Is Canada a haven for Shell Companies?

Most people do not think of Canada as being a haven for shell companies and corporate tax-abusers however an investigative article recently published by the CBC and the Toronto Star and based on information found in the Panama Papers, finds that Canada is in fact a growing fertile ground for shell companies.
 
Shell companies can be used for many purposes – both legitimate and illegitimate. They can also be used to provide a certain legitimacy to a company that may otherwise have none. From a due diligence perspective, this concerns us.
 
I have recently had several international clients tell me that they do not need to conduct a comprehensive due diligence investigation on a company, simply because it is headquartered in Canada. This is a misconception that can lead to expensive consequences. A due diligence investigation on any company you do business with is always a good idea … no matter where they are located or how good they look on paper.