Many Metro Vancouverites describe real estate sector as corrupt

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Residents of Metro Vancouver do not have much faith in the integrity of the real estate industry, according to the results of a new Western Canadian poll on public perception of corruption.

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Photo by Dan Toulgoet

Transparency International Canada this week published a wide-ranging survey on perception of corruption across all levels of government and across various business sectors.

According to the survey, 37 per cent of respondents in the Metro Vancouver area agree with the statement that the real estate sector is “extremely corrupt” – this compares with just 15 per cent of Western Canadian respondents outside Metro Vancouver who agree with this statement.

Transparency International Canada said in its report, “For years, real estate has been a dominant issue in Vancouver-area politics, with high housing prices a major public concern. These prices created lucrative opportunities for unethical conduct by real estate agents with conflicts of interest representing both buyers and sellers, enabled by lax and ineffective regulation, and a lack of transparency. While these practices have led to new rules and government regulation, allegations of conflicts of interest continue to be made against Vancouver politicians and the real estate industry. Reports have also made connections between foreign drug dealers, money laundering through B.C. casinos, and investment of laundered money in real estate.”

According to a report by CBC, B.C. Attorney General David Eby addressed the findings at a keynote speech December 13 in Vancouver for Transparency International Canada. “Money laundering has been ignored for too long and it is hurting our communities,” he said. “Our government is fighting money laundering on several fronts, including casinos and real estate, and its ties to organized crime, gang activity and violence.”

Eby has commissioned Dr Peter German, as well as striking an additional expert panel task force, to investigate the issue of so-called “dirty money” in B.C. real estate and other sectors. Both are due to issue their reports in March 2019.

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