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

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

LETTER: Nelson far from bike-friendly

From reader Nancy Rosenblum

LETTER: Make pot illegal again

From reader Rod Retzlaff

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Most Read