Us Canadians need to live up to the stereotype that we are a nice, peaceful, and safe country. Clearly the so-called trucker protest tarnished our reputation, but in financial circles our reputation is tarnished thanks to our neglect of corporate accountability. Internationally Canada is seen as a great place to launder illegal obtained funds akin to third world tax havens. Laundering money in Canada is known as snow-washing.
Thanks to excellent research to Transparency International Canada (and more organizations) we finally know the extent of snow-washing. In order to address the problem we must first understand it. So let’s hope Canadian politicians step up to fight this corporate corruption in our government.
Although Canada has vowed to establish a publicly accessible corporate beneficial ownership registry, a database that will store details about who ultimately owns and controls millions of private companies, it won’t be operational until at least 2025.
“Open data allows journalists, civil society and other stakeholders to investigate wrongdoing,” the report says. “This is particularly important for Canada, where law enforcement and regulatory authorities have limited capacity to investigate domestic crime, let alone criminal activity beyond our borders.”
As an example, one of the report’s case studies about a Russian transnational laundromat builds on previous reporting by investigative journalists, including The Globe’s Mark MacKinnon.
For far too long, Canada has been saddled with a reputation as an international haven for financial crime. As the report rightly argues, transparency is the only antidote.
Thanks to Delaney!