A key aspect of the 2018 British Columbia provincial budget was the “Homes for BC: A 30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability in British Columbia”, a comprehensive plan attempting to address many aspects of the housing crisis. On June 20, 2018 and as part of that plan, the Ministry of Finance of British Columbia (the “Province”) released a white paper on the draft legislation titled the “Land Owner Transparency Act” (the “Act”) which provides for the collection, registration and dissemination of the beneficial ownership underlying real estate in British Columbia in an attempt to address and prevent tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. Each relevant corporation, partnership or trust that holds or acquires an interest in land in British Columbia is required to create and file a disclosure report that accurately reflects its beneficial ownership, subject to certain exceptions. The Province intends to include this information in a new publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry that will reflect the individuals behind these various business entities with a view to give governmental regulators and law enforcement agencies the information they need to conduct their respective investigations.
Farris’ real estate group, led by partner Mitchell H. Gropper, Q.C., met and discussed the merits of the Act and on September 17, 2018, in a response to a request for comments by the Province, provided a comment letter to the Province. For a copy of the comment letter, click here.