Criminals and big-time tax evaders rely on secrecy to flow revenue where they want it to go without detection or scrutiny.
Some business owners are hiding their assets by calling themselves the beneficial owner and putting up another person or business up as the legal business owner – allowing them to avoid accountability and access to all of the profits.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada invited Canadians to provide feedback on the Consultation Paper: Strengthening Corporate Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada. We made clear that greater transparency is required.
We surveyed our members who are auditors at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in 2018:
- 61% believed Canada is too secretive about beneficial ownership information
- 75% stated that federal and provincial governments should require corporations to publicly identify beneficial ownership relationships
Where secrecy is the problem, transparency is the solution.
The federal government should create a publicly accessible registry of company beneficial ownership information. A one-stop, searchable, easy-to-use tool that enhances, standardizes and aggregates information from all federal, territorial and provincial jurisdictions.