Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism

This report summarizes the anti–money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism measures in place in Canada. The Canadian authorities have a good understanding of most of Canada’s money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Some financial intelligence and other relevant information are accessible by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC); law enforcement agencies have greater access. FINTRAC receives a wide range of information, which it uses adequately, but some factors limit the scope and depth of the analysis it is authorized to conduct.


This report summarizes the anti–money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism measures in place in Canada. The Canadian authorities have a good understanding of most of Canada’s money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Some financial intelligence and other relevant information are accessible by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC); law enforcement agencies have greater access. FINTRAC receives a wide range of information, which it uses adequately, but some factors limit the scope and depth of the analysis it is authorized to conduct.

Executive Summary

This report provides a summary of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in place in Canada as at the date of the onsite visit (November 3 to 20, 2015). It analyzes the level of compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Canada’s AML/CFT system, and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

Key Findings

1. The Canadian authorities have a good understanding of most of Canada’s money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks. The 2015 Assessment of Inherent Risks of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Canada (the NRA) is of good quality. AML/CFT cooperation and coordination are generally good at the policy and operational levels.

2. All high-risk areas are covered by AML/CFT measures, except legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries. This constitutes a significant loophole in Canada’s AML/CFT framework.

3. Financial intelligence and other relevant information are accessed by Canada’s financial intelligence unit, FINTRAC, to some extent and by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to a greater extent, but through a much lengthier process. They are used to some extent to investigate predicate crimes and TF activities, and, to a much more limited extent, to pursue ML.

4. FINTRAC receives a wide range of information, which it uses adequately, but some factors, in particular the fact that it is not authorized to request additional information from any reporting entity (RE), limit the scope and depth of the analysis that it is authorized to conduct.

5. Law enforcement results are not commensurate with the ML risk and asset recovery is low.

6. Canada accords priority to pursuing TF activities. TF-related targeted financial sanctions (TFS) are adequately implemented by financial institutions (FIs) but not by designated nonfinancial business and professions (DNFBPs). Charities (i.e., registered NPOs) are monitored on a risk basis.

7. Canada’s Iran and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) sanction regime is comprehensive, and some success has been achieved in freezing funds of designated individuals, there is no mechanism to monitor compliance with PF-related TFS.

8. FIs, including the six domestic systemically important banks, have a good understanding of their risks and obligations, and generally apply adequate mitigating measures. The same is not true for DNFBPs. REs have gradually increased their reporting of suspicious transactions, but reporting by DNFBPs other than casinos is very low.

9. FIs and DNFBPs are generally subject to appropriate risk-sensitive AML/CFT supervision, but supervision of the real estate and dealers in precious metals and stones (DPMS) sectors is not entirely commensurate to the risks in those sectors. A range of supervisory tools are used effectively especially in the financial sector. There is some duplication of effort between FINTRAC and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) in the supervisory coverage of federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) and a need to coordinate resources and expertise more effectively.

10. Legal persons and arrangements are at a high risk of misuse, and that risk is not mitigated.

11. Canada generally provides useful mutual legal assistance and extradition. The authorities solicit other countries’ assistance to fight TF and, to a somewhat lesser extent, ML. Informal cooperation is generally effective and frequently used.

Risks and General Situation

12. Canada has a strong framework to fight ML and TF, which relies on a comprehensive set of laws and regulations, as well as a range of competent authorities.

13. It faces an important domestic and foreign ML threat, and lower TF threat. As acknowledged in the public version of the authorities’ 2015 assessment of Canada’s inherent ML and TF risks (the NRA), the main domestic sources of proceeds of crime (POC) are fraud, corruption and bribery, counterfeiting and piracy, illicit drug trafficking, tobacco smuggling and trafficking, as well as (to a slightly higher level than assessed) tax evasion. Canada’s open and stable economy and accessible financial system also make it vulnerable to significant foreign ML threats, especially originating from the neighboring United States of America (U.S.), but also from other jurisdictions. The main channels to launder the POC appear to be the financial institutions (FIs), in particular the six domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) due to their size and exposure, as well as money service businesses (MSBs). While not insignificant, the TF threat to Canada appears lower than the ML threat. A number of TF methods have been used in Canada and have involved both financial and material support to terrorism, including the payment of travel expenses of individuals and the procurement of goods.

Overall Level of Effectiveness and Technical Compliance

14. Since its 2007 evaluation, Canada has made significant progress in bringing its AML/CFT legal and institutional framework in line with the standard, but the fact that AML/CFT obligations are inoperative for legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries is a significant concern. In terms of effectiveness, Canada achieves substantial results with respect to five of the Immediate Outcomes (IO), moderate results with respect to five IOs, and low results with respect to one IO.

Assessment of Risks, Coordination and Policy Setting (Chapter 2—IO.1; R.1, R.2, R.33)

15. The authorities have a generally good level of understanding of Canada’s main ML/TF risks. The public version of the 2015 NRA is of good quality. It is based on dependable evidence and sound judgment, and supported by a convincing rationale. In many respects, the NRA confirmed the authorities’ overall understanding of the sectors, activities, services and products exposed to ML/TF risk. While the NRA’s findings did not contain major unexpected revelations, the process was useful in clarifying the magnitude of the threat, in particular the threat affecting the real estate sector and emanating from third-party money launderers. The authorities nevertheless may be underestimating the magnitude of some key risks, such as the risk emanating from tax crimes and foreign corruption.

16. All high-risk areas are covered by the AML/CFT regime, with the notable exception of the legal professions other than British Columbia (BC) notaries, which is a significant loophole in Canada’s AML/CFT framework, and online casinos, open loop prepaid cards, and white label ATMs.

17. While supervisory measures are generally in line with the main ML/TF risks, more intensive supervisory measures should be applied in some higher risk areas such as the real estate and DPMS.

18. AML/CFT cooperation and coordination appear effective at the policy level, but in some provinces, greater dialogue between LEAs and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) would prove useful.

19. While FIs generally appear adequately aware of their ML/TF risks, the same does not apply in some DNFBP sectors, in particular the real estate sector.

Financial Intelligence, Money Laundering and Confiscation (Chapter 3—IOs 6–8; R.3, R.4, R.29–32)

20. Financial intelligence and other relevant information is collected and used to some extent only by competent authorities to carry out investigations into the predicate crimes and TF activities, and, to a more limited extent, to pursue ML. FINTRAC receives a range of information from REs and LEAs, which it adequately analyzes. Some factors nevertheless hamper its ability to produce more comprehensive intelligence products, in particular, the fact that FINTRAC is not authorized to obtain from any RE additional information related to suspicions of ML/TF. FINTRAC’s analysis and disclosures are mainly prepared in response to the requests made by LEAs in Voluntary Information Records (VIRs). LEAs use these disclosures mainly to investigate the predicate offense, rather than to carry out ML investigations. FINTRAC also produces strategic reports that address the LEAs’ operational priorities and advise them on new ML/TF trends and typologies. Information resulting from cross-border transportation of cash and other bearer negotiable instruments is not exploited to its full extent. The FIU and the LEAs cooperate effectively and exchange information and financial intelligence on a regular basis and in a secure way.

21. LEAs have adequate powers and cooperation mechanisms to undertake large and complex financial investigations. This has notably resulted in some high-profile successes in neutralizing ML networks and syndicates. However, current efforts are mainly aimed at the predicate offenses, with inadequate focus on the main ML risks other than those emanating from drug offenses, i.e., standalone ML, third-party ML and laundering of proceeds generated abroad. Some provinces, such as Quebec, appear more effective in this respect. LEAs’ prioritization processes are not fully in line with the findings of the NRA, and LEAs generally suffer from insufficient resources and expertise to pursue complex ML cases. In addition, legal persons are not effectively pursued and sanctioned for ML, despite their misuse having been identified in the NRA as a common ML typology. Criminal sanctions applied are not sufficiently dissuasive. The majority of natural persons convicted for ML are sentenced in the lower range of one month to two years of imprisonment, even in cases involving professional money launderers.

22. Overall, asset recovery appears low. Some provinces, such as Quebec, appear more effective in recovering assets linked to crime. Falsely and undeclared cross-border movements of currency and other bearer negotiable instruments are rarely analyzed by the FIU or investigated by the RCMP. As a result, the majority of the cash seized by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is returned to the traveler at the border.

Terrorist Financing and Financing Proliferation (Chapter 4—IOs 9–11; R.5–8)

23. The authorities display a good understanding of Canada’s TF risk and cooperate effectively in CFT efforts. The intelligence services, LEAs and FINTRAC regularly exchange information, which notably contributes to support prioritization of TF investigations. Canada accords priority to investigations and prosecutions of terrorism and TF. There are a number of TF investigations, which resulted in two TF convictions. Canada also makes regular use of other disruption measures.

24. Implementation of TF-related targeted financial sanctions (TFS) is generally good but uneven. Large FIs implement sanctions without delay, but DNFBPs do not seem to have a good understanding of their obligations and are not required to conduct a full search of their customer databases on a regular basis. In practice, few assets have been frozen in connection with TF-related TFS, which does not seem unreasonable in the Canadian context.

25. Charities (i.e., registered NPOs) are monitored by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on a risk basis, but the number of inspections conducted over the last few years does not reflect those TF risks. The NRA found the risk of misuse of charities as high, but only a small percentage of charities have been inspected. Nevertheless, to limit this risk, the CRA’s charities division has developed an enhanced outreach plan which reflects the best practices put forward by the FATF.

26. Canada’s framework to implement the relevant UN counter-proliferation financing sanctions is strong and, in some respect, goes beyond the standard, but does not apply to all types of assets listed in the standard. The current lists of designated persons are available on the OSFI websites, and changes to those lists are promptly brought to the attention of the FRFIs (i.e., banks, insurance companies, trust and loan companies, private pension plans, cooperative credit associations, and fraternal benefit societies). There is a good level of policy and operational cooperation between the relevant authorities including those involved in export control, border control, law enforcement and AML/CFT supervision. Some success has been achieved in freezing funds of designated persons. None of the Canadian authorities has an explicit mandate to monitor FIs’ and DNFBPs’ implementation of their counter-PF obligations but, in practice, OSFI has examined implementation by FRFIs of TFS for both TF and PF, and has also identified shortcomings and requested improvements.

Preventive Measures (Chapter 5—IO.4; R.9–23)

27. AML/CFT requirements are inoperative towards legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries. These requirements were found to breach the constitutional right to attorney-client privilege by the Supreme Court of Canada on February 13, 2015. In light of these professionals’ key gatekeeper role, in particular in high-risk sectors and activities such as real-estate transactions and the formation of corporations and trusts, this constitutes a serious impediment to Canada’s efforts to fight ML.

28. FRFIs, including the six domestic banks that dominate the financial sector, have a good understanding of their risks and AML/CFT obligations. Supervisory findings on the implementation of the risk-based approach (RBA) are also generally positive. The large FRFIs conducted comprehensive group-wide risk assessments and took corresponding mitigating measures. In an effort to mitigate some of the higher risks, a number of FRFIs have gone beyond the Canadian requirements (e.g., by collecting information on the quality of AML/CFT supervision in the respondent bank’s country).

29. Nevertheless, some deficiencies in the AML/CFT obligations undermine the effective detection of very high-risk threats identified in the NRA, such as corruption. This is notably the case of the current requirements related to politically exposed persons (PEPs). The identification of beneficial ownership also raises important concerns. Although the legal requirements have recently been strengthened, little is done by FIs to verify the accuracy of beneficial ownership information. DNFBPs are not required to identify the beneficial ownership nor to take specific measures with respect to foreign PEPs.

30. Most DNFBPs are not sufficiently aware of their AML/CFT obligations. This is in particular the case of real estate agents. Extensive work has been conducted by FINTRAC with relevant DPMS trade associations, to increase the DNFBPs’ awareness, which is leading to some improvement in compliance. REs have gradually increased the number of STRs and other threshold-based reports filed with FINTRAC but reporting remains very low. The fact that no STRs have been filed by accountants and BC notaries, and the low number of STRs received from the real estate sector raise concern.

Supervision (Chapter 6—IO.3; R.26–28, R.34–35)

31. FINTRAC and OSFI supervise FIs and DNFBPs on a risk-sensitive basis. FINTRAC should, however, apply more intensive supervisory measures to DNFBPs. There is good supervisory coverage of FRFIs, but FINTRAC and OSFI need to improve their coordination to share expertise, maximize the use of the supervisory resources available and avoid duplication of efforts. FINTRAC has increased its supervisory capacity in recent years. It adopted an effective RBA in its compliance and enforcement program, but needs to further develop its sector-specific expertise and increase the intensity of supervision of DNFBPs, particularly in the real estate sector and with respect to DPMS, commensurate with the risks identified in the NRA.

32. There are good market entry controls in place to prevent criminals and their associates from owning or controlling FIs and most DNFBPs. There are, however, no controls for DPMS, and fitness and probity controls at the provincial level are not conducted on an ongoing basis (i.e., including after-market entry).

33. Supervisors appear generally effective. Remedial actions are effectively used and have been extensively applied by supervisors but the sanctioning regime for breaches of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the PCMLTFA) has not been applied in a proportionate and/or sufficiently dissuasive manner. Supervisors have demonstrated that their actions have largely had a positive effect on compliance by FIs and some categories of DNFBPs. They have increased guidance and feedback to REs in recent years but further efforts are necessary, particularly with regard to the DNFBP sector. The exclusion of most of the legal professions (legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries) from AML/CFT supervision has a negative impact on the effectiveness of the supervisory regime as a whole.

