The NDP government tabled legislation Tuesday to boost its ability to go after assets that come from drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says Bill 11 the Civil Forfeiture Amendment Act will “enhance” the province’s ability to target proceeds of crime.

He claims new tools will help crack down on criminal activity and make B.C. safer.

A news release notes some key changes to the law:

  • Make defendants prove an asset isn’t the product of a crime when evidence “clearly” links it to gang or drug activity, such as cases where large amounts of cash are found in a safe alongside drugs
  • Allow the Civil Forfeiture Office to get information from banks and others before proceeds of crime are sent out of the country
  • Give the CFO the opportunity to apply for a court order to freeze assets before a formal case is filed

The legislation is expected to pass.

Since the civil forfeiture program started in 2006, the government has seized more than $87 million in cash and assets. About $37 million has been invested into community safety and crime prevention programs, while $1.6 million has gone to victim compensation.