Public awareness of money laundering has increased in recent years, as a result of media reports and independent reviews by retired RCMP deputy commissioner Dr. Peter German, QC and an expert panel led by SFU professor and former deputy attorney general Maureen Maloney, QC. Following the release of these reports, the provincial government announced a public inquiry into money laundering, appointing BC Supreme Court Justice Austin Cullen to head the inquiry. The scope of the inquiry includes real estate, gaming, and financial and professional services sectors. Justice Cullen has also been asked to examine the role of regulatory authorities, including any barriers to effective law enforcement in relation to money laundering activities. Read CEO Don Avison, QC's letter in response to the Cullen Commission's invitation to respond to the previous reports.

The Law Society is among those who have welcomed the commission of inquiry, and we were successful in our application to have standing at the inquiry hearings. The Law Society and the legal profession recognize and take seriously the risks that money laundering poses to the public interest. As the Cullen Commission hears from witnesses and considers its findings and recommendations, the Law Society is pleased to have the opportunity to bring awareness and our experience to the substantive and procedural issues that may arise in the course of the inquiry.

The Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia began holding hearings on February 24, with opening statements from several participants, including the Law Society. Read our opening statement and view testimony heard by the Commission in its webcast archive.

The Law Society will continue its participation in the commission and is committed to working collaboratively with other organizations and the commission and to supporting the public inquiry process.

The commission is scheduled to issue its interim report in November 2020, with its final report expected in May 2021.