Transparency of Legal Persons and Arrangements (Chapter 7—IO.5; R.24–25)

34. Canadian legal entities and legal arrangements are at a high risk of misuse for ML/TF purposes and that risk is not mitigated. This is notably the case with respect to nominee shareholding arrangements, which are commonly used across Canada and pose real obstacles for LEAs.

35. Basic information on legal persons is publicly available, but beneficial ownership information is more difficult to obtain. Some information is collected by FIs and to a limited extent DNFBPs, the tax authorities and legal entities themselves, but is neither verified nor comprehensive in all cases. LEAs have the necessary powers to obtain that information, but the process is lengthy. Information exchange between LEAs and the CRA is also limited by stringent legal requirements.

36. The authorities have insufficient access to information related to trusts. Some information is collected by the CRA as well as by FIs providing financial services, but that information is not verified, does not always pertain to the beneficial owner, and is even more difficult to obtain than in the case of legal entities.

37. LEAs have successfully identified the beneficial owners in limited instances only. Despite corporate vehicles and trusts posing a major ML and TF risk in Canada, LEAs do not investigate many cases in which legal entities or trusts played a prominent role or that involved complex corporate elements or foreign ownership or control aspects.

International Cooperation (Chapter 8—IO.2; R.36–40)

38. The range of mutual legal assistance (MLA) provided by Canada is generally broad, and countries provided—through the FATF—largely positive feedback regarding the responsiveness and quality of the assistance provided. Canada solicits other countries’ assistance in relatively few instances in pursuit of domestic ML, associated predicate offenses and TF cases with transnational elements. Some concerns were nevertheless raised by some Canadian LEAs about delays in the processing of incoming and outgoing requests. The extradition framework is adequately implemented. Informal cooperation is effective. Cooperation between LEAs, FINTRAC, the CBSA and OSFI and their respective foreign counterparts is more fluid, and more frequently used than MLA. Nevertheless, some weaknesses in Canada’s framework (e.g., the impossibility for FINTRAC to obtain additional information from REs, and the low quantity of STRs from DNFBPs) negatively affects the authorities’ ability to assist their foreign counterparts.

Priority Actions

  • Ensure that legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries engaged in the activities listed in the standard are subject to AML/CFT obligations and supervision. Bring all remaining FIs and DNFBPs in the AML/CFT regime.

  • Increase timeliness of access by competent authorities to accurate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information—consider additional measures to supplement the current framework.

  • Increase timely access to financial intelligence—authorize FINTRAC to request and obtain from any RE further information related to suspicions of ML, predicate offenses and TF.

  • Use financial intelligence to a greater extent to investigate ML and trace assets.

  • Increase efforts to detect, pursue, and bring before the courts cases of ML related to all high-risk predicate offenses, third party ML, self-laundering, laundering of POC of foreign predicates, and the misuse of legal persons and trusts in ML activities.

  • Ensure that asset recovery is pursued as a policy objective throughout the territory.

  • Ensure compliance by all FIs with the requirement to confirm the accuracy of beneficial ownership in relation to all customers.

  • Require DNFBPs to identify and verify the identity of beneficial owners and PEPs.

  • Coordinate more effectively supervision of FRFIs by OSFI and FINTRAC to maximize the use of resource and expertise, and review implementation of the current approach.

  • Ensure that FINTRAC develops sector-specific expertise, and applies more intensive supervisory measures to the real estate and the DPMS sectors.

Effectiveness and Technical Compliance Ratings

Effectiveness Ratings

article image

Technical Compliance Ratings

AML/CFT Policies and Coordination

article image

Money Laundering and Confiscation

article image

Terrorist Financing and Financing of Proliferation

article image

Preventive Measures

article image

Transparency and Beneficial Ownership of Legal Persons and Arrangements

article image

Powers and Responsibilities of Competent Authorities and other Institutional Measures

article image

International Cooperation

article image

Detailed Assessment Report


This report provides a summary of the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures in Canada as at the date of the onsite visit. It analyzes the level of compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Canada’s AML/CFT system, and provides recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

This evaluation was based on the 2012 FATF Recommendations, and was prepared using the 2013 Methodology as updated at the time of the onsite. The evaluation was based on information provided by Canada, and information obtained by the evaluation team during its onsite visit to Canada from November 3 to 20, 2015.

The evaluation was conducted by an assessment team consisting of: Nadim Kyriakos-Saad (team leader), Nadine Schwarz (deputy team leader), Antonio Hyman-Bouchereau (legal expert, IMF), Katia Bucaioni (financial sector expert, Unità di Informazione Finanziaria, Italy), Anthony Cahalan (financial sector expert, Central Bank of Ireland), Carla De Carli (legal expert, Regional Circuit Prosecution, Brazil), Gabriele Dunker (IMF consultant), John Ellis (IMF consultant), Sylvie Jaubert (law enforcement expert, Directorate of Intelligence and Customs Investigations, France), Amy Lam (law enforcement expert, Hong Kong Police). The report was reviewed by Emery Kobor (U.S.), Erin Lubowicz (New Zealand), Peter Smit (South Africa), Richard Berkhout (FATF Secretariat), and Lindsay Chan (Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering—APG secretariat).

Canada previously underwent a FATF mutual evaluation in 2007, conducted according to the 2004 FATF Methodology. That evaluation concluded that Canada was compliant with 7 Recommendations; largely compliant with 23; partially compliant with 8; and non-compliant with 11. Canada was rated compliant or largely compliant with 13 of the 16 Core and Key Recommendations. Canada was placed in the regular follow-up process, and reported back to the FATF in February 2009, February 2011, October 2011, October 2012, and February 2013. The FATF February 2014 follow-up report found that overall, while some minor deficiencies remained, Canada had made sufficient progress with respect to the Core and Key Recommendations. Canada was therefore removed from the follow-up process in February 2014.

The 2008 mutual evaluation report (MER) and February 2014 follow-up report have been published and are available at

ML/TF Risks and Context

39. Canada extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometers (3.85 million square miles) in total, making it the world’s second-largest country by total area (i.e., the sum of land and water areas) and the fourth-largest country by land area. Canada is a developed country and the world’s eleventh-largest economy as of 2015 (approximately US$1.573 trillion). As of 2015, the population of Canada is estimated to be 35,851,774. The foreign-born population of Canada represented 20.6 percent of the total population in 2011, the highest proportion among the G7 countries.1

40. Canada is a federation of ten provinces and three territories2 in the northern part of North America. Ottawa, in the province of Ontario, is the national capital. Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II being the Head of State. The Governor General of Canada carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada as representative of the Canadian crown.

41. Canada’s Constitution consists of unwritten and written acts, customs, judicial decisions, and traditions dating from 1763. The composition of the Constitution of Canada is defined in subsection 52(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 as consisting of the Canada Act 1982 (including the Constitution Act, 1982), all acts and orders referred to in the schedule (including the Constitution Act, 1867 and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms), and any amendments to these documents.

42. All provinces and territories within Canada follow the common law legal tradition, except Quebec, which follows the civil law tradition. In addition, all federal laws also follow the common law legal tradition and are applicable in every province and territory (Quebec’s civil tradition only applies to provincial laws).

A. ML/TF Risks and Scoping of Higher-Risk Issues

Overview of ML/TF Risks

43. Canada faces important ML risks generated both domestically and abroad. Estimates of the total amount of POC generated and/or laundered in Canada vary: the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC) estimated in 2007 that POC generated annually by predicate crimes committed in Canada represent approximately three to five percent of Canada’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP), or approximately US$47 billion. The RCMP estimated in 2011 that the amount of money laundered annually in Canada to be somewhere between US$5 billion and US$15 billion. The NRA indicates that profit-generating criminal activity generates billions of dollars in POC that might be laundered.

44. Organized Criminal Groups (OCGs) pose the greatest domestic ML risk, as they are involved in multiple criminal activities generating large amounts of POC. There are over 650 OCGs operating in Canada. The public version of the NRA does not include a detailed analysis of the risks associated with the methods and financial channels used to raise, collect or transfer funds for TF, due to reasons of national security. The classified version of the NRA includes specific ratings for the TF risks represented by each of the terrorist groups. However, this could not be shared and therefore not assessed by the assessors due to national security concerns.

45. Canada appears to be moderately exposed to PF risks, due primarily to the size of the Canadian financial sector. Canada produces a range of controlled military and dual-use goods, and while no estimates were provided regarding the value and volume of goods exported, they are understood to be relatively large. In addition, Canada appears vulnerable to being used as a transshipment or transit point for military controlled and dual-use goods produced in the U.S. There are no estimates of the financial flows between Canada and either Iran or the DPRK, but, due to the number of restrictions in place (see R.7 and IO.11), are understood to be low.

ML/TF Threats

46. POCs in Canada are mainly generated from: human smuggling, payment card fraud, tobacco smuggling and trafficking, mass marketing fraud, mortgage fraud, capital markets fraud, illicit drug trafficking, counterfeiting and piracy, corruption and bribery, and commercial trade fraud. Canada is exposed to very high ML threats of both local and foreign origin: (i) Fraud, including capital markets fraud, trade fraud, mass marketing fraud, and mortgage fraud, is a major source of POC in Canada. (ii) The proceeds of drug trafficking laundered in Canada are also significant, and derive predominantly from domestic activity controlled by OCGs. (iii) Third-party ML has started to pose a significant threat in recent years. The NRA found, and discussions onsite confirmed that large-scale and sophisticated ML operations in Canada, notably those connected to transnational OCGs, frequently involve professional money launderers3 (i.e., individuals specialized in the ML of POC who offer their services for a fee), nominees or money mules. It also found that, of the three, professional money launderers pose the greatest threat both in terms of laundering domestically generated POC as well as laundering, through Canada, of POC generated abroad.4

47. The threat emanating from other countries is significant but less easily definable. While some countries have been identified as being the main source of POC laundered in Canada, the authorities’ assessment of the foreign ML threat is less detailed and comprehensive than their analysis of the domestic threat.

48. The TF threat was assessed in relation to the terrorist organizations and associated individuals that have financing or support networks in Canada. In particular, the TF threat posed by the actors associated with the following 10 terrorist groups and foreign fighters was assessed: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; Al Qaeda Core; Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; Al Shabaab; Hamas; Foreign Fighters/Extremist Travellers; Hizballah; Islamic State of Iraq and Syria; Jabhat Al-Nusra; Khalistani Extremist Groups; and Remnants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Using rating criteria and currently available intelligence, the terrorist groups were assessed as posing a low, medium or high TF threat in Canada. The sectors and products exposed to very high TF risks are corporations, domestic banks, national full-service MSBs, small family-owned MSBs and express trusts. The NRA indicates the possible existence of TF networks in Canada suspected of raising, collecting and transmitting funds abroad to various terrorist groups.5 The only domestically listed terrorist organizations that pose a TF threat to Canada are those that have financing or support networks in Canada.6 Terrorism and TF have been increasing in the last two years and more resources were therefore shifted by the authorities to address these threats. As resources remain limited, these issues are putting additional pressures on the AML/CFT regime, and in particular LEAs. Additional funding for AML/CFT activities was authorized in Budget 2015, but these new resources have yet to be fully deployed.


49. Canadian banks offer a number of inherently vulnerable products and services to a very large client base, which includes a significant amount of high-risk clients and businesses. In addition, banks are exposed to high-risk jurisdictions that have weak AML/CFT regimes and significant ML/TF threats. The main channels to launder the POC appear to be the FIs, in particular the D-SIBs due to their size and exposure, as well as MSBs. Terrorist financiers mostly use international and domestic wire transfers to move funds within Canada and/or abroad.

50. The legal profession in Canada is especially vulnerable to misuse for ML/TF risks, notably due to its involvement in activities exposed to a high ML/TF risk (e.g., real estate transactions, creating legal persons and arrangements, or operation of trust accounts on behalf of clients).7 Following a February 13, 2015 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries are not required to implement AML/CFT measures,8 which, in light of the risks, raises serious concerns.

51. Businesses that handle high volumes of cash are highly vulnerable to ML/TF as they are attractive to launderers of drug proceeds. These include brick and mortar casinos, convenience stores, gas stations, bars, restaurants, food-related wholesalers and retailers, and DPMS (notably in the diamonds sector).9

52. The real estate sector is highly vulnerable to ML, including international ML activities, and the risk is not fully mitigated, notably because legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries (who provide services in related financial transactions) are not required to implement AML. The sector provides products and services that are vulnerable to ML and TF, including the development of land, the construction of new buildings and their subsequent sale. Also, the real estate business is exposed to high-risk clients, including PEPs, notably from Asia10 and foreign investors (including from locations of concern).

53. Other activities, such as the mining of diamonds, dealing in high value goods, virtual currencies and open loop prepaid cards, are subject to higher ML/TF vulnerability.1112 The NRA classifies the virtual currency sector as having high vulnerability, in particular convertible virtual currencies due to the increased anonymity that they can provide as well as their ease of access and high degree of transferability. White-label automated teller machine (ATM) operators are vulnerable to ML/TF. According to the RCMP, OCGs use white-label ATMs to launder POC in Canada. The money withdrawn has previously been deposed into a bank accounts controlled by OCGs through third parties.

