everyday people by disrupting the housing market.

“This is a real and pressing problem for Canadians and it’s a problem around the world that Canada is going to continue to lead in the fight against.”

Trudeau said the federal government has strengthened audits on real-estate transactions, and federal Organized Crime Reduction Minister Bill Blair is working with provinces to do more.

“Strengthening the audit process around real estate will be a significant measure that will counter that, but there’s obviously lots more to do,” Trudeau said.

“Minister Blair is working in partnership with B.C. and other provinces to make sure we are moving forward in real tangible ways.”

The report was one of two released Thursday in B.C.

It says B.C. ranks fourth for money laundering among a division of six regions in Canada, behind Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies — collectively Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The report says the higher estimates of money laundering in the Prairies may be “surprising,” but crime rates are rising in those provinces and illegal cash finds homes in jurisdictions where real estate is more affordable than B.C.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby called it a national crisis to which the federal government had not been paying proper attention.

The report makes 29 recommendations, including calling for B.C. to launch a financial investigations unit.

READ MORE: Hot cars hide dirty money from organized crime

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated investigators in B.C.

Several regulatory and professional agencies anticipated the findings of the reports and put anti-money-laundering policies in place last month.

The B.C. Real Estate Council said it would be partnering with the federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FINTRAC, to identify and deter money laundering and terrorist financing in the industry.

The B.C. Real Estate Association, the body that serves 23,000 realtors in B.C., said in April that it would join with four other agencies to keep proceeds of crime out of real estate.

Other participating organizations include the Appraisal Institute of Canada, BC Notaries Association, Canada Mortgage Brokers Association and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Each organization has committed to sharing information and accepting only verified funds. They also recommended making anti-money laundering education mandatory for all real estate professionals.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: CVRD already hard at work on climate change issues, Morrison tells One Cowichan

‘Not only is our rubber on the road, we’re up to speed!’ CVRD chair answers climate action critics

Mary Lowther column: Your plants need to feed, too, as they produce your food

Growing plants require extra nutrients beyond what they begin with when sown or planted.

VIDEO: Province agrees to fund investigation of new bypass road for Lake Cowichan

Province won’t build the road but is ready to start the ball rolling by paying for the first step

Business notes: New owners celebrate at Arbutus Ridge Golf Course

The award-winning Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill has a new… Continue reading

Rents in most Canadian cities are unaffordable for lower-income earners: study

Roughly one-third of households, or 4.7 million, are renters

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Film features Chez Monique, an off-the-grid restaurant on West Coast Trail in B.C.

“The story we are trying to share is of the loving haven they created and sustained for decades.”

Psychics, drones being used to search for missing Chilliwack woman with dementia

Drones, psychics, dogs and more have been employed to help find Grace Baranyk, 86

Scheer on Trump: It’s ‘offensive’ to question the family background of critics

Trump is being called a racist for saying that the four congresswomen should go back where they came from

Instagram expands Canadian pilot removing ‘like’ counts to more countries

Social media giant plans to roll out the test in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Italy and Ireland

Man involved in beating and tasering over a drug debt to be sentenced in Nanaimo

Colin Damen Gary Lamontagne pleaded guilty to charges, including aggravated assault

Pamela Anderson adds star power to B.C. Green Party town hall

Celebrity attended Nanaimo meeting with representatives from U.S.-based environmental group

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Most Read