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Business Law, Taxation law

Additional details: Quebec bill tabled for Quebec’s (Canada’s de facto?) public ultimate beneficiary register

Jan 14th, 2021

By Daniel Frajman

At this link for your general interest is my article on the above issue, just published nationally in Tax Topics (published by CCH-Wolters Kluwer):

In a nutshell, this relates to a bill just tabled by Quebec, proposing to put in place (though amendments to Quebec’s Act respecting the legal publicity of enterprises) a public register as part of Quebec’s on-line Registre des entreprises (the “REQ”), possibly by as early as mid-2022, that will look though all holding companies and trusts so as to state which individuals (called the "ultimate beneficiaries";  we will have to get used to that term) control the votes or value of, or control in fact, the corporation or the partnership in question.

The changes will also allow the REQ to be searched by name of relevant individual (currently, searches are only by name of corporate or other registrant).

This goes beyond the 2019 federal legislation on this in the Canada Business Corporations Act, which set up registers that are internal to the corporation and basically available to the Canada Revenue Agency and Revenu Quebec, but not otherwise public.

To the extent that non-Quebec companies do business or have an address in Quebec, this proposed new register becomes in a sense Canada's de facto beneficial ownership register.

Aside from business persons, who should be taking note of these developments, those in the non-profit and charitable sector should note the following:   it is not clear yet whether or not this proposed new register will apply to you (i.e., it is not clear yet whether or not this register will apply to non-share capital corporations).

A regulation with additional rules for this proposed new register will likely follow later this year.

Feel free to be in touch with me at any time if you need any information beyond the above brief summary, and the brief summary in my article at the above link, on this new and cutting edge issue important to almost all private corporations, businesses, trusts, partnerships and possibly also non-profits and charities.