54. Legal persons and legal arrangements are inherently vulnerable to misuse for ML/TF purposes to a high degree. There is no legal requirement for legal persons and entities to record and maintain beneficial ownership information. Accordingly, companies and trusts can be structured to conceal the beneficial owner and can be used to disguise and convert illicit proceeds. Privately-held corporate entities can also be established relatively anonymously in Canada. Express trusts have global reach; Canadians and non-residents can establish Canadian trusts in Canada or abroad.

55. Full-service MSBs are vulnerable to ML/TF as they are widely accessible and exposed to clients in vulnerable businesses or occupations, and clients conducting activities in locations of concern. Drug traffickers are particularly frequent users of MSBs.13

International Dimension of ML/TF Vulnerabilities

56. Some of Canada’s key attributes (e.g., political and economic stability, well-developed international trade networks, cultural environment, and highly developed financial system and regulatory environment)14 also make it attractive to those seeking to launder money or finance terrorism. Canada’s appeal as an investment setting also makes it an attractive destination for foreign POC.

57. Canada and the U.S. share the longest international border in the world, at over 8,800 kilometers. Some passages are unguarded and provide opportunity for criminals to move easily between both countries. OCGs in Canada and the U.S. actively exploit the border for criminal gain. Both countries endeavor to tackle this vulnerability through close cooperation and careful monitoring of threats.

58. Outflows of POC generated within Canada appear to be moderate in comparison with the inflows of POC. Illicit proceeds from cocaine sales in Canada are often smuggled into the U.S. Canadian individuals and corporations use tax havens and offshore financial centers to evade taxes, in particular those located in the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

59. Canada’s multiethnic and multicultural character also leaves the country vulnerable to exploitation by OCGs seeking to launder POC or terrorist organizations looking to conceal themselves within law-abiding diaspora communities to finance and promote terrorist activities. Some terrorist groups have also been known to use extortion to gain power over individuals to further their objectives, including by extorting funds from diaspora communities in Canada.15 Moreover, informal diaspora remittances are open to criminal interference because they circumvent exchange controls and can therefore facilitate ML.

Country’s Risk Assessment and Scoping of Higher Risk Issues

60. The Canadian authorities recently undertook a comprehensive ML/TF NRA. They prepared a classified, restricted NRA report that was shared within the government, as well as a shorter, public version that was published in July 2015.

61. The NRA weighs ML/TF threats against the inherent vulnerabilities of sectors (i.e., to assess the likelihood of ML/TF) and then maps those inherent potential risk scenarios using ratings (i.e., very high, high, medium, low) of individual threat and vulnerability profiles. The threats analyzed included some related to sectors that are not currently subject to the PCMLTFA (e.g., check cashing businesses, closed-loop pre-paid access, financing and leasing companies). Ratings serve to illustrate the relative importance of various factors/elements/components relevant to ML/TF. Metrics were based on judgments and were heavily reliant on subject-matter experts’ input and readily available information. Based on this approach, all assessed sectors and products were found to be potentially exposed to inherent ML risks while a more limited number of them were found to be exposed to inherent TF risks.

62. While the NRA findings did not contain major unexpected revelations regarding inherent ML or TF threats, the authorities reported that the exercise revealed the magnitude of the threat affecting the real estate sectors and arising from third-party money launderers.

Scoping of Higher Risk Issues

63. The assessment team gave increased attention to the following issues which it considered posed the highest ML/TF risk in Canada or warranted more thorough discussions:

  • Third-party money launderers (e.g., professional money launderers): The NRA found that large-scale and sophisticated ML operations in Canada, notably those connected to transnational OCGs, frequently involve professional money launderers;

  • Exposure of the Canadian economy to international ML/TF activities (i.e., deposit taking sector, real estate sector, and illicit outflows from Canada to so-called tax haven jurisdictions): A number of sectors are highly vulnerable to ML/TF linked to foreign countries, notably due to the openness of the Canadian economy, the volume of international migrants and visitors, a large and accessible financial system, and a well-developed international trading system;

  • Inflows and outflows of POC (including with respect to fraud, corruption, OCG and tax evasion): A better understanding of the nature and magnitude of the inflows and outflows of POC was sought to analyze how Canadian regulators and banks are mitigating the risks of the banking system and to evaluate the effectiveness of international cooperation efforts;

  • Sanctioning of ML activities (i.e., all ML offenses) and confiscation of POC: The team gathered information on the number and nature of investigations, prosecutions, sanctions imposed and confiscations related to ML and the main predicate offenses in order to analyze trends since the 2008 MER; and Transparency of legal persons and trusts: The high level of vulnerability of Canadian legal persons and arrangements is reflected by the high level of threat of third-party ML, the inoperativeness of AML/CFT requirements to legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries, and the frequent use of front companies by OCGs.

B. Materiality

64. Canada has a large and diversified economy, with assets totaling about 500 percent of GDP.16 In 2014, 70 percent of the economy was devoted to services, while manufacturing and primary sectors accounted for the remaining 30 percent17 International trade represents more than 60 percent of Canada’s GDP. Most of Canada’s trade is with the U.S. (74 percent of export and 64 percent of import) followed by China and Mexico.18

65. Canada’s financial system plays a key role in the Canadian economy and the global financial system. Canadian FIs provide substantial services to non-residents. The financial system is dominated by banks that total 42 percent of the financial sector assets, and by a handful of players in most sectors. The D-SIBs hold 93 percent of bank assets. The IMF’s 2014 Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) found that Canada’s regulatory and supervisory framework demonstrates strong compliance with prudential international standards. Responsibility for supervision of FIs and markets is divided among federal and provincial authorities. The majority of the prudential supervision of the financial sector is regulated at the federal level by OSFI, though a significant segment is subject to provincial regulation.19 In regard to prudential and business conduct, financial supervision is generally well coordinated across the federal oversight bodies.

Financial Sector and DNFBPs

66. There are approximately 30,000 REs subject to the PCMLTFA.

Table 1.

Entities by Sector (as of November 2015)

article image
article image

While independent insurance agents and brokers are not directly covered under the PCMLTFA, life insurance companies may use agents or brokers to ascertain the identity of clients on the basis of a written agreement or arrangement, which must conform to the requirements of PCMLTFR, s.64.1.

67. The broader deposit taking sector includes trust and loan companies. Canada’s largest trust and loan companies are subsidiaries of major banks. Some trusts have provincial charters and are regulated at that level of government. Credit unions and caisses populaires are provincially incorporated and may not operate outside provincial borders. Relative to banks, these entities are minor participants in the deposit-taking sector. However, caisses populaires represent a large portion of the deposit-taking sector in the province of Quebec.

68. The insurance industry is an important player in the financial services sector, providing almost one-fifth of all financing to Canadian companies. Canadian-owned insurers take in more than 70 percent of total Canadian premium income. Canadian companies are also active abroad, especially in south-east Asia, generating more than half of their premium income from foreign operations.

C. Structural Elements

69. The key structural elements for effective AML/CFT controls are present in Canada. Canada is generally considered to be a very stable democracy. Political and institutional stability, accountability, the rule of law and an independent judiciary are all well established. There also appears to be a high-level political commitment to improve the effectiveness of Canada’s AML/CFT regime, as evidenced by the Economic Action Plans 2014 and 2015.20,21 However, LEAs’ resources are generally insufficient to pursue complex ML cases.

70. Canada has an independent, efficient, and transparent Justice System. The judicial process is widely trusted and effective, as well as relatively quick.

71. Canada has a comprehensive legal framework that governs the protection of personal information of individuals in both the public and private sectors. The primary source of constitutionally enforced privacy rights is Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) oversees compliance with both federal privacy laws (see Box 1 below). Every province has its own privacy law and the relevant provincial act applies to provincial government agencies instead of the federal legislation. The Canadian regime is implemented while seeking an appropriate balanced between privacy and security considerations. In that regard, in 2012 the OPC issued guidance for REs regarding reporting suspicions to FINTRAC, in light of their customers’ privacy rights.22

Legal Framework for Information and Data Protection in Canada

The primary source of privacy rights is Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides protection against unreasonable search and seizure by authorities. This means, generally, that in situations where the person concerned has a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to an object or document, in order for the state (i.e., government authorities such as LEAs) to have access to these items, prior judicial authorization will need to be obtained. Where such access is sought for the purposes of a criminal investigation, LEAs will generally seek to obtain a search warrant or a production order from a Canadian court. The latter is typically used for access to financial information held by a third party, such as a FI. “Reasonable grounds to believe” that an offense has been committed is the legal standard of proof in Canadian Law for the court to issue the appropriate order. In addition, it is necessary to demonstrate that evidence of the offense is to be found in the place to be searched. In certain cases, such as in relation to certain types of financial information, a lower legal standard of “reasonable grounds to suspect” applies.

At the federal level, Canada has two different privacy acts which are enforced by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The Privacy Act regulates the handling of personal information by federal government departments and agencies. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to the commercial transactions of organizations that operate in Canada’s private sector. PIPEDA applies to all private sector entities in Canada, except in provinces that have enacted substantially similar legislation. Every Canadian province and territory has its own privacy law and the relevant provincial act applies to provincial government agencies instead of the federal legislation.

The Privacy Act lists 13 uses and disclosures that might be permissible without the consent of the individual (e.g., national security, law enforcement, public interest). Canadian law provides for lawful access to law enforcement and national security agencies to legally intercept private communications and the lawful search and seizure of information, including computer data, without the consent of either the sender or receiver to investigate serious crimes, including ML and threats to national security, such as terrorism. Lawful access is provided for in the CC, the CSIS Act, the Competition Act and other acts.

The Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) provides law enforcement and national security agencies powers to obtain electronic search warrants. The ATA also allows Canadian intelligence agencies to intercept communications of Canadians in Canada, and allows the Attorney General to prevent the disclosure of information on the grounds of national security.

Under the PCMLTFA, FINTRAC receives detailed personal information through reports from REs, which can then be provided to the CRA (in cases which include tax matters), CSIS, CBSA, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (in cases which include immigration matters) or to LEAs (e.g., when the information is relevant to the investigation and prosecution of ML or TF offenses).

D. Background and other Contextual Factors

72. Canada ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. It enjoys a high rate of financial inclusion, with 96 percent of the population having an account with a formal FI. Canadian banks and other FIs operate an extensive network of more than 6,000 branches, and around 60,000 ATMs of which about 16,900 are bank-owned (the rest are white-label ATMs).23

73. The authorities have identified corruption as a high-risk issue for ML. Recent assessments of Canada’s implementation of international anti-corruption conventions indicate a rather moderate range of positive outcomes in identifying and sanctioning cases of corruption and implementing structures and systems to prevent corruption.24 Nevertheless, corruption does not appear to hinder the implementation of the AML/CFT regime. Canada is ranked as 9 out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Perception Index (with a score of 83/100).25

AML/CFT Strategy

74. As formulated in Budget 2014, the Government’s priority in regards to AML/CFT is to improve the ability to trace and detect criminal funds in Canada. Besides law enforcement goals, this priority also aims to protect the tax base by supporting the Government’s efforts to ensure tax compliance. Addressing this priority requires improving corporate transparency.

75. Canada does not have formal ’stand-alone’ AML, CFT, or PF strategies. There is, however, a set of relevant policies and strategies: the National Identity Crime Strategy (RCMP 2011); National Border Risk Assessment 2013–2015 (CBSA); 2014–16 Border Risk Management Plan (CBSA); Enhanced Risk Assessment Model and Sector profiles (FINTRAC); AMLC Division AML and CFT Methodology and Assessment Processes (OSFI); Risk Ranking Criteria (OSFI); RBA to identify registered charities and organizations seeking registration that are at risk of potential abuse by terrorist entities and/or associated individuals (CRA) and CRA-RAD Audit Selection process. The RCMP recently developed its National Strategy to Combat ML.26 These AML strategies and policies are linked to the Canadian Law Enforcement Strategy on Organized Crime adopted by senior police officials across Canada in 2011.

76. The Government’s other main AML/CFT concerns are reflected in Finance Canada’s Annual Report on Plans and Priorities,27 which describes the AML/CFT regime’s spending plans, priorities and expected results. Canada’s CFT strategy policy guidance is derived from its 2012 Counter-terrorism Strategy.28 This comprehensive Strategy guides more than 20 federal departments and agencies to better align them to address terrorist threats, including in regard to CFT activity and initiatives. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, in consultation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, is responsible for the Strategy’s implementation. Similarly, the country’s PF strategy forms part of the broader strategy to counter the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Legal and Institutional Framework

77. Canada’s AML/CFT regime is organized as a horizontal federal program comprised of a large number of federal departments and agencies. Finance Canada is the domestic and international policy lead for the regime, and is responsible for its overall coordination, including guiding and informing strategic implementation of the RBA. It chairs the four main governing bodies of Canada’s AML/CFT regime, namely:

  • The interdepartmental Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Level Steering Committee, which was established to direct and coordinate the government’s efforts to combat ML and TF activities. The ADM Committee and its working group consists of representatives of all partners;29

  • The Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee (ICC), which provides a forum for government working-level stakeholders30 to assess the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the regime;

  • The National ML/TF Risk Assessment Committee (NRAC) provides a forum for regime and ad hoc partners to exchange information on risks and discuss about ML/TF risks in Canada and their mitigation; and

  • The Public Private Sector Advisory Committee (PPSAC) which is a discussion and advisory committee, with membership from (federal public sector) regime partners and private sector REs, as well as provincial law enforcement31

78. The AML/CFT regime operates on the basis of three interdependent pillars: (i) policy and coordination; (ii) prevention and detection; and (iii) investigation and disruption. On this basis, the following are the primary ministries, agencies, and authorities responsible for formulating and implementing Canada’s AML/CFT policies (i.e., the regime partners):

Policy and Coordination

  • Finance Canada is the lead agency of the regime, responsible for developing AML/CFT policy related to domestic and international commitments.

