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Alberta tops provinces in money laundering: report
Published Friday, May 10, 2019 7:24PM MDT
A new report shows money laundering is a big issue in Canada, especially in Alberta.
Approximately $47 billion was laundered across Canada in 2018. Three years earlier, $10.2 billion was laundered in Alberta—ahead of Ontario, the Prairies and British Columbia.
“The relatively high estimates of money laundering in Alberta and the Prairies may be surprising,” the report said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the figures “absolutely unacceptable.”
“The report out of B.C. is extremely alarming,” Trudeau said in Edmonton Friday.
According to the report, the money laundered in B.C. went through the real estate market, which drove up housing costs by five per cent.
"Wealthy criminals and those attempted to evade taxes have had the run of our province for too long," said David Eby, British Columbia's Attorney General.
The report does not specify how the money was laundered in Alberta, but said, “These results likely arise from the importance placed on crime rates and GDP levels.”
The report came with 29 recommendations, the final of which involved all provinces:
“The BC Minster [sic] of Finance should make every effort to convince her provincial colleagues of the importance of making combatting money laundering a provincial priority and using provincial finance and real estate-related regulatory changes in coordination with federal and other provincial agencies to combat money laundering, consistent with the Panel’s recommendations.”
Ottawa has introduced legislation that would require corporations to be more transparent about their financial records, but the report claims Alberta “does not intend to proceed.”
Authors acknowledged their methodology has limitations and is measured by economic factors, which may overestimate laundering levels in Alberta, and underestimate them in Ontario, Quebec and B.C.
With files from CTV Edmonton’s Dan Grummett