Civil Forfeiture Legislation

The Civil Forfeiture Act (CFA) has been law in B.C. since 2006.  The Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) is part of the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. It operates under the supervision of the director of civil forfeiture. 

The CFA gives the director a number of powers including:

  • The ability to apply to a judge of the B.C. Supreme Court for an order forfeiting property
  • The ability to receive police file information from law enforcement agencies

Police refer files to the CFO, which allows the director to assess the file and initiate proceedings as required. 

  • The CFA does not give police the right to seize property for the purpose of civil forfeiture; police can only seize property pursuant to other lawful federal and provincial statutes such as the Criminal Code of Canada
  • The CFO cannot initiate its own investigations. If a member of the public has knowledge of property associated with crime, they should contact their local police.

The CFA empowers the director to expend forfeited funds for the following purposes:

  1. To pay for the operational and legal costs of running the CFO
  2. To fund grants that support crime prevention programs
  3. To compensate eligible victims of crime