Prime Minister Stephen Harper today released Canada’s G-8 Action Plan on Transparency of Corporations and Trusts, following the conclusion of the G-8 Lough Erne Summit in Northern Ireland.
“As President of the G-8 in 2013, the United Kingdom has called upon member countries to come together to improve corporate transparency by combatting money laundering, terrorist financing, and other crimes such as corruption and tax evasion in our respective countries,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Canada fully recognizes the global scale of this complex issue, including the misuse of corporate entities for illicit purposes. This Action Plan describes the measures we have undertaken to uphold a high standard of transparency, and identifies how we intend to improve our regime even further.”
Canada’s plan commits to the following three key areas that build on work already undertaken:
- Improving Canada’s robust money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment approach, for which an interdepartmental working group has already been established with the goal of developing a comprehensive risk assessment framework and undertaking a formal assessment of these risks domestically;
- Implementing amendments to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations that will improve customer due diligence measures, including those related to corporate and trust beneficial ownership information, set to come into force in early 2014, and;
- Consulting publicly on the issue of corporate transparency with a focus on bearer shares and the ability of competent authorities to access information on beneficial ownership, as committed to in Economic Action Plan 2013.
These initiatives are over and above existing provisions in Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regime. For example, banks and other financial institutions must already perform customer due diligence on their clients including identifying the beneficial owners of corporations.
Under the regime, the Canada Business Corporations Act and similar provincial acts also contain a number of transparency measures such as the disclosure of the names and addresses of corporations and their directors, as well as the recording of shareholders.
“I applaud the UK Presidency’s focus on tax, trade and transparency – priorities that find great reciprocity with our government’s commitment to Canadians,” added Prime Minister Harper. “Canada, like the UK, believes that these priorities are critical to growth, prosperity and economic development worldwide, and we are pleased to do our part.”
For additional information, please see Canada’s G-8 Action Plan on Transparency of Corporations and Trusts.