  • Department of Justice Canada (DOJ) is responsible for the drafting and amending of statutory provisions dealing with criminal law and procedure, and to negotiate and administer mutual legal assistance (MLA) and extradition treaties.

  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC)32 is responsible for the designation of entities and individuals in Canada associated with terrorist activities listed by the United Nations 1267 Sanctions Committee or under Resolution 1373 of the United Nations Security Council. GAC also chairs the Counter-Proliferation Operations Committee, coordinating responses to threats within Canada.

  • Public Safety Canada (PSC, previously known as Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) chairs the Threat Resourcing Working Group and ensures coordination across all federal departments and agencies responsible for national security and the safety of Canadians, including on terrorist financing matters. It is responsible for the listing of terrorist entities under the Criminal Code and co-chairs the Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on Terrorist Listings.

Prevention and Detection

  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is Canada’s financial intelligence unit. It is also responsible for supervising and monitoring all REs’ compliance with the PCMLTFA.

  • Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) prudentially supervises FRFIs.

  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED, former Industry Canada) collects information about business corporations, including the business name and address, and information about the directors.

  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) ensures that the necessary safeguards protecting privacy are upheld. The Privacy Commissioner has the ability to audit the public (e.g., FINTRAC) and private sector to ensure privacy laws are respected. The OPC is required to conduct a privacy audit of FINTRAC every two years.

Investigation and Disruption

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is Canada’s main law enforcement agency (LEA) responsible for investigating predicate offenses, ML and TF.

  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) is responsible for prosecuting criminal offenses under federal jurisdiction. It also provides legal advice to the RCMP and other LEAs over the course of their investigations, and for undertaking any subsequent prosecutions.

  • Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)—the CRA’s Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) investigates cases of suspected tax evasion/tax fraud and seeks prosecution through the PPSC where warranted. The CRA also has responsibility for administering the registration system for charities under the Income Tax Act through its Charities Directorate.

  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) enforces the physical cross-border reporting obligation.

  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) collects, analyzes and reports to the Government of Canada information and intelligence concerning threats to Canada’s national security.

  • Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC, previously Public Works and Government Services Canada), under the Seized Property Management Directorate (SPMD), is responsible for managing assets seized or restrained by law enforcement in connection with criminal offenses and for disposing and sharing the proceeds upon court declared forfeitures.

79. The AML/CFT regime is also supported by a number of other partners including: provincial, territorial and municipal LEAs, provincial and territorial financial sector regulators, and self-regulatory organizations.

80. Canada’s AML/CFT framework is established in the PCMLTFA, supported by other key statutes, including the Criminal Code (CC). The Parliament of Canada undertakes a comprehensive review of the PCMLTFA every five years. The Government announced a series of measures to enhance the AML/CFT regime in Budget 2014, which received Royal Assent in June 2014. Accordingly, amended Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (PCMLTFR) were released in draft form for consultation by the Government on July 4, 2015.

Proliferation Financing

81. The principal legislation governing Canada’s export control system is the Export and Import Control Permits Act (EIPA), which provides for the requirements for exporters to report goods to the Government of Canada and for the enforcement of national control lists. The Customs Act and Canada Border Services Agency Act provide the CBSA with the authority to enforce Canada’s export legislation. The country’s efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and, to some extent, its financing, are carried out by the following agencies: PSC (coordination of counter-proliferation policy and main operational partner); Global Affairs Canada (lead on international engagement on non-proliferation and disarmament and chairs the Counter-Proliferation Operations Committee); CBSA (law enforcement regarding the illicit export and proliferation of strategic goods and technology); Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (licensing of nuclear-related activities); PWGSC (administers the Controlled Goods Program); FINTRAC (discloses financial intelligence that can assist in investigations and prosecutions); RCMP (enforces the counter-proliferation regime, investigates related criminal offenses, collects and analyzes evidence to support prosecutions in court); the Public Health Agency of Canada (national authority on biosafety and biosecurity for human pathogens and toxins); and Finance (responsible for safeguarding Canada’s financial system from illegitimate use, through the PCMLTFA and associated regulations, and the overall coordination of Canada’s AML/CFT regime domestically and internationally).

Preventive Measures

82. The legal framework relevant to the preventive measures includes the PCMLTFA, the OSFI Act and the FRFIs’ governing legislation (i.e., the Bank Act, Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Cooperative Credit Associations Act and the Insurance Companies Act). The PCMLTFA is applicable to most of the financial activities and DNFBPs.

Legal Persons and Arrangements

a) Overview of Legal Persons

83. Canada’s company law consists of federal, provincial and territorial frameworks. Legal entities may be established at the federal level under the Canada Business Corporation Act (CBCA); the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (NFP Act), or the Canada Cooperatives Act (CCA). A federally incorporated entity is entitled to operate throughout Canada. However, provincial and territorial law requires federal entities to register with the province or territory in which the entity is carrying out business. Incorporation on the federal level is carried out by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED, formerly Industry Canada) is responsible for the incorporation of federal corporate entities, while each province has its own system for incorporating and administering legal entities.

84. There are over 2.6 million corporations incorporated in Canada, including almost 4,000 publicly-traded companies. About 91 percent of corporations are incorporated at the provincial or territorial levels and the remaining 9 percent at the federal level. Bearer shares are permitted in most provinces and at the federal level, but seem to be rarely used. There is also a relatively small market for stock warrants. All companies are obliged to file tax returns with the CRA on an annual basis. Provincial legal entities incorporated in Alberta and Quebec must also file tax returns with the provincial tax authorities.

85. Partnerships are created under provincial law only and, other than limited partnerships, are created under the rules of the common law although subject to laws that codify and regulate certain aspects of the partnership. In contrast, limited partnerships are created under statute and subject to ongoing registration requirements.

b) Overview of Legal Arrangements

86. The only form of legal arrangement that exists in Canada is the trust in form of testamentary or inter vivos trust. There is no general requirement for trusts to be registered, but Canadian resident trusts and certain foreign-resident trusts are subject to obligations to file information under the income tax laws. Specific-purpose trusts such as unit or mutual fund trusts are also subject to the securities laws of the relevant province. Trusts created under the laws of Quebec are required to register in some instances. According to the NRA, the total number of Canadian trusts is estimated in the millions. As of 2007, only 210,000 trusts filed tax returns with the CRA.

c) International Context for Legal Persons and Arrangements

87. According to the UNCTAD 2014 World Investment Report, Canada ranks amongst the top ten countries both with respect to inflowing and outflowing foreign direct investment, with much of the activity taking place in the manufacturing and oil and gas sectors. Canada received over US$53 billion of foreign direct investment in 2014 coming mostly from the EU, the U.S., and China. On the outflow, Canada invested approximately US$52 billion abroad in 2014, mostly in the EU and the U.S. While detailed figures are not available with respect to foreign ownership of Canadian companies, the statistics provided by the UNCTAD leads to the conclusion that foreign ownership of Canadian legal entities is significant. Canada is not perceived as an international center for the creation or administration of legal persons or arrangements.

d) Supervisory Arrangements

88. Financial regulation is shared by a number of government bodies in Canada. The Bank of Canada has overall responsibility for financial stability, as well as for the conduct of monetary policy and the issuance of currency. As mentioned above, OSFI supervises and regulates FRFIs (banks and insurance companies, trust and loan companies, cooperative credit associations, fraternal benefit societies, and private pension plans). All banks, including branch operations of foreign banks, are regulated solely at the federal level. The securities sector including in respect of mutual funds, is currently regulated on a province by province basis with connections between the provinces through the Canadian Securities Administrators Association. Markets for securities and collective investments are overseen by provincial securities commissions, which coordinate their activities through the Canadian Securities Administrators.33

89. In March 2013, FINTRAC and OSFI entered into an agreement to conduct concurrent examinations to improve the effectiveness and cohesion of supervision and allocation of resources, and to reduce the regulatory burden on FRFIs. FINTRAC and OSFI thus concurrently assess FRFIs’ AML/CFT compliance and risk management regimes using a RBA. FINTRAC and OSFI mutually share information under a MoU was signed in 2004 with respect to FRFIs. At the provincial level, FINTRAC conducts AML/CFT supervision on non-FRFIs with the cooperation of other national and provincial supervisors under various MOUs.

National AML/CFT Policies and Coordination

A. Key Findings

The Canadian authorities have a good understanding of the country’s main ML/TF risks and have an array of mitigating measures at their disposal. Canada’s NRA is comprehensive, and also takes into account some activities not currently subject to the AML/CFT measures.

All high-risk areas are covered by AML/CFT measures, except activities listed in the standard performed by legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries, which is a significant loophole in Canada’s AML/CFT framework, and online casinos, open loop prepaid cards, and white label ATMs.

FIs and casinos have a good understanding of the risks. Other DNFBPs, and in particular those active in the real estate sector, do not have a similarly good understanding.

Law enforcement action focus is not entirely commensurate with the ML risk emanating from high-risk offenses identified in the NRA.

Cooperation and coordination are good at both the policy and operational levels, except, in some provinces, in the context of the dialogue between LEAs and the PPSC.

Communication of the NRA findings to the private sector was delayed, but is in progress.

B. Recommended Actions

Canada should:

  • Mitigate the risk emanating from legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries in their performance of the activities listed in the standard.

  • Strengthen policies and strategies to address emerging ML risks (in particular white label ATMs and online casinos).

  • Review LEAs’ priorities in light of the findings of the NRA.

  • In the context of the update of the NRA, examine more closely ML linked to tax evasion, corruption, legal persons and arrangements, third-party ML and foreign sources of POC and use results to implement mitigating actions.

The relevant Immediate Outcome considered and assessed in this chapter is IO.1. The recommendations relevant for the assessment of effectiveness under this section are R.1–2.

C. Immediate Outcome 1 (Risk, Policy and Coordination)

90. As indicated in Chapter 1 above, Canada completed in 2015 a national assessment of the inherent ML/TF risks that it faces. The process and main findings of the NRA are described above.

Country’s Understanding of its ML/TF Risks

91. The authorities’ understanding of ML/TF risks has been forged through the development of several national threat and risks assessments undertaken by different governmental agencies over the past decade on related matters (see Criterion 2.1). The Parliament’s Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce undertakes a comprehensive review of the PCMLTFA every five years. As a result of the most recent review (completed in 2013),34 the Government introduced legislative amendments in 2014 to address the Committee’s recommendations (e.g., including measures to strengthen CDD requirements, improve compliance, monitoring and enforcement and enhance information sharing). The authorities demonstrated a sound understanding of the issues highlighted in Chapter 1, including a good understanding of the linkages between the threats and inherent vulnerabilities of the different sectors and the domestic and foreign offenses that are a source of most of the ML/TF35 in the country. The NRA process has also contributed to a deeper understanding of the powers, resources and operational needs of all regime partners. NRAC ensures that all regime partners generally have a similar level of understanding of the ML/TF risks.

92. Following the publication of the NRA in July 2015, the NRAC concluded a gap analysis in September 2015 to categorize the residual risks (i.e., the risk remaining after the mitigation of the identified threats and inherent vulnerabilities) and identify and prioritize the actions required to mitigate the risk. The review and updating of the NRA is expected to be finalized by the fall of 2016. The authorities indicated that as new, improved controls are put in place, the residual risk will be an indicator of the areas that remain pending to be addressed. As of the date of the onsite visit, it was not possible to establish if the publication of the NRA has led to improvements of the RE’s level of compliance with AML/CFT requirements.

National Policies to Address Identified ML/TF Risks

93. The adjustment of the national policies and strategies related to the identified ML/TF risks is in its early stages and no updates have been completed. The authorities have been addressing the inherent risks identified in different ways including through ongoing policy coordination through NRAC, the discussion of draft amendments to the PCMLTF Regulations, adjusted supervisory priorities, more focused police investigations, and amendments to the law regarding the seizure of illicit assets, among others.

94. On the basis of the NRA, a package of regulatory amendments was issued in July 2015 for public comment. The government is now moving forward with final publication and the Regulations will come into force one year after registration of the regulations. Canada is preparing a second package of regulatory amendments based on the NRA, including measures to cover pre-paid payment products (e.g., prepaid cards), virtual currency as well as money service businesses without a physical presence in Canada in the AML/CFT Regime. The authorities are also revisiting the PCMLTFA provisions relating to legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries, in order to bring forward new provisions for the legal professional that would be constitutionally compliant. Furthermore, also informed by the NRA results, FINTRAC and OSFI are reviewing their RBA to supervision, the RCMP developed its Money Laundering Strategy, and the CBSA is reviewing its Cross-Border Currency Reporting program.

95. As discussed in Chapter 1, Canada’s CFT strategy policy guidance is derived from its 2012 Counter-Terrorism Strategy. The PS coordinates Canada’s counter-proliferation policy approach across the government, which includes PF.

