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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New plane for Air Search and Rescue Association

The new Cessna 182 will also be used for Angel Flight services

Fernie Chamber of Commerce signs lease for downtown coworking space

By: Brad Parsell, Executive Director Fernie Chamber of Commerce The Fernie Chamber… Continue reading

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Elkford curlers dominate East Kootenay Playdowns

The East Kootenay High School Curling Playdowns took place in Fernie last weekend

Almost 20,000 parking tickets issued by Interior Health at hospitals in 2019

In 2018, pay parking in Interior Health hospitals totalled $5.3 million of their $2.2-billion budget

WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Porn’ answer was a wrong one for Surrey family on ‘Feud’ game show

Surrey’s Rams competed on the TV show Wednesday night

Abandoned boats left to freeze on Okanagan Lake cause chaos

Over the last week weather conditions have caused three separate incidents

B.C. teacher witnesses coronavirus terror in Shanghai: ‘Everyone is on edge’

Face masks and hand sanitizer ‘sell out’ as 9 SARS-like illness cases confirmed in the city

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Living near major roads linked to higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s: UBC study

Green space could mitigate some of the risks, researchers found

B.C. privacy commissioner suggests media civility for Prince Harry and Meghan

Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly sent a letter to British press threatening legal action

Victoria’s plastic-bag ban ended by Supreme Court of Canada

City’s leave to appeal lower court’s decision denied

Most Read