Peter A Allard School of Law

The Cullen Commission 18 Months Later - Where Do We Stand?

Following the conclusion in February 2023 of the Anti-Corruption Law Program (ACLP) four part series on the Cullen Commission Report, we are pleased to announce a further webinar to discuss progress to date on implementation of the Commission’s recommendations.

The Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia was created by the Government of British Columbia and led by the former Associate Chief Justice of BC, Austin Cullen.  The 1800 page Cullen Commission Report was published in June 2022; it included 101 recommendations to address money laundering in BC and represents a pivotal moment for anti-corruption law reform efforts in BC and in Canada as a whole.  

This webinar will feature opening remarks by Justice Austin F. Cullen, (now retired), followed by a panel discussion by senior representatives of the Government of BC, the Government of Canada, and professional associations and civil society groups. They will provide a ‘Status Update’ on the progress that has been made regarding the implementation of the action plans to fight money laundering that were identified in the Cullen Commission Report.


  • The Honourable Austin F. Cullen, Retired Associate Chief Justice, Supreme Court
  • Jeffrey Simser, Esq, Former Legal Director, Ministry of Attorney General 
  • David Avren, Vice President, Legal, BC Financial Services Authority
  • Erin Hunt, Director General, Financial Crimes and Security Division, Department of Finance, Government of Canada
  • James Cohen, Senior Director, Moody's Analytics
  • Phil Tawtel, Executive Director, BC Civil Forfeiture Office


This event qualifies for 2 CPD credits from the Law Society of British Columbia.

The Honourable Austin F. Cullen - Opening Remarks

Commissioner Cullen graduated from the University of Victoria with a B.A. and the University of British Columbia Law School with an LL.B. He was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1976. He worked as Crown Counsel from 1976 to 1980, and then worked in private practice from 1980 to 1984. He returned to the office of the Crown Counsel in 1984. Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996, he was Regional Crown counsel for the Fraser Region from 1991 to 1997, then Regional Crown counsel for the Vancouver Region 1997 to 1999. Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch 1999 to 2001, he was appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court March 21st, 2001 and then appointed Associate Chief Justice in December 2011. The B.C. government appointed Justice Austin F. Cullen to lead a public inquiry to understand the full scope of money laundering in British Columbia in 2019.

Jeffrey Simser - Moderator

Jeffrey Simser is a Barrister and Solicitor in Toronto, Canada who was twice qualified as an expert witness before the Cullen Commission. Jeffrey served as a lawyer and legal director at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, Canada for over thirty years before retiring in 2022. He is one of Canada’s leading experts on asset forfeiture and money laundering law. He holds law degrees from Queens University at Kingston and Osgoode Hall Law School. Mr. Simser is the author of two published books, Civil Asset Forfeiture in Canada (loose-leaf) and Canadian Anti-Money laundering Law: the Gaming Sector. He has published dozens of articles and has provided training and support to law enforcement and to jurisdictions across Canada and around the world (including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Guatemala and Kenya).

David Avren - Panelist

David Avren serves as Vice President, Legal with BC Financial Services Authority (“BCFSA”). An experienced and award-winning legal expert, David oversees BCFSA’s corporate legal affairs, policies, and board governance. He possesses more than 25 years of progressive leadership experience in regulatory affairs, governance matters, and legal strategy. Prior to joining BCFSA, David was Vice President of Legal and Compliance with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (“RECBC”), where he pursued efforts to reform and modernize internal processes, systems, and policies. Previously, he was General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Coast Capital Savings, one of Canada’s largest credit unions by membership. Before that, he built one of British Columbia’s largest corporate legal groups at BC Hydro where he served as Director of Legal Services. During that time, he received the organization’s Employee Engagement Award in 2015, and his team was nominated for best in-house group in Canada in 2017. 

David earned a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia (“UBC”) as well as a Master of Laws from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. He served on many non-profit boards and is currently a Member of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association.

Erin Hunt - Panelist

Erin Hunt (she/her) is Director General of the Financial Crimes and Security Division at the Department of Finance Canada. In this role, she is the policy lead coordinating Canada’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime, and she also holds responsibility for policy related to Canada’s federally regulated pensions. Prior to joining the Department of Finance, Erin was the Director of Trade Policy at Transport Canada and Chief of Staff to the CEO and Corporate Secretary at Parks Canada. She previously held several trade policy positions at Global Affairs Canada and represented Canada abroad as a Trade Commissioner at Canada’s Consulate General in Mumbai, India. She holds degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, the University of North Carolina, and Sciences Po in Paris. ‎

James Cohen - Panelist

James Cohen is Industry Practice Lead for the Canadian Government at Moody’s Analytics. He has 15 years of experience in Canadian and international non-profits with focuses on governance and security. Prior to joining Moody’s Analytics, James led Transparency International Canada for 7 years as its Executive Director where he organized campaigns on anti-money laundering, combatting foreign bribery, environmental assessment transparency, and the successful establishment of a publicly accessible beneficial ownership registry. James has provided research and insights in reports, white papers, academic journals, edited volumes, and media outlets. James holds a Master of International Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, and Bachelor of Social Science, Honours Political Science from the University of Ottawa.

Phil Tawtel - Panelist

Phil Tawtel has been the Executive Director of the BC Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) since 2012.  Before joining the CFO he served with the RCMP for 25 years primarily with the proceeds of crime and commercial crime units.  After retiring from the RCMP he was the Director of Compliance for the North American operations of Custom House, an international foreign exchange firm, for 4 years.  He is a Fellow Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA).

This webinar is being presented by the Anti-Corruption Law Program (ACLP), which is a joint continuing professional educational initiative of the Centre for Business Law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Transparency International - Canada Chapter, and the Vancouver Anti-Corruption Institute at the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy.

  • Centre for Business Law
  • General Public
  • Alumni
  • Continuing Professional Development
  • Graduate Students
  • JD
  • Research Talks
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