On July 9, 2021, CBABC delivered its final submissions to the Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia. CBABC received joint standing with the Criminal Defense Advocacy Society to participate in the Commission in the fall of 2019. Our participation and submissions were not to overlap with those of the Law Society of BC.
CBABC’s role at the Commission was to represent the interests of lawyers. With the Commission’s ultimate recommendations having the potential to affect how lawyers do their jobs and the public’s confidence in keeping their lawyer-client relationships confidential, CBABC highlighted that the evidence before the Commission did not implicate lawyers and that the LSBC regulatory regime followed by lawyers is sufficient.
In these closing submissions, CBABC adopts the submissions of LSBC and recommends that the government refrain from creating a regulatory anti-money laundering regime for lawyers and instead leave it to LSBC. Further we recommend that the Commission explicitly recognize the essential nature and constitutional and legal character of certain foundational elements of the lawyer-client relationship, namely the independence of lawyers, the duty of confidentiality, and solicitor-client privilege. Lastly we recommend that the provincial and federal governments commit to increased funding of the police enforcement regime to fight money-laundering in Canada.
BC submissions flow from the work of CBA National over the past two decades in both policy development and interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada alongside the Federation of Law Societies. During the Commission, CBABC’s Professional Issues Committee, which included lawyers in real estate, finance, criminal justice and other areas, oversaw the work of staff and counsel.
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