Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II being the head of state. The federation is composed of ten provinces and three territories.
Although Canada is the world’s second-largest county (covering 9.98 million square km), it’s sparsely populated with the majority of its land being dominated by forest, tundra and the Rocky Mountains. Canada has the world’s northernmost settlement (Canadian Forces Station Alert, on the northern tip of Ellesmere Island—817 km from the North Pole), the longest coastline (243,042 km), the longest land border (with the U.S. stretching 8,891 km), and over 2,000,000 lakes.
Canada is one of the few developed nations that are net exporters of energy (oil and gas) and hold 13% of the world’s global oil reserves. This is the third-largest share after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
Canada has become an attractive jurisdiction for hiding wealth as its prudent reputation and solid economy make suspect transactions seem legitimate. This combined with signed double tax agreements with 115 countries (the greatest number in the world), make moving money in and out of the country very easy. This is known as ‘snow washing’.
Canada has emerged as a tax haven for the global elite, who create shell companies with figurehead directors to evade or avoid taxes. Foreign investors are especially attracted to Canadian limited partnerships (LPs)—a corporate structure that has no tax filing requirements. Only the partners behind an LP have to file taxes, and if they’re not residents of Canada, no taxes are filed here at all.
"You’d be stupid not to try to cut your tax bill and those that don’t are stupid in business"
- Bono: U2