Key Findings of Transparency International Canada's Report:
- Corporate entities have acquired $28.4 billion in GTA housing since 2008. The vast majority of those companies are privately owned, with no information on their beneficial owners.
- $9.8 billion in GTA housing was acquired by companies through cash purchases during that period, much of it bypassing statutory AML checks on source of funds and beneficial owners.
- From 2008 to 2018 more than $25.4 billion in residential mortgages in the GTA were provided by unregulated lenders with no AML reporting obligations. Nearly 50% of those unregulated mortgages were issued to corporate buyers, despite corporate purchases accounting for less than 4% of total transactions.
It is Canada’s weak regulations and policing of real-estate money laundering that seems to have attracted global criminals with vast sums to wash, the report suggests. “Where they do have obligations, real-estate industry players have a dismal record of compliance — something Canada’s regulatory agencies have done little to remedy,” the report says. “And to make matters worse, our enforcement record advertises that laundering dirty money is a low-risk endeavour in Canada. Money laundering cases rarely go to trial, and often collapse when they do. This appears to have contributed to a rise in professional money laundering operations across the country.”