Land Owner Transparency Act and existing landowners: Disclosure by November 30, 2021

[DISCLAIMER: on November 2, 2021, the government of British Columbia extended the deadline for filing transparency report by pre-existing owners from November 30, 2021 to November 30, 2022] The government of British Columbia has enacted the Land Owner Transparency Act (“LOTA”).  This statute introduces mandatory disclosure for land ownership in British Columbia.

LOTA will require reporting bodies that are registered owners of land in British Columbia as of November 30, 2020 to file a transparency report to disclose beneficial ownership by no later than November 30, 2021. Individuals who hold a registered interest in land solely in their own right as legal and beneficial owner are not required to file a transparency report.

LOTA describes three types of reporting bodies: (1) relevant corporations; (2) relevant trusts; and (3) relevant partnerships.

All reporting bodies will have to file a transparency report unless they fall within certain exemptions.  A transparency report will include information about the reporting body itself as well as information for each individual interest holder identified in connection with the reporting body.  Identified interest holders must provide the following information: date of birth; location of principal residence and last known address; social insurance number or individual tax number; whether or not the individual is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada, or country of citizenship; the date on which the individual became or ceased to be an interest holder, a description of the nature of the individual’s interest; and a statement as to any incapacity (if applicable).

In the case of almost all corporations, trusts and partnerships with a registered interest in land in British Columbia, a transparency report will need to be filed by November 30, 2021.

Pre-existing owners of an interest in land will require the assistance of a legal professional to file the transparency report as a myLTSA Enterprise account and a Juricert or ASR is required.

Failure by pre-existing owners to file transparency reports may be subject to penalties up to the greater of $25,000 for individuals or $50,000 for non-individuals, and 15% of the assessed value of the property.

Landowners with complicated ownership structures are encouraged to seek advice for filing of the requisite transparency report to ensure compliance.  Please contact your Boughton lawyer or Justin Park of our commercial real estate group for assistance.