Business Corporations Act Beneficial Owner Consultation
The Government of British Columbia is increasing its capacity to combat money laundering and other financial crimes that are affecting our sustainable economy.
The public is being asked to provide feedback on the implementation of a registry of beneficial owners of private B.C. companies. A central registry would be the next step in working with our federal partners, as well as tax and law enforcement authorities, to improve access to this information for regulators and investigators, and to address tax evasion and money laundering in B.C.
By creating a registry of beneficial owners of private companies, government’s goal is to help end hidden ownership and return fairness and transparency to B.C. This would also further British Columbia’s reputation as a leader in combating money laundering and help reduce the impact of proceeds of crime on our businesses, economy and communities.
Beneficial owners are people who ultimately own or control a company directly or indirectly. The specific tests for who qualifies as a beneficial owner are found in the Business Corporations Amendment Act, 2019 (Bill 24) where they are referred to as “significant individuals”.
On May 16, 2019, the provincial government eliminated bearer shares in British Columbia, and as of May 1, 2020, all private B.C. companies are required to keep and maintain transparency registers of beneficial owners. These transparency registers are unavailable to the public and are only accessible at a company’s records office by tax officials, law enforcement, certain regulators and current directors of the company when access is requested.
To continue making beneficial ownership more transparent, the Ministry of Finance is seeking input on a potential government-maintained, publicly accessible registry of company beneficial ownership.
The consultation closes April 30, 2020. If you have questions about the consultation, please email BCABO@gov.bc.ca.
If you wish to send comments in paper format, please direct them to:
Attn: Policy and Legislation Division
BCA Beneficial Ownership
Ministry of Finance
PO BOX 9418 Stn Prov Govt
Public Nature of Consultation Process
The Ministry of Finance will share comments it receives with other branches of government, specifically the Corporate Registrar, who is responsible for the administration of the corporate registry and the Land Title and Survey Authority, who is responsible for the administration of the land owner transparency register.
Freedom of information legislation may require that responses be made available to members of the public who request access.