Exemptions, Enhanced and Simplified Measures

96. Canada’s AML/CFT framework does not provide for simplified CDD measures, but the PCMLTFR provide a small number of exceptions to REs based on the risk circumstances and products (see Criterion 10.18). These exemptions correspond to lower-risk scenarios that are consistent with the NRA findings in regard to FIs (i.e., in regard to life insurance companies, brokers, or agents).

Objectives and Activities of Competent Authorities

97. FINTRAC and OSFI objectives and activities are largely consistent with the ML and TF risks in Canada, as detailed in the NRA. With the exception of the legal professions (other than BC notaries), the supervisory coverage is adequate.

98. Law enforcement action is focused on LEAs current priorities, which include drug-related offenses and OCGs, but is not commensurate with the ML risk emanating from these and other types of offenses.

99. In terms of the resources required, the Government’s Economic Action Plans for 2014 and 2015 included a commitment to ensuring that law enforcement and security agencies have the investigative resources and tools to address the threats presented by OGCs, ML and terrorism and to further their understanding of Canada’s ML/TF risks. Nevertheless, the authorities advised the assessors that all regime partners are under significant pressures at the working level given the increased terrorist threats and combined with the increased threat of professional ML with transnational organized crimes and the number competing priorities.

National Coordination and Cooperation

100. AML/CFT policy cooperation and coordination to address Canada’s ML/TF risks is adequate—with the exception of the dialogue between LEAs and the PPS in some provinces, which is currently insufficient—and constitutes an essential strength of the Canadian AML/CFT framework, as evidenced by the organization and process of the NRA. Canada has wide-ranging arrangements in place for AML/CFT coordination and cooperation at both the policy and operational levels, including with respect to strategic and tactical information sharing (see R.2). Coordination and cooperation at the policy design platform is exceptional.

101. The NRA has allowed the identification and inclusion of new partners for AML/CFT (e.g., Defence Research and Development Canada and Environment Canada), and to reconsider the roles and responsibilities of traditional partners that gained a more prominent role in the fight of ML/TF over the years given enhanced understanding of ML/TF risks (e.g., Industry Canada). Overall, the public version of the NRA is of good quality and is drafted in an accessible language. Moreover, the assessment process has yielded reasonable findings that broadly reflect the country’s ML/TF context and risk environment.

Private Sector’s Awareness of Risks

102. The public version of the NRA had not been circulated widely at the time of the onsite visit, due to a broader prohibition on the federal public service undertaking consultations with private sector stakeholders during the August to October 2015 federal election campaign. However, the public NRA has been made available on Finance Canada’s, OSFI’s and FINTRAC’s website since July 2015.36 The report was also shared with the PPSAC. As of the dates of the onsite visit, the authorities had not formally presented the results of the communication strategy for the broader private sector, but were in the process of reaching out to selected FIs. FINTRAC also provides access to guidelines, Interpretation Notices reports on current and emerging trends and typologies in ML and TF on its website to assist FIs and DNFBPs.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 1

103. Canada has achieved a substantial level of effectiveness for IO.1.

Legal System and Operational Issues

A. Key Findings


Financial intelligence and other relevant information are accessed by FINTRAC to some extent, and by LEAs to a greater extent but through a much lengthier process.

They are then used by LEAs to some extent to investigate predicate crimes and TF, and, to a more limited extent, to investigate ML and trace assets.

FINTRAC receives a wide range of information, which it uses adequately to produce intelligence. This intelligence is mainly prepared in response to Voluntary Information Records (VIRs; i.e., LEAs’ requests) and used to enrich ongoing investigations into the predicate offenses. FINTRAC also makes proactive disclosures to LEAs, some of which have prompted new investigations.

Several factors significantly curtail the scope of the FIU’s analysis—and consequently the intelligence disclosed to LEAs—in particular: the impossibility for FINTRAC to request from any RE additional information related to suspicions of ML/TF or predicate offense, the absence of reports from some key gatekeepers (i.e., legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries), and the inability for FINTRAC to access to information detained by the tax administration. This is compensated by LEAs in their investigations to some extent only due to challenges in the identification of the person or entity who may hold relevant information.

FINTRAC also produces a significant quantity of strategic reports that usefully advise LEAs, intelligence agencies, policy makers, REs, international partners, and the public, on new ML/TF trends and typologies.

FINTRAC and the LEAs cooperate effectively and exchange information and financial intelligence in a secure way.


Canada identifies and investigates ML to some extent only. While a number of PPOC cases are pursued, overall, the results obtained so far are not commensurate with Canada’s ML risks.

LEAs have the necessary tools to obtain information, including beneficial ownership information, but the process is lengthy.

In some provinces, such as Quebec, federal, provincial, and municipal authorities are relatively more effective in pursuing ML.

Nevertheless, overall, as a result of inadequate alignment of current law enforcement priorities with the findings of the NRA and of resource constraints, LEAs’ efforts are aimed mainly at drug offenses and fraud, with insufficient focus on the other main ML risks (corruption, tobacco smuggling, standalone ML, third-party ML, ML of foreign predicate offenses). In addition, investigations generally do not focus on legal entities and trusts (despite the high risk of misuse), especially when more complex corporate structures are involved.

There is a high percentage of withdrawals and stays of proceedings in prosecution.

Sanctions imposed in ML cases are not sufficiently dissuasive.


Canada has made some progress since its last evaluation in terms of asset recovery, but the fact that assets of equivalent value cannot be recovered hampers Canada’s recovery of POC.

Confiscation results do not adequately reflect Canada’s main ML risks, neither by nature nor by scale.

Results are unequal, with some provinces, such as Quebec, being significantly more effective, and achieving good results with adequately coordinated action (both at the provincial level and with the RCMP) and units specialized in asset recovery.

Administrative efforts to recover evaded taxes appear more effective.

Sanctions are not dissuasive in instances of failure to properly declare cross-border movements of currency and bearer negotiable instruments.

B. Recommended Actions

Canada should:


  • Increase timely access to financial intelligence. Authorize FINTRAC to request and obtain from any RE further information related to suspicions of ML, predicate offenses and TF in order to enhance its analysis capacity.

  • Use financial intelligence to a greater extent to investigate ML and trace assets.

  • Analyze and, where necessary, investigate further information resulting from undeclared or falsely declared cross-border transportation of cash and bearer negotiable instruments.

  • Ensure that LEAs and FINTRAC can identify accounts and access records held by FIs/DNFBPs in a timely fashion.

  • Consider granting FINTRAC access to information collected by the CRA for the purposes of its analysis of STRs.


  • Increase efforts to detect, pursue, and bring before the courts cases of ML related to high-risk predicate offenses other than drugs and fraud (i.e., corruption and tobacco smuggling), as well as third-party ML, self-laundering, laundering of POC of foreign predicate offenses, and the misuse of legal persons and trusts in ML activities.

  • Ensure that LEAs have adequate resources (in terms of number and expertise) for ML investigations.

  • Engage prosecutors at an earlier stage for securing relevant evidence for ML/PPOC prosecutions in order to limit instances where charges are dropped at the judicial process and minimize waste of resources in ML investigations.

  • Ensure that effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions for ML are applied.


  • Ensure that asset recovery is pursued as a policy objective throughout the territory.

  • Make a greater use of the available tools to seize and restraint POC other than drug-related instrumentalities and cash (i.e., including other assets, e.g., accounts, businesses, and companies, property or money located abroad), especially proceeds of corruption, including foreign corruption, and other major asset generating crimes.

  • Amend the legal framework to allow for the confiscation of property of equivalent value.

  • Consider increasing the sanctions and seizures related to falsely declared or undeclared cross-border movements of currency and bearer negotiable instruments.

The relevant Immediate Outcomes considered and assessed in this chapter are IO.6–8. The recommendations relevant for the assessment of effectiveness under this section are R.3, R.4, and R.29–32.

C. Immediate Outcome 6 (Financial Intelligence ML/TF)

Use of Financial Intelligence and other Information

104. Financial intelligence derives from a wide range of information collected by LEAs and received by FINTRAC. Both processes are closely linked. FINTRAC’s main financial intelligence product takes the form of disclosures made in response to LEAs’ requests (i.e., voluntary information records, VIRs). FINTRAC also disseminates information to LEAs spontaneously (i.e., through “proactive disclosures”).

105. LEAs request and obtain financial information held by the private sector either through a court warrant or a production order, when they can establish (as per the CC) that assets are POC. To obtain this judicial authorization, LEAs must identify the FI/DNFBP or entity that holds the information (i.e., account or assets owned or controlled, financial transactions or operation). Various methods are available (see TCA criterion 24.10) and used in practice, such as “grid searches,” VIRs to FINTRAC, and consultation of other sources of information as well as use of a range of investigative activities. In Ontario (where the major D-SIBs have their headquarters), “grid searches” are frequently conducted: LEAs send a request to the six D-SIBs (as they dominate about 80 percent of the deposit-taking market) inquiring whether a particular person is amongst their customers. If there is indication that this person is in business relationships with another FI or with a DNFBP, a request will be sent to that RE as well. Once a D-SIB (or other RE) confirms that a specific person is its customer, the LEAs apply for a court order requiring the D-SIB to produce the relevant account and beneficial ownership information, as well as transaction records. If necessary, the production is staged to expedite the procedure (i.e., the specific information stated in the order is produced first, and the remainder of the information is provided at a later stage). Nevertheless, the D-SIBs typically take up to several weeks to provide basic and beneficial ownership information to the LEA. As result of the time required at the initial stage (i.e., identification of the relevant RE that may hold the information), as well as the time imparted to implement the production order, it frequently takes 45–90 days before LEAs can obtain the initial transaction records of potential POCs. If the culprit uses numerous layering techniques before integration, it takes LEAs several months or even years to trace POCs. The outlined process is useful only if the persons under investigation bank with the D-SIBs or one of the other large FIs. In cases where a targeted person or entity is in a business relationship with a smaller FI or a DNFBP, the tracing of assets is far more burdensome; given the size of Canada and its financial and non-financial sectors, it is not possible for LEAs to check with each FI and DNFBP individually whether it holds relevant information. In these instances, the identification of the relevant FI or DNFBPs relies on other potentially lengthier methods (e.g., surveillance).

106. LEAs frequently obtain financial information and intelligence from FINTRAC, with or without prior judicial authorization. Most often, they request the information by sending VIRs (which do not require prior judicial authorization). This provides LEAs with a quicker access to the information they need to obtain the judicial authorization (but timeliness of production of requested information remains a challenge). The number of VIRs has increased steadily over the years.37 This indicates a greater appetite for and appreciation of FINTRAC’s reports.38 Most LEAs expressed their satisfaction with the richness of FINTRAC’s responses to VIRs and mentioned that these responses adequately supplement their ongoing investigations.39 In 2011, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police also recognized the contribution of financial intelligence, and called on all Canadian LEAs to include financial intelligence in their investigations and share their targets with FINTRAC.40

107. FINTRAC also provides information to LEAs on a spontaneous basis, through proactive disclosures, both in instances linked to ongoing investigation and in cases that identify new potential targets. Between January 1, 2010 and November 31, 2015, the RCMP received 2,497 FINTRAC disclosures, 867 of which were proactive.41 Of these proactive disclosures, the authorities indicated that 599 generated a new investigation.42 Very few resulted in ML charges (see IO.6.3 and IO.7). The cases communicated to and discussed with the assessors highlighted that FINTRAC information (in response to VIRs and/or shared proactively) is used by LEAs mainly as a basis for securing search warrants, aiding in the selection of investigational avenues (including the identification of targets, associates, and victims) and providing clarification of relevant domestic and international bank accounts and cash flows.

108. Additional relevant information is used to varying degrees: (i) The RCMP and other LEAs receive relevant information from provincial Securities Commissions and recognize the value of such information in combating ML/TF in the context where corporations are identified as very highly vulnerable to be abused for ML/TF. In Toronto and Montreal, the RCMP now includes personnel from the Securities Commission (Joint Securities Intelligence Unit—SIU) to facilitate intelligence gathering, analysis, and dissemination functions. The Canadian authorities provided examples of the use of information communicated to LEAs by the “Autorité des marches financiers” (AMF) (including Project Carrefour detailed below, as well as projects Convexe, Jongleur, Incitateur, and Ilot). In these cases, the financial intelligence was used to develop the financial part of the investigation into the predicate offense, not to investigate potential ML activities. (ii) The CRA-CID also uses financial intelligence to identify potential tax evasion. (iii) The CBSA forwards to FINTRAC and to the RCMP all Cross-Border Currency reports (CBCRs) submitted by importers or exporters. It also forwards seizure reports to FINTRAC. It seems that both FINTRAC and the RCMP use the CBSA information to supplement ongoing analysis and investigations43 and that they analyze or, in the case of LEAs, investigate the CBSA information to a very limited extent, namely only when it has no link to existing cases (see IO.7). Two cases originating from this intelligence have been communicated to the assessors, including project Chun (see Box 4 in IO.7).

Project Carrefour

In December 2008, the Montreal Integrated Market Teams (IMET) Program44 initiated an investigation based on an AMF referral. The AMF is mandated by the government of Quebec to regulate the province’s financial markets and provide assistance to consumers of financial products and services. The referral indicated that individuals’ Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and other types of retirement savings accounts were being emptied using methods that avoided attention from regulatory and fiscal authorities. The scheme consisted of attracting the attention of investors, through classified ads, with RRSPs and/or other types of retirement savings accounts looking for financial aid. In order for the investors to receive that aid, they had to give up full control of their accounts. The operators of the schemes would then empty those accounts to use the funds to transact on a variety of publicly traded companies under their control, hence engaging in market manipulation. On February 15, 2011, eleven Montréal and Toronto residents were charged with various fraud related offenses committed against 120 investors. They were also charged with fraudulent manipulation of stock exchange transactions estimated at US$3 million.

