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Ottawa’s corporate registry rife with faulty information

Ottawa’s corporate registry rife with faulty information

A public registry of federal corporations is riddled with thousands of errors and omissions because too many business owners are failing to keep the federal government in the loop about basic corporate information, says an audit by Corporations Canada.

And when the federal agency confronted the delinquent corporations with those problems, fewer than half fixed them.

Those are the findings of a 2017-2018 audit of 2,383 firms incorporated under the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) and listed in a publicly accessible online database. Almost 330,000 federal corporations are registered in the database.

The audit identified 4,522 “deficiencies,” such as whether the registry had a mandatory annual return or whether directors’ addresses were current and valid. Such information is required by law in the registry.

The offending corporations were confronted with the results by the audit team, but only 45.3 per cent of the problems were corrected.

CBC News obtained the report, which does not identify individual corporations, under the Access to Information Act.

Critics have long complained the Corporations Canada registry is of little value in helping police track down money-launderers because there’s no legal requirement for federal corporations to identify their real owners, known as “beneficial ownership” information.