Canada is one the world’s most opaque jurisdictions when it comes to identifying the owners of private companies and trusts, according to anti-corruption campaigners who say that more rigorous checks are required to obtain a library card than to set up a company in the country.
“Anyone can start a company in Canada. It costs about C$200 and the owner of the company can remain completely anonymous,” said lawyer Mora Johnson, who recently authored a report detailing the country’s lax rules around corporate registration.
While publicly traded firms in Canada are required to disclose major shareholders, private companies need only note their directors, allowing those who own, control or benefit from the firm to remain in the shadows.
How Canada stacks up against other countries – including known tax havens – was suggested in a 2013 study by American researchers. After sending out thousands of queries about setting up anonymous shell companies, researchers ranked Canada among the easiest of 60 countries to set up an untraceable company, along with Kenya and a few US States.
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