Mr. Speaker, with regard to parts (a) and (b), the Government of Canada is committed to implementing strong standards for corporate and beneficial ownership transparency that provide safeguards against money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and tax avoidance, while continuing to facilitate the ease of doing business in Canada. Timely access for competent authorities to accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information is vital for combatting illicit financial flows, including money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion and avoidance.
The federal-provincial committee on taxation is a committee composed of senior federal, provincial, and territorial tax officials who meet generally on a semi-annual basis to discuss common tax policy issues and examine their consequences for the national and provincial/territorial economies. The proposal to create a working group of federal, provincial, and territorial officials to examine tax avoidance and evasion, with the first issue proposed for examination being strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information, was first adopted at the federal-provincial committee on taxation held June 6-7, 2016 in Winnipeg and support for the formation of this working group was confirmed by finance minister at the federal, provincial, and territorial finance ministers’ meeting on June 19 and 20, 2016. Key objectives for the working group are to raise awareness and understanding of the international standards and importance of corporate and beneficial ownership transparency, and collaborate on identifying and advancing options to improve availability of accurate beneficial ownership information.
With regard to parts (c) to (e), the work of the working group is ongoing. The working group met via conference call on September 26, 2016, February 14, 2017, September 12, 2017, and September 29, 2017.
The objective of the working group is to collaborate to advance the issue of strengthening the transparency and collection of beneficial ownership information. The agenda for the first meetings centered on the development of the working group’s objectives and terms of reference and an analysis of the current state of the corporate registry requirements in each of the participating jurisdictions. Subsequent working group meetings have focused on an international comparison regarding what other jurisdictions have proposed or introduced to strengthen the collection of beneficial ownership information and a discussion on potential options for strengthening the collection of beneficial ownership information.
With regard to parts (f) to (l), the working group operates at the officials’ level. Participants at the federal level are officials from the Department of Finance responsible for tax policy, in the tax legislation division, and financial sector policy, financial crimes, and officials from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada responsible for federal corporate law policy, marketplace framework policy and Corporations Canada. The working group is supported by at least one official from each of the provinces and territories with responsibility for tax and/or corporate law policy.
Various officials from the Department of Finance, from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and from most or all provinces and territories participated in each working group meeting, but specific attendance was not recorded.
The working group has not discussed items pertaining to the use of any particular jurisdiction for the purposes of tax avoidance or tax evasion.