109. In sum, financial intelligence is used to some extent to develop evidence and trace criminal proceeds. While a great deal of information provided by REs and others (i.e., in STRs and CBCRs) is used by FINTRAC for tactical analysis, strategic analysis, and to take supervisory action, a large part of this information is not further used by its partners for tactical cases, until it appears relevant for an ongoing investigation. Moreover, a relatively small portion of the intelligence is used for the specific purpose of pursuing ML activities.

110. Financial intelligence and other relevant information are, however, more frequently used to pursue TF. FINTRAC, in consultation with some of the other competent authorities, published advisories that assisted the FIs in their efforts to identify potential ISIL and TF-related activities and funding. Financial intelligence is accessed and used in TF investigation (see below and IO.9), and the onsite discussions as well as the authorities’ submissions indicate that FINTRAC’s proactive disclosures and responses to VIRs are appreciated by LEAs in their TF efforts.45

STRs Received and Requested by Competent Authorities

111. FINTRAC receives a significant quantity of information in various reports (see table below), which it uses to develop its financial intelligence.

Table 2.

Types of Reports Received by FINTRAC (excluding terrorist property reports)

article image
article image

112. With respect to STRs, the authorities indicated that the quality of reporting has improved over the years—notably as a result of FINTRAC’s efforts to reach out to REs—and that the information filed is particularly useful for the analysis of individual behaviors and transactional activity. Half of the STRs are sent by MSBs. Banks and credit unions and caisses populaires have submitted more STRs to the FIU in the last two years, but the number of STRs filed by DNFBPs other than casinos, while it has increased as a result of FINTRAC’s outreach efforts, remains very low (278 in 2014–2015), including those filed by the real estate sector despite the very high ML risk that it faces.46

113. The wide range of systematic reports of transactions above Can$10,000 that FINTRAC receives constitutes an important source of information which has allowed FINTRAC to detect unusual transactions, make links between suspected persons and/or detect bank accounts and other assets held by these persons.

114. Despite the important amount of information received, several factors limit the scope and depth of the analysis that the FIU can do, namely: (i) the fact that some REs listed in the standard are not required to file STRs (in particular legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries)—as a result, FINTRAC does not receive information from key gatekeepers which would otherwise prove useful to its analysis and/or highlight additional cases of potential ML; (ii) the fact that some REs, such as those active in the real estate sector, file few STRs—as a result, information on some areas of high risks is limited; (iii) delays in reporting (FINTRAC supervisory findings seem to confirm that STRs are not filed promptly but within 30 days); and (iv) the fact that FINTRAC is not authorized to request additional information related to suspicions of ML, predicate offenses or TF from any REs—as a result, FINTRAC is largely dependent on what is reported. These factors entail that it is challenging for FINTRAC to follow the flows of potential POC in certain cases. For example, when an STR indicates that suspicious funds have been transferred to another FI, FINTRAC can only follow the trail of particular activities or transactions if other intermediaries and/or the final FI have also filed an STR or another report above the required threshold. This is particularly acute when the funds transferred are divided into multiple transfers below Can$10,000. Enabling FINTRAC to request additional information from REs would considerably facilitate and strengthen the analysis and development of financial intelligence.

Operational Needs Supported by FIU Analysis and Dissemination

115. FINTRAC nevertheless provides a significant amount of financial intelligence to LEAs. Over the years, it has increased the number of disclosures sent to regime partners, both in response to VIRs and proactively. In 2014–15, the FIU sent 2,001 disclosures to partners including the RCMP, CBSA, CRA, CSIS, municipal and provincial police, as well as foreign FIUs. Of these, 923 were associated to ML, while 228 dealt with cases of TF and other threats to the security of Canada. 109 disclosures had associations with all three. Additional statistics provided showed that FINTRAC’s disseminations of financial information are appropriately spread between the different provinces.

Table 3.

FINTRAC Disclosures to Regime Partners 2/

article image

A number of disclosures may have been sent to more than one regime partner.

116. The main predicate offenses highlighted in the disclosures are drugs-related offenses (27 percent of the cases disseminated), frauds (30 percent), and tax evasion (11 percent). Between FY 2010–2011 and 2013–14, the type of predicates was stable.47 In FY 2014–2015, FINTRAC also provided information pertaining to potential other predicate offenses to ML (namely crimes against persons, child exploitation, prostitution, weapons and arms trafficking, cybercrimes, and illegal gambling).48 These predicate offenses are in line with the main domestic sources of POC identified in the NRA, except corruption and bribery, counterfeiting and piracy and tobacco smuggling and trafficking. FINTRAC’s disclosures have assisted LEAs in their ongoing investigations in a number of instances, such as in the case of project Kromite described below.

Project Kromite

In May 2013, the RCMP participated in an international investigation which focused on significant amounts of heroin being imported from source countries (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran) to Tanzania and South Africa. The investigation determined that the heroin was transported through various methods to destinations in Europe, South America, the Far East, Australia, the United States, and Canada. Profits from the distribution and sale of illicit drugs were being collected in Canada and disbursed back to the criminal organization in South Africa and Tanzania.

The RCMP sent VIRs to, and received financial disclosures from FINTRAC. The disclosures were able to identify accounts, businesses owned by the subjects and transactions which led to the identification of relevant banking information and, ultimately, to the identification of targets. The financial intelligence was used by the RCMP to collaborate with the DOJ and the PPSC to draft and issue judicial authorizations. Authorizations took various forms including four MLATs, which were issued to three foreign jurisdictions to provide a formal release of information, and Production Orders and Search Warrants that were used to trace and seize POC, both assets and funds. Formal drug-related charges under the Canada’s Controlled Drugs Substances Act were laid. The ML-related component of the investigation has been concluded and potential ML/PPOC-related charges were being prepared at the time of the assessment, but no charges had been laid.

117. FINTRAC tailors its analysis to the LEAs’ operational priorities. It focuses mainly on answering the VIRs and also discloses intelligence related to LEAs’ priorities. Regular operational meetings49 and discussions are conducted with disclosure recipients to discuss investigative priorities, analytical processes, the development of indicators, and to provide assistance regarding the use of FINTRAC intelligence. The CSIS Financial Intelligence Center (FIC), which is in charge of all financial Intelligence related to national security investigations and linked notably to terrorism and proliferation, also interacts with FINTRAC on a regular basis.

118. FINTRAC’s financial intelligence products include its analysis of all relevant information collected: the information contained in STRs, EFTRs, LCTRs, other reports and other information received or accessed by the FIU are all an integral part for developing case disseminations. As mentioned above, LEAs generally consider that FINTRAC’s disclosures provide useful supplements to their investigations and generally meet their operational needs. FINTRAC also uses the information gathered in the exercise of its AML/CFT supervisory function, as well as information from a fair range of law enforcement and administrative databases maintained by—or on behalf of—other authorities, and information from open and public sources. While this broad range of information is undeniably useful, it does not necessarily provide FINTRAC with sufficient information about the suspected person’s financial environment. In this context, it would prove particularly useful to ensure that FINTRAC has adequate access, for the purposes of the analysis of STRs, to information collected by the CRA, as this would assist FINTRAC with information that could strengthen its analysis further, such as information about a person’s or entity’s income and assets, as well as information on trust assets and trustees (see IO.5).

119. In addition to disclosures in response to VIRs and proactive disclosures, FINTRAC produced from FY 2010/11 to 2014/15, 62 strategic intelligence and research products, which identify ML/TF methods and techniques used by listed terrorist groups and criminal networks, emerging technologies, as well as vulnerabilities in different sectors. These reports support the operational needs of competent authorities and many of them are developed in collaboration with the Canadian and international security, intelligence and law enforcement communities. FINTRAC’s classified strategic financial intelligence assessments address the nature and extent of ML/TF activities inside and outside of Canada. Canadian authorities provided testimonies of some partners’ satisfaction with FINTRAC’s strategic intelligence reports.50

120. FINTRAC provides a significant amount of disclosures on TF to a variety of LEAs. FINTRAC sent 234 disclosures related to TF and other threats to the security of Canada in 2013–14, and 228 disclosures in 2014–15. These disclosures were communicated to a variety of partner agencies, including CBSA, CRA, CSIS, CSE and RCMP, as well as to municipal and provincial police, and other FIUs, and generated 40 new RCMP TF investigations in 2014 and 126 in 2015. FINTRAC has increased its disclosures regarding TF to 161 for the first six months of FY 2015–2016, of which 82 were proactive disclosures. This increase in the number of disclosure shows the involvement of the FIU in analyzing and disseminating information regarding TF.

Cooperation and Exchange of Information/Financial Intelligence

121. Most agencies adequately cooperate and exchange information including financial intelligence. FINTRAC meets with partners on a regular basis, as seen above, and the FIU focuses on priority investigations to support the LEAs’ operational needs. In particular, VIRs constitute an important channel for cooperation and information sharing between FINTRAC and LEAs, as well as between LEAs. FINTRAC may send a single disclosure to multiples agencies simultaneously, which informs LEAs that another agency is working on a case. A LEA can further disseminate a disclosure that was based on another agency’s VIR, provided that it obtains the permission from the source agency to further disseminate to the requester. In 2014–2015, FINTRAC was authorized by the source agency to disseminate further its disclosures to another LEA in some 41 percent of cases.

122. In addition, FINTRAC has direct and indirect access to LEAs and Security (i.e., intelligence services) databases. The authorities indicated that FINTRAC regularly queries LEA databases in the course of its normal work. FINTRAC and LEAs have established privacy and security frameworks to protect and ensure the confidentiality of all information under FINTRAC’s control (including information collected, used, stored and disseminated). In October 2013, FINTRAC strengthened its compliance policies and procedures to increase further the protection of the confidentiality of the information it maintains.

123. Where necessary, LEAs also share information indirectly via FINTRAC by highlighting the disclosures that should be disclosed to other agencies: In this respect, the RCMP has, in specific cases, flagged some files with cross border features to the FINTRAC for disclosure to the CBSA where cross border elements. Similarly, the CBSA has advised FINTRAC to disclose the results of certain VIRs to another regime partner where it determined that further investigations should be carried out.

124. Additionally, the CRA—Charities shares information with other government departments, including RCMP, CSIS and FINTRAC, when there are reasonable grounds to suspect the information would be relevant to an investigation of a terrorism offense or a threat to the security of Canada. Similarly, CSIS shares information on security issues with a range of domestic partners, including FINTRAC, on a regular basis. The sharing of intelligence includes financial intelligence.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 6

125. Canada has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness for IO.6.

D. Immediate Outcome 7 (ML Investigation and Prosecution)

ML Identification and Investigation

126. ML cases are primarily identified from investigations of predicate offenses, human sources (e.g., informants, victims, suspects, informers, etc.), intelligence (including FINTRAC responses to VIRs), coercive powers, and, in fewer instances, FINTRAC’s proactive disclosures, as well as referrals from other government departments without ML investigative powers. LEAs mentioned that they examine all cases with a financial component and assess whether a concurrent financial investigation is warranted. The decisions on whether to investigate a case and how much resources should be devoted to a specific investigation are guided by the LEAs’ prioritization processes.51 As a result, LEAs principally investigate the financial aspects of ML52 or PPOC53 occurrences in serious and organized crime cases, and in less serious investigations pursue PPOC charges if proceeds are seized through the predicate investigation.

Table 4.

ML and PPOC-Related “Occurrences” 3/ (numbers extracted from all police services’ records management systems across Canada)

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (2015)

The basic unit of this data capture system is an “incident”, which is defined as the suspected occurrence of one or more criminal offense(s) during one single, distinct event. During the onsite visit, authorities explained that the ML/PPOC related occurrences are classified when the offenses or incidents fall into the definitions of PPOC/ML under the CC. E.g., a simple theft case can be regarded as a PPOC incident; and if the thief further transfers the stolen good, it will be a ML occurrence.

Table 5.

ML/PPOC Occurrences Handled by the RCMP 4/

article image
Source: RCMP

The RCMP figures could be greater than that of all police forces as RCMP figures include “Assistance files,” i.e., assistance provided to foreign agency files.

127. The ML/PPOC occurrences handled by RCMP (unlike the numbers provided in the table for all police forces) include 1,599 ML- and 13,179 PPOC-related “assistance files,” i.e., cases where the RCMP rendered assistance to foreign agencies. In practice, requests from foreign counterparts are used to a limited extent to identify potential ML cases in Canada. In particular, requests from foreign countries seeking information regarding Canadian bank accounts suspected of receiving or transferring POC are generally only acceded to and a ML investigation initiated when the account holder(s) is/are subject to ongoing investigation(s) in Canada, or there is clear indication of a predicate offense having been committed in Canada. Although Canada has identified third-party ML as one of the very high ML threat, it does not focus sufficiently on foreign requests that may reveal the presence, in Canada, of third-party launderers.

