Today I provided testimony to the Senate Banking, Trade on Commerce Committee on Bill C-86, the Budget Implementation Act. A fundamental question raised in Bill C-86 as well as the House of Commons Finance Committee Report of November 8 is, who wants or needs access to privately held corporations’ beneficial ownership information, and why?
Last year, a new client approached me with an intriguing and unusual request. Knowing that I work with companies on sustainability issues, could I help her create a “Forever Forest,” that is, set aside land as protected forest in perpetuity?
I was honoured to be invited as an expert witness to the Finance Committee on the Review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Terrorism Financing Act. My testimony is reproduced below.
On January 17, 2018 the Government of Canada announced the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). This long-awaited announcement will be welcomed by many stakeholders and there are expectations that an Ombudsperson will be able to make a real difference in resolving human rights allegations.
Unthinkable even five years ago, a number of transnational human rights claims against companies are proceeding on the merits in Canadian courts. These include claims made by overseas plaintiffs alleging slavery, rape, murder and battery.
Canadian Finance Ministers announced on December 11 that they would take measures to improve the transparency of beneficial ownership information (see press release and backgrounder). While not much detail is available yet, this announcement marks a very important development and should be welcomed.
If an MSI elects to create an independent secretariat, it will need to select a city and country in which to locate its headquarters. It is not always easy for a global initiative to decide this, as there will be a multitude of factors and these will rarely point to one location.
A key litmus test for the effective governance of any MSI is its capacity to deliver results on key priorities and a work plan agreed upon by it governing board. Needless to say, a competent and effective Secretariat is essential to delivering strong results.