British Columbia provincial parliament building, Victoria, BC

British Columbia’s solicitor general says the government has filed the first-ever application to secure an unexplained wealth order in Canada.

Mike Farnworth says the notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court is the start of a series of similar applications, which are powerful tools that “put those engaging in illegal activity on notice.”

A statement from Farnworth says the province “will not tolerate criminals prospering in our communities” and it will pursue illegally acquired properties, luxury vehicles, money laundering schemes and businesses operating as fronts.

The minister says amendments to the Civil Forfeiture Act earlier this year allow the province to pursue “ill-gotten gains more efficiently” and compel people to explain how they acquired their wealth when there are suspicions about criminal activity.

Farnworth says B.C. will take forfeited assets obtained through unexplained wealth orders and redirect them to community safety and crime-prevention initiatives.

He says that will help “repair the damage done by those who think that they can profit from crimes and illegal enterprises in British Columbia.”