Joint Statement – Federal, provincial and territorial governments working together to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in Canada
June 14, 2019 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Department of Finance Canada
Today, several of Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial Ministers of Finance and ministers responsible for anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership transparency came together to advance a national response to combat money laundering and terrorist financing in Canada. Together, they made the following statement:
"Money laundering and terrorist financing are serious crimes that cross domestic and international boundaries. All jurisdictions are committed to protecting the safety and security of Canadians and the integrity of our institutions from these threats that feed other criminal activity, such as the opioid crisis, and make life less affordable in our communities.
"Today we discussed new and continuing approaches to stop financial crime in Canada, focussing on key areas of shared federal, provincial and territorial responsibilities. We recognized the importance of coordinated action to prevent criminals from exploiting gaps and vulnerabilities across jurisdictions.
"We reaffirmed our commitment to protect the integrity of Canada's economy by improving beneficial ownership transparency in a way that balances transparency and privacy safeguards while ensuring effective access for law enforcement, tax and other authorities. To move forward we agreed to cooperate on initiating consultations on making beneficial ownership information more transparent through initiatives such as aligning access through public registries, while respecting jurisdictional responsibilities with respect to corporations. Our goal is to target criminals that use corporations to hide or launder money, without deterring the majority of good corporate citizens from conducting their regular business activities.
"Governments are fully committed to ensuring that our businesses remain competitive and that we do not place undue burden on the vast majority of legitimate and hardworking entrepreneurs. Consultations will allow consideration of privacy and commercial concerns. However, if legislative gaps in beneficial ownership transparency are not closed, they will continue to be exploited by organized crime groups and white-collar criminals.
"We discussed the challenges faced by law enforcement to effectively investigate and prosecute complex financial crimes perpetrated by sophisticated actors who use increasingly intricate methods to conceal their crime and profits. We agreed that governments should intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute financial criminals, and recover proceeds of crime using criminal and civil processes.
"We noted the importance of ensuring that sectors vulnerable to money laundering, including real estate, casinos, money services businesses and the legal profession, are aware of and effectively manage these risks. We agreed to have our officials work together on cross-government anti-money laundering best practices, and report back to Ministers by January 2020.
"Further, we welcome the creation of a new working group with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to address the inherent risks of money laundering and other illicit activity that may arise in the practice of law. The working group will hold its first meeting later this month.
"We are resolved to work collaboratively and to each do our part, using the appropriate tools at our disposal to detect, stop and prosecute financial criminals in our jurisdictions. This will ensure Canada collectively remains effective in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing."
Note: Representatives from the governments of Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador were unable to participate in the special joint ministerial meeting, and have the option of joining the federal, provincial and territorial governments that are part of this initiative at a time of their choosing.