Government of Canada’s seized property management services
From: Public Services and Procurement Canada
Learn about our role in managing seized property. Discover what seized property can include and learn about the seizure process.
On this page
Learn about the authority we have during a property seizure. Find out when we manage seized or restrained assets.
Our authority during a property seizure
The Seized Property Management Act (SPMA) came into effect on September 1, 1993.
The act gave the Government of Canada the authority to:
- provide consultative and managerial services to law enforcement agencies in relation to seized or restrained property in connection with designated criminal offences
- dispose of seized property when the courts declare forfeiture
- share the proceeds from the sale of seized assets
We also provide seized property management and secure storage services to any federal agency, department or Crown corporation on a cost-recovery basis. Section 16 (a) of the Public Works and Government Services Act outlines this authority.
When we manage seized or restrained property
We manage assets seized or restrained under specific sections of the:
- Criminal Code
- Controlled Drugs and Substances Act
- Proceeds of Crime (Money-Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act
Types of seized property
Seized property could be any asset acquired as proceeds of crime or any object used to commit a crime.
Seized property may include:
- cash, equities, loans, registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs), bank accounts, lottery tickets, life insurance policies, personal loans or mortgages
- vehicles, motorcycles, boats or aircraft
- real property like houses, buildings or land
- personal property like jewelry, furniture or electronics
Our services during a seizure
Learn more about the property seizure process including our role throughout the process.
Before the seizure, we provide:
- financial analysis of property
- recommendations to police about the financial viability of proceeding with the seizure
- analysis and evaluation of the best method to protect and maintain the value of the assets
- evaluation of the costs associated with asset management
- coordination of services such as towing, storing and inspection (as needed)
Prior to a seizure:
- law enforcement completes their investigation
- a final decision is made on the seizure of assets, laying of charges and prosecution by police involved in the case and the Department of Justice
After law enforcement makes a decision to move forward with a seizure:
- moveable assets are seized by police under a special search warrant or management order authorized by a judge or justice
- real property is addressed through a restraint order signed by a judge or justice
- custody of seized assets is then turned over to us
- we engage the appropriate professionals to manage, maintain and safeguard the assets until legal proceedings are concluded
Managing seized businesses
After we do an inspection and preliminary appraisal of a business in the pre-seizure stage, we usually contract it out with industry and government for the services of appropriate professionals for the best management approach. We are responsible for managing the business in accordance with provisions of a restraint order during the time the case is before the court.
Following the seizure, we provide:
- inspection, appraisal, administration, storage, protection and maintenance of the seized or restrained property
- settlement of third-party claims like those from tenants or financial institutions on seized property
- advance of funds to preserve property
We hold seized items until legal proceedings are completed. If the courts find the accused guilty and the sentencing includes the forfeiture of assets, we begin the asset disposal process.
During the disposal process, our role includes:
- coordinating the sharing of proceeds with provincial and foreign governments in accordance with the Forfeited Property Sharing Regulations of the Seized Property Management Act
- returning non-forfeited assets to their owner(s)
Disposal of assets
We must wait until after a 30-day appeal period before disposing of any forfeited assets.
How assets are disposed of
- moveable assets like electronics, cars, furniture and jewelry are sold publicly or through auction to get fair market value
- money is shared according to the Forfeited Property Sharing Regulations
- real property like buildings, houses and land is disposed of using Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) Realty Services or private sector realty brokerages
Net proceed shared
After all the costs associated with the management of seized assets are paid, the jurisdictions involved share in the net proceeds. The Forfeited Property Sharing Regulations describe this process.
Have any questions or concerns about the Government of Canada’s seized property management services? Here’s how to reach us.
- Seized Property Management Act
- Forfeited Property Sharing Regulations
- Seized Property Disposition Regulations
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