Wednesday, March 6, 2019

B.C. beefs up civil forfeiture laws

Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s Solicitor-General and Public Safety Minister introduced amendments in the legislature. They will help the province target criminals buying up assets after making money off organized crime. The Civil Forfeiture Office has faced criticism for giving the province the power to seize assets from people without charging them criminally
Changes include giving the CFO the pre-emptive ability to ask a B.C. Supreme Court judge to order a suspect’s assets be held before the agency formally sues them. Another proposal is to make it easier for the CFO to compel banks and other financial institution to hand over basic information before their clients transfer their assets abroad.

Critics say the government is employing populist rhetoric of going after international criminals gangs to make changes that further ignore the rights of ordinary citizens. The CFO has seized $44-million worth of assets since 2014 after being referred 4,500 files by cops.