(OTTAWA) The federal Liberals are pushing ahead with their plan to create a corporate beneficial ownership registry after promising to increase transparency about who owns and controls them.

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has tabled a bill that would create a register of all individuals with significant corporate control.

The purpose of the prospective register should be to facilitate the identification of company owners who launder money, commit financial crimes or evade taxes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s mandate letter to Mr. Champagne after the last federal election included instructions to create such a registry.

“Now more than ever, it’s important for corporations to be more transparent and accountable, and that’s why we’re committed to putting in place a corporate beneficial ownership registry that will keep Canadians safe.” and protect their economic interests,” Minister Champagne said in a statement.

The Liberals’ 2021 budget committed $2.1 million over two years “to support the implementation of a publicly accessible business beneficial ownership registry by 2025.”

But the Liberals’ supply and confidence agreement with the New Democrats, signed a year ago, demanded a shorter delay.

In the deal, which sees the NDP backing the government on key votes in exchange for moving forward on NDP priorities, the federal government pledged to implement the registry by the end of 2023.

The federal government held public consultations in 2020 with a range of stakeholders—including law enforcement, tax agencies, and industry associations—and found nearly all agreed with the idea of ​​creating a register.