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

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Kootenay-Columbia candidates attend Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce 2019 election forum

About 120 people attended the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce 2019 election forum on Oct. 16 at the Prince Charles Theatre.

Green and NDP candidates talk strategic voting at Nelson public meeting

Wayne Stetski and Abra Brynne traded ideas but made no concessions for this election

Annual Windermere Fire Halloween Haunted House bigger than ever

Less scares earlier; more scares later at annual haunted house

Kootenay-Columbia candidate cautious after getting threats

Trev Miller of the Animal Protection Party carries on campaigning under shadow of threats, abusive emails

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Most Read