This paper compares and analyzes the incentive structure of Ontario and British Columbia’s civil asset forfeiture regimes. Part one surveys the American civil forfeiture experience to draw out theoretical considerations from American academia and inform a discussion of Canadian law. Part two compares the Ontario and British Columbia civil forfeiture regimes and identifies institutional incentives and barriers embedded in the framework of the forfeiture regimes in each province. Part three uses empirical data to explain how Ontario and British Columbia’s incentive structures affect civil forfeiture’s use. The paper argues there is an optimal allocation of resources towards the use of civil forfeiture, and that such optimization is ultimately influenced by the province’s incentive structure. Finally, part four undertakes a discussion of the potential effects that the inefficient use of civil forfeiture may have on the broader economy.

This article is helpful for readers seeking to learn more about:

  • civil asset forfeiture, law and economics, economics, civil forfeiture, economics, public enforcers, organizational behaviour, incentive-driven behaviour, legislative remedies, law enforcement resources, institutional frameworks, procedural incentives, financial incentives, institutional barriers

Topics in this article include:

  • comparative analysis, adoptive forfeiture, equitable sharing, inefficient forfeiture, allocation of proceeds, administrative forfeiture, social welfare, grey market actors, private property rights, rent-seeking, Ontario, British Columbia, United States

Authorities cited in this article include:

  • Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, Pub L No 98-473, §1762, 98 Stat 1976.
  • Civil Remedies Act, 2001, SO 2001, c 28.
  • Civil Forfeiture Act, SBC 2005, c 29.