A recent series of independent reports uncovered that the B.C. real estate market is incredibly susceptible to manipulation and money laundering. In reaction to this finding, the B.C. government has tasked a panel of money laundering experts to investigate gaps in regulations, law enforcement, consumer protections and real estate ethics.
The results and recommendations that come out of this investigation are expected to inform the B.C. government on how to better prevent these kinds of abuses to the real estate market. If all goes well, the government hopes to drive this kind of illegal activity out of the province.
“We’re hoping to actually hear everyone because, certainly, money laundry impacts everyone in British Columbia.”
In an effort to include the public in the conversation, the panel is now seeking input from B.C. residents. Through this public outreach program, the panel hopes to take into consideration recommendations from the public to better shape B.C.’s real estate laws and policies and therefore better protect the real estate sector from criminal actions. The panel will accept email responses from citizens, real estate agents, brokers, stakeholders and organizations until Dec. 14.
“We’re hoping to actually hear everyone because, certainly, money laundry impacts everyone in British Columbia,” stated Carole James, the newly appointed finance minister. “I expect that we’ll hear from people, experts that work in the real estate market, people who work in the finance area, but we’re leaving it open to anyone who has knowledge of money laundering in real estate, or who wants to contribute.”
Panel chair Maureen Maloney, a former B.C. deputy attorney general, believes that hearing recommendations from the public will be instrumental in law enforcement. “We need to know how our markets are being used to launder money before we can make recommendations, and it will help the panel to hear from British Columbians, especially those with direct knowledge of our real estate sector and its legal framework, ” said Maloney.