National Action Plan on Open Government Commitment
Work with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information (FIN/ISED) - Work with provincial and territorial governments and key stakeholders representing various perspectives on possible options to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information, including retention and disclosure obligations relating to such information and the exploration of a public registry option (FIN/ISED)
Department of Finance Canada
- As per the December 2017 agreement with provinces and territories, initial priority was placed on certain legislative amendments as the first phase of work to improve corporate transparency. The second phase of the work (DELETE: will) involve(ADD:s) further assessment of potential mechanisms to enhance timely access by competent authorities to beneficial ownership information, e.g. evaluation of potential options for a registry. - On June 13, 2019, the federal government convened a joint meeting of federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Finance and other Ministers responsible for anti-money laundering and beneficial ownership transparency. Participating jurisdictions agreed to cooperate on initiating consultations on making beneficial ownership information more transparent through initiatives such as aligning access through public registries, while respecting jurisdictional responsibilities with respect to corporations. - In February 2020, the Government of Canada initiated public consultations on the proposed creation of a publicly accessible central registry (or registries) of beneficial ownership information. These consultations closed on April 30, and we are currently reviewing the feedback received from stakeholders to inform our next steps for strengthening corporate transparency, in consultation with provincial and territorial governments. - The Government of British Columbia initiated similar consultations on a beneficial ownership registry for corporations in January 2020, which closed on April 30, 2020. Furthermore, in March 2020, the Government of Quebec announced its intention to require businesses to declare information on beneficial owners to the Registraire des entreprises du Québec (REQ), and make it possible to do searches in the enterprise register using the name of a natural person.
Evidence of progress:
- Joint Statement by Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers on Anti-Money Laundering: https://www.fin.gc.ca/n19/19-065-eng.asp
- Globally, most countries have been challenged to implement effective systems for beneficial ownership transparency. Experience with (public) central registries is early and there is limited evidence on best practices. Work is ongoing in this area, e.g. at the Financial Action Task Force and OECD, which we will continue to monitor. - Continued cooperation and alignment between federal, provincial and territorial governments on this issue is important, given shared jurisdiction and responsibilities for corporate registries.