128. As mentioned in IO.6, FINTRAC provides a significant amount of information to LEAs. FINTRAC responses to VIRs (which constitute the majority of FINTRAC’s disclosures) and proactive disclosures that have a link with an existing file and/or target are adequately used by LEAs. LEAs mentioned that due to time and resources considerations, in line with their prioritization process, fewer investigations are initiated on the basis of a proactive disclosure which has no link to an ongoing investigation. Between 2010 and 2014, FINTRAC made 867 proactive disclosures to the RCMP, of which 599 led to new ML/PPOC related occurrences for further investigations.

129. While the CBSA may investigate fiscal crimes, it does not have the powers to investigate related ML/PPOC cases, and in instances where it considers that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a person is or has been engaging in ML activities, it reports the case to the RCMP. The latter recorded that between 2010 and 2014 there were 444 ML/PPOC occurrences related to cross border currency reporting. The authorities provided one case (“Project Chun,” described in the Box below) of a successful ML investigation started in 2002 on the basis of a CBSA referral. Whilst the assessment team was also shown several ML cases involving parallel investigations arising from CBSA’s enquiries into smuggling or customs related offenses, no other cases arising from CBSA’s cross-border declaration/seizure reports were provided. It therefore appears that, in practice, information collected at the border is analyzed or investigated with a view to pursuing ML activities to a very limited extent only. The cross-border declaration system is not adequately used to identify potential ML activities.

Case Study: Project Chun

In October 2002, a male was intercepted at the Montreal International Airport with US$600,000 cash in his hand luggage. In the absence of a valid explanation, the money was seized and the case was referred to RCMP which initiated an investigation to determine the source and destination of the money. Extensive enquiries unveiled that the male and his wife owned two currency exchange companies in Canada and in 2000 they made an agreement with a drug trafficker to assist the latter in laundering proceeds deriving from drug trafficking activities. The laundering included use of various financial services and an elaborate scheme for the transfer of money to a bank in Cambodia that was owned and controlled by the couple. The precise amounts involved in these activities are estimated at more than Can$100 million. Information received from FINTRAC indicated that the couple dealt in large sums of cash and that their bank account activities did not fit their economic profiles. Travel records of one of the accomplice money launderers were received from Cuba through MLAT requests. The accomplice, who was detained in custody in the U.S., was later transferred from the U.S. to Canada to provide testimony for the prosecution. Canadian investigators had travelled to Israel and Cambodia for tracing after and restraining the crime proceeds. The couple applied delaying tactics during the prosecution and the Canadian authorities eventually convicted the couple with six counts of Money Laundering and seven counts of tax offenses. In March 2015, the couple was each sentenced to eight years of imprisonment and ordered to pay fines of Can$9 million. Two real properties, US$600,000 and the shares of a bank in Cambodia were forfeited.

130. Canada’s main law enforcement policy objective is to prevent, detect and disrupt crimes, including ML, but in practice, most of the attention is focused on securing evidence in relation to the predicate offense and little attention is given to ML, as evidenced by the discussions held as well as by the case studies provided. LEAs focus on criminal actions undertaken by OCGs (i.e., mainly drug-related offenses and fraud). Cases studies and figures provided by LEAs demonstrated that they also investigate other high-risk offenses (e.g., corruption and tobacco smuggling), but to a limited extent only. Insufficient efforts are deployed in pursuing the ML element of predicate offenses and pursuing ML without a direct link to the predicate offense (e.g., third-party/professional money launderers). Since 2010, when tax evasion became a predicate offense to ML, none of the tax evasion cases finalized by the CRA have included sanctions for ML. There are, however, ongoing investigations that contemplate the ML activities.

131. The various LEAs adequately coordinate their efforts, both at the strategic level and at the operational and intelligence levels, through working groups and meetings. Within the RCMP, a centralized database is used to minimize the risk of duplicative investigative efforts against the same groups or persons. Direct exchanges regularly occur during relevant LEAs meetings, as well as through specific joint projects: in particular, the CRA-CID and the RCMP have entered into special projects (i.e., Joint Forces Operations, JFOs) for a specific duration, to identify targets of potential criminal charges including ITA/ETA offenses. Between 2010 and 2015, 10 JFOs were conducted. In these cases, the JFO agreements do not supersede or override the confidentiality provisions of the ITA/ETA, but they, nevertheless, enable the CRA to provide tax information to the RCMP if this is reasonably regarded as necessary for the purposes of the administration and enforcement of the Acts.

132. LEAs regularly seek the production of a court order to obtain banking (or other relevant) information for the purposes of their investigations. However, as detailed in R.31.3 and IO.6, the length of the process leading to the identification of relevant accounts considerably delays the tracing of POC in ML/PPOC investigations.

133. The LEAs also access tax information (outside JFOs) with prior judicial authorization. During the period April 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015, the CRA CID received in excess of 2500 LEA requests for taxpayer information. One RCMP unit indicated that this information is obtained in all significant cases by way of letter under s.241 of ITA when charges are laid or by CC authorization of Tax order. The RCMP sent 91 tax letters from 2010 to 2016.

134. LEAs also regularly consult public registries of land and companies, but the paucity of accurate basic and beneficial ownership information in these registries limit the usefulness of the information obtained. Investigations in Canada typically do not focus on complex ML cases involving corporate structures (and/or involving transnational activities). LEAs stated that, in the few cases where legal entities were under investigation, the beneficial ownership information was typically obtained from FIs, in particularly the D-SIBs. Investigators are aware of the risk of misuse of corporate entities in ML schemes, but, in some provinces, do not investigate such cases to the extent that they should mainly because of a shortage of adequate resources and expertise. As a result, some targets are not pursued or bank accounts investigated (e.g., in instances where multiple targets and accounts are involved), and LEA efforts are focused on easier targets where the chances of the investigations being cost effective are greater.

Consistency of ML Investigations and Prosecutions with Threats and Risk Profile, and National AML Policies

135. According to the NRA, fraud, corruption, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, tobacco smuggling, and (although a recent phenomenon) third-party ML pose very high ML threats in Canada. The LEAs generally agreed with the NRA findings and have prioritized their resources on OCGs, which are mostly involved in drug and fraud related offenses (see table below). As described above, LEAs, in particular the RCMP, have a prioritization process, which is continually evolving to address the current threats, taking into account a number of factors. At the time of the assessment, that process did not take the NRA’s findings sufficiently into account.

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR)—all police services’ records
article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR)—all police services’ records

136. The authorities provided in the above tables the number of prosecution cases, broken down by the most serious offense (MSO) of the case, in which at least one ML or PPOC charge was laid in 2010 to 2014.54 This information does not distinguish third-party ML from self-laundering. These statistics show that high-threat predicate offenses, i.e., drug trafficking and fraud, account for 27.1 percent of ML or 22.6 percent of PPOC prosecutions only, which does not match the ML threats and risks identified in the NRA (which suggest that a higher percentage would be necessary to mitigate the risks). The figures provided do not show related prosecutions in the context of corruption, counterfeiting, and tobacco smuggling cases, but these cases could be embedded in the “others,” “ML,” or “PPOC” categories, when they were not the MSO. Canada provided further information to show that there were 68 counterfeiting related ML/PPOC cases, examples of tobacco smuggling related ML cases and one case (Project LAUREAT highlighted below) of a successful prosecution of corruption-related55 ML cases.

Case Study: Project LAUREAT

In 2010, in order to obtain the Can$1.3 billion contract of modernization of a Health Centre (“HC”), the president (“P”) and vice-president (“VP”) of an engineer company (“EC”) had bribed the top officials, “Y” and “Z,” of the HC to get the award. Upon the announcement of the award to EC, the VP transferred a total of Can$22.5 million to the shell companies in foreign countries owned by Y and Z. Y further transferred the crime proceeds to the accounts of his wife’s (Y’s wife) shell companies. Numerous MLAT requests were executed and bank accounts in nine other countries, worth more than Can$8.5 million, were blocked. Y, Z, P, VP were also extradited from other countries. The syndicate was charged with corruption, fraud, ML along with other offenses. For Y’s wife, who has only been involved in laundering the Can$22.5 million, was sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment.56 Upon her conviction, seven buildings (value at Can$5.5 million) were confiscated.

137. While Project LAUREAT was relatively successful, overall, on the face of the statistics and cases provided as well as of the discussions held onsite, it was not established that Canada adequately pursues ML related to all very high-risk predicate offenses identified in the NRA.

138. As indicated in the statistics on standalone ML/PPOC prosecutions below, there were 35 (3.4 percent) and 14,271 (9.6 percent) standalone ML and PPOC concluded respectively in the last five years. As professional money launderers are mostly involved in ML (rather than PPOC) cases, the fact that Canada only led 35 prosecutions and obtained 12 convictions of single-charge ML cases in the last five years is a concern. It is possible and, according to the authorities, very likely that a professional money launderer would also be charged with another charge such as conspiracy, fraud, or organized crime in addition to ML, but the numbers nevertheless appear too low in light of the risk.

Table 6.

Results of Single Charge ML Cases

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)
Table 7.

Results of Single Charge PPOC Cases

article image
article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)

139. Canada’s NRA also identified very high ML vulnerabilities in the use of trusts and corporations. LEAs confirmed that corporate vehicles and trusts are misused to a relatively large extent for ML purposes. As the case study Dorade (below) indicates, the authorities have been successful in identifying the legal persons and arrangements involved in the ML schemes and in confiscating their assets in some instances. However, overall, it was clear from the discussions held with police forces and prosecutors that legal persons are hardly ever prosecuted for ML offenses, mainly because of a shortage of adequate resources and expertise. Investigators are nevertheless aware of the risk of misuse of corporate entities in ML schemes and that more focus should be placed on this risk.

Case Study: DORADE

During the investigation of a fraud syndicate, it was revealed that the director of a loan company had set up, with the assistance of various professional accomplices, foreign shell companies located in tax havens for receiving the crime proceeds and lending the sum back to loan company for its legitimate loan business, thereby facilitating the director to evade tax payment and recycle crime proceeds. It was estimated, between 1997 and 2010, a total of Can$13 million of tax was evaded. With the assistance of MLAT requests, the syndicate members were identified and the proceeds, whether domestic or abroad, were restrained and eventually confiscated. The director and the professionals were convicted of fraud and ML and sentenced to 36–84 months of imprisonment. However, all the ML charges attracted an imprisonment term of less than 18 months and to be served concurrently with the Fraud sentence.

140. Overall, while there are exceptions, law enforcement efforts are not entirely in line with Canada’s NRA risk profiles. As previously noted, LEAs’ prioritization processes place strong attention to National Security investigations, OCGs, and, to a lesser extent, more recently third-party ML in an international context. Other instances of high threat predicate offenses, especially fraud, corruption, counterfeiting, tobacco smuggling, and related ML, as well as laundering activities in Canada of the proceeds of foreign predicate offenses, third-party ML and ML schemes involving corporate structures are not adequately ranked in the prioritization process and, consequently, are not pursued to the extent that they should.

Types of ML Cases Pursued

141. Different types of ML and PPOC cases are prosecuted, but there is insufficient focus on the types of ML that are more significant in Canada’s context, i.e., ML related to high-risk predicate offenses. In addition, prosecutions of ML-related cases focus on the predicate offenses, with the ML charge(s) often withdrawn or stayed after plea bargaining and re-packaging of charges. The number of standalone ML cases is comparatively low, indicating few investigations and hence prosecutions of third-party ML and foreign predicate offenses despite their high ranking in the NRA. According to the authorities, as far as third-party ML is concerned, the low number of investigations and prosecutions is that the magnitude of the threat has only recently reached a high level. Finally, legal persons are frequently misused for ML purposes, but not often pursued for ML offenses. The tables below show the results of ML cases brought before the courts and the charges laid in these cases.

Table 8.

Results of ML-Related Cases

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)
Table 9.

Results of ML-Charges

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)

142. Between 2010 and 2014, a total of 1,800 ML charges were concluded in 1,027 cases. Although about 60 percent of these cases were led to convictions, only 169 ML charges (i.e., some 9 percent) resulted in a conviction. Some 87 percent of the ML charges were either withdrawn or stayed. The reasons provided for the withdrawal of the ML charges included insufficient evidence, the lack of public interest in the pursuit of the charges, the avoidance of overcharging, as well as repackaging of charges and plea bargaining (as the ML/PPOC charge will not normally add any additional sentence to the defendant and it is easier for the defendant to accept the guilty plea of the predicate offenses in order to contribute to a fair and efficient criminal justice system). The consultation with prosecutors at an earlier stage of the ML cases is clearly useful in securing the necessary evidence and avoiding a waste of investigative efforts. The length of criminal proceedings in ML cases is also a concern. Proceedings may take a number of years during which the subjects of the investigation and prosecution may continue their unlawful businesses and dispose of the POCs (as was the case in Project Chun for example).

143. Over the last years, although 68.4 percent of PPOC cases resulted in convictions, 74.6 percent of the PPOC charges were withdrawn/stayed or dealt with by other means, and the defendants were only charged with and convicted of the predicate offenses.

Table 10.

Results of PPOC-Related Cases

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)
Table 11.

Results of PPOC-Related Charges

article image
Source: Statistics Canada’s Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS)

144. Overall, of the 1,027 ML-related cases and 102,029 PPOC-related cases that entered the court system, over 60 percent resulted in convictions, though most of the defendants were convicted of the predicate offenses rather than the ML or PPOC charges. This indicates that Canada is able to investigate and prosecute predicate offenses in ML/PPOC-related cases and disrupt some of the ML/PPOC activities. One hundred sixty-nine ML charges were led to a conviction in the past five years (i.e., 33.8 charges on average annually), which appears very low in light of the magnitude of the ML risks identified. Canada does not pursue the ML charges sufficiently.

