MP Raises Concerns Over Sale of BC Seniors Care Homes to Foreign Insurance Company

Media release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2017

MP Raises Concerns Over Sale of BC Seniors Care Homes to Foreign Insurance Company

MP Gord Johns has raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the federal government's approval of a Chinese insurance company takeover of one of B.C.'s largest retirement home chains. Retirement Concepts includes Stanford House in Parksville, The Gardens at Qualicum Beach, and the 136 bed Comox Valley Seniors Village in Courtenay.

Johns said, "It's alarming that the government can approve the sale of vital publicly-funded health care and seniors facilities to foreign interests in such a secretive manner."

Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based conglomerate with estimated assets of $285 billion, is acquiring Retirement Concepts which owns 24 retirement homes in B.C., Alberta and Quebec. The B.C. government paid Retirement Concepts $86.5-million in the 2015-16 fiscal year, more than any other of 130 private seniors care providers in the province. Anbang is acquiring the residential care chain through a subsidiary, Cedar Tree Investment Canada, which was incorporated as a federal Canadian company in July 2016.

MP Johns said, "We know that the Prime Minister was lobbied on this deal at a cash-for-access Liberal fundraiser, and now we learn that approval was given without public input or disclosure."

A review of the acquisition was triggered under the provisions of the Investment Canada Act since the sale exceeds the $600 million review threshold. However, the review was only publically acknowledged by the Liberal government when the issue was raised in Parliament by NDP Health Critic, Don Davies.

Johns said, "These are major assets that BC families rely on for the care of their loved ones, and British Columbians demand far greater accountability on the process of transferring their ownership to foreign interests."

American companies have refused to do business with Anbang because of its murky ownership structure. Reports indicate the company has tried to hide its identity in previous transactions.

Johns said, "The federal government must explain how this deal is in the best interest of Canadians."

New Democrats have requested an extension of the review period in order to provide an opportunity for far greater public input and disclosure.

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