Effectiveness, Proportionality and Dissuasiveness of Sanctions

145. The totality principle57 always applies in the sentencing, and a ML/PPOC sentence is usually ordered to be run concurrently with the predicate offenses. The statistics below indicate the sanctions imposed for ML in instances where the ML charges were the most serious offenses (MSO). The vast majority of natural persons (i.e., 89 percent) convicted for ML have been sentenced in the lower range of one month to two years of imprisonment or awarded non-custodial sentences.58 This is proportionate with the type of ML activities most frequently pursued in Canada. However, although this is not made evident in the statistics provided, it is apparent from the case examples provided, and in Projects Dorade and Laurent mentioned above, that many sanctions imposed on money launderers are low even in the (relatively few) cases of complex ML schemes and/or of professional launderers brought before the courts. None of the PPOC convictions attracted a sentence of more than two years. In these circumstances, the sanctions applied do not appear to be of a level dissuasive enough to deter criminals from ML activities.

Table 12.

Sanctions in ML Cases Where ML was the Most Serious Offense, from 2010 to 2014 5/

article image

There are other undisclosed cases where the ML offense runs concurrently with another MSO.

Extent to Which Criminal Justice Measures are Applied Where Conviction is Not Applicable

146. Information provided under IO.8 reveals that non-conviction based forfeiture amounted to 17 percent of the total forfeiture. Whilst it is not encouraged to drop the criminal charges during the judicial process, Canada’s use of civil confiscation is not to be discounted. Plea bargaining and repackaging of charges have also been used in the prosecution stage for shortening the length of court proceedings.

Overall Conclusions of Immediate Outcome 7

147. Canada has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness for IO.7.

E. Immediate Outcome 8 (Confiscation)

148. Since its last assessment, Canada improved its ability to collect information on seizures and confiscations and produce related statistics. It uses both criminal and civil (non-criminal based) proceedings to confiscate proceeds and property related to an unlawful activity. At the Federal level, there is an agency to manage seized and confiscated assets (SPMD). At the provincial level, the management of these assets rests with the prosecution services. Canada also confiscates with no terms of release any undeclared currency and monetary instruments from travelers entering and exiting the country when there is reasonable ground to suspect they are from illicit origin or that the funds are intended for use in the financing of terrorist activities. It shares confiscated assets with countries with which it has a sharing agreement.

Confiscation of Proceeds, Instrumentalities and Property of Equivalent Value as a Policy Objective

149. While confiscation of criminal proceeds and instrumentalities is a policy objective, that objective is pursued to some extent only. Canada is not able to confiscate property of equivalent value; instead, it imposes fines in lieu. As a result of the deficiencies described in IO.7 confiscation relate mainly to proceeds of criminal activities and offence related property conducted by OCGs, in particular drug offenses, fraud, theft, and to the proceeds of tax evasion.

150. Canada’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC) Initiative aims at the disruption, dismantling, and incapacitation of OCGs by targeting their illicit proceeds and assets. It brings together the CBSA, CRA, PPSC, Public Safety Canada, PSPC (more specifically, its Forensic Accounting Management Group, and the Seized Property Management Directorate), and the RCMP, which cooperate and share information to facilitate investigations. According to the authorities, the IPOC is a distinct program and a corner stone of the AML/CFT regime as a whole as modified in 2000. However, it is not identified as one of the key goals of the latest articulation of the AML/CFT program.

151. The RCMP’s Federal Policing Serious and Organized Crime/Financial Crime Teams (which investigate ML cases) target the proceeds of organized crime for seizure. The return of frozen or seized POC and instrumentalities to the defendant is avoided in the context of a plea bargain; in line with the PPSC policy, both POC and instrumentalities must be sought.59 According to the authorities, the accused normally agree with the confiscation request when they plead guilty. At the provincial level, measures aimed at tracing and seizing assets in view of confiscation are in some cases conducted jointly by the RCMP and the provincial LEA. In the province of Quebec, for instance, the cooperation between the RCMP and the relevant provincial police, i.e., the Sûreté du Quebec, has shown a number of cases of successful recovery of assets. At the municipal level, the Service de Police of the City of Montreal has a unit specialized in the recovery of POC and in the investigation of ML (Unité des produits de la criminalité—Programme UPC-ACCEF). The priority of the investigations in Quebec and in Montreal in particular is clearly to identify assets for confiscation, especially in cases involving OCGs. These clear priorities and effective specialized units have resulted in greater recovery of POC and instrumentalities by criminal law means both in scope and in type of assets, including in more complex ML cases. Other provinces rely more on non-conviction based forfeiture, where roughly Can$100 million have been confiscated, nationally, during the relevant period.

152. As a general rule, however, LEAs in other provinces and at the federal level do not seem to adopt a “follow the money” approach in practice, nor to initiate a parallel financial investigation, notably because of resource constraints. Overall, as a result of the shortcomings explained under IO.6 and IO.7, asset recovery is pursued to a limited extent only.

Confiscations of Proceeds from Foreign and Domestic Predicates, and Proceeds Located Abroad

153. The total amounts recovered yearly have increased significantly since the previous assessment,60 but, nevertheless, appear to be low in the Canadian context (see table below). This is likely to be due to the lack of focus on asset recovery mentioned above and the shortcomings mentioned in IO.6 and IO.7, as well as the length of time needed to bring cases to closure: The delays encountered (especially at the tracing stage) are likely to encourage and facilitate the flight of assets.

Table 13.

Amounts Forfeited in Canada 6/

article image

The table is a consolidation of statistics maintained by different authorities, using different criteria and does not include forfeitures undertaken by federal departments that do not involve or are not reported to the SPMD. At the provincial level, figures were provided for Quebec only (federal criminal results for Quebec appear in the first column). They do not differentiate domestic from foreign predicate offenses (though IO.2 shows that there have been forfeitures based on the direct enforcement of foreign orders) and proceeds which have moved to other countries. According to the authorities, the link between seized and forfeited assets cannot easily be made, as these actions occur over multiple years.

154. Different types of assets are seized or restrained in federal criminal proceedings (see table below) but, overall, Canada does not restrain businesses, company shares—despite the high risk of misuse of legal entities—or property rights.61 In general, Canadian authorities seem to be managing effectively the seized and confiscated assets on both federal and provincial levels. Assets are generally not sold before the conclusion of the criminal proceeding to maintain their value or reduce the costs of management of the property, unless they are rapidly depreciating or perishable, or the accused authorizes their disposal.

Table 14.

Federally Seized/Restrained Assets by Appraisal Value

article image

155. Revenue agencies, both at the federal and provincial level, have been successful in recovering evaded taxes, including in instances where the monies were held offshore. In FY 2013/2014, Revenue Quebec alone recuperated over Can$3.5 billion of evaded taxes, both by criminal sanctions and civil compliance actions. During the same period, FY 2013/2014 the CRA recuperated Can$10.6 billion in its criminal and civil actions. As a result of the CRA’s investigations into suspected cases of tax evasion, fraud and other serious violations of tax laws, and recommendations to the PPSC, Canada secured convictions for tax crimes for Can$162.3 million and levied a total of Can$70.7 million in criminal fines. However, it should be noted that these figures do not solely represent confiscations related to the proceeds of crime, and that the Canadian authorities were unable to provide such separate figures.

156. Between 2008 and 2015, in an effort to recover proceeds that have been moved to other countries, Canada sent 135 requests for tracing assets (bank or real estate records) to other countries 43 requests for restraint of funds or assets and 4 requests for forfeiture. Discussions with the authorities and the cases provided nevertheless established that the authorities pursue assets abroad to some extent only, notably because such actions require resources that are currently dedicated to other priorities. The fact that LEAs seem to have little expertise in pursuing complex international ML schemes or in the investigation of professional money launderers also explain the relatively low level of effort in seeking the recovery of assets abroad. Considering that there is no possibility for the authorities to seize property of equivalent value, when POC cannot be forfeited, fines in lieu are ordered, in addition to the custodial sentence. The total fines collected by the federal Crown are Can$937,285.95 for 2009–2015. The authorities share parts of the confiscated assets with their foreign counterparts, both in criminal and civil actions, when the property is in Canada, the foreign country assisted Canada in the case and there is a signed sharing agreement. This would be the case when the offense was committed partly or entirely abroad and laundered in Canada.62 The major part of the sharing occurred with the U.S., which appears justified in the Canadian context, and property was also shared with Cuba and the U.K.

Confiscation of Falsely or Undeclared Cross-Border Transaction of Currency/BNI

157. CBSA agents seize monies when there is a suspicion that the latter are POC or funds intended to be used to fund terrorism. As indicated in the table below, between 2009 and 2015, Canada seized about Can$263 million at the border, of which less than 9 percent were confiscated and more than 91 percent were returned to the travelers. In the latter cases, according to the authorities, there was no suspicion of ML, TF, or other illicit activities; therefore, the monies were returned to the traveler and an administrative fixed fine (of Can$250, Can$2,500, or Can$5,000) levied. In practice, however, falsely or undeclared cross-border movements of currency and other bearer negotiable instruments are analyzed by the FIU, or investigated by the RCMP to a very limited extent, namely only when they pertain to an ongoing analysis or investigation (see IO.6). Moreover, the level of the sanctions for noncompliance with the obligation of disclosure of cross-border movements and the frequency which it is applied does not seem effective, proportionate nor dissuasive.

article image

Consistency of Confiscation Results with ML/TF Risks and National AML/CTF Policies and Priorities

158. Law enforcement actions, including asset recovery efforts focus mostly on illicit drug trafficking, fraud, and theft.64 While drug-related offense and fraud are identified as very high ML threats in Canada’s NRA, theft is not. In addition, the recovery of proceeds of other very high threats identified in the NRA is pursued, but not to the same extent (this is notably the case for proceeds of corruption and bribery, third-party ML, and tobacco smuggling, although some success was achieved in a case of tax evasion perpetrated from 1991 to 1996 in relation to a large scale tobacco smuggling operation.)6566 As a result, Canada’s confiscation results are not entirely consistent with ML/TF risks or national AML/CFT policy.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 8

159. Canada has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness in Immediate Outcome 8.

Terrorist Financing and Financing of Proliferation

A. Key Findings


The authorities display a good understanding of TF risks and close cooperation in CFT efforts. The intelligence services, LEAs and FINTRAC regularly exchange information, which notably contributes to support prioritization of TF investigations.

Canada accords priority to pursuing terrorism and TF, with TF investigation being one of the key components of its counter-terrorism strategy.

The RCMP duly investigates the financial components of all terrorism-related incidents, considers prosecution in all cases and the prosecution services proceed with charges when there is sufficient evidence and it serves the public interest. Two TF convictions were secured since 2009. Sanctions imposed were proportionate and dissuasive.

Canada also makes frequent use of other measures to disrupt TF.


Implementation of TF-related targeted financial sanctions (TFS) is quite effective for FIs but not for DNFBPs.

Canada takes a RBA to mitigate the misuse of NPOs (i.e., charities). A specialized division within CRA-Charities focuses specifically on concerns of misuse of organizations identified as being at greatest risk. In addition, CRA-Charities has developed an enhanced outreach plan, which reflects the best practices put forward by the FATF.

In practice, few assets have been frozen in connection with TF-related TFS.


Canada’s Iran and DPRK sanction regimes are very comprehensive and in some respects go beyond the UN designations.

Cooperation between relevant agencies is effective and some success has been achieved in identifying and freezing the funds and other assets belonging to designated individuals.

Large FIs have a good understanding of their TFS obligations and implement adequate screening measures but some limit their screening to customers only. DNFBPs, however, are not sufficiently aware of their obligations and have not implemented TFS.

There is no formal monitoring mechanism in place; while some monitoring does occur in practice, it is limited to FRFIs and is not accompanied by sanctioning powers in cases of non-compliance.

B. Recommended Actions

Canada should:


  • Pursue more and different types of TF prosecutions.


  • Require DNFBPs to conduct a full search of their customer databases on a regular basis.

  • Consider increasing the instances of proactive notification of changes to the lists to REs other than FRFIs.

  • Consider enhancing the number of seizures and confiscations related to TF offenses.


  • Monitor and ensure FIs’ and DNFBPs’ compliance with PF-related obligations.

  • Conduct greater outreach. This should include information on the PF-risk that can be published without compromising Canada’s security, as well as more detailed guidance on the implementation of TFS and indicators of potential PF activity.

The relevant Immediate Outcomes considered and assessed in this chapter are IO.9–11. The recommendations relevant for the assessment of effectiveness under this section are R.5–8.

C. Immediate Outcome 9 (TF Investigation and Prosecution)

Prosecution/Conviction of Types of TF Activity Consistent with the Country’s Risk-Profile

160. The RCMP investigates all occurrences of TF. This includes investigations into a wide range of TF activities, such as the collection of funds and their movement and use by individual, entities or wider organizations. The RCMP lays TF charges when approved by PPSC based on sufficient evidence and when the prosecution would best serve the public interest. Between 2010 and 2015, charges were laid against one individual, resulting in a conviction for TF in 2010 (see Box 7 below). Charges were also laid in another case, but subsequently withdrawn for tactical and operational enforcement reasons.

R v. Thambithurai 2008

It came to the knowledge of the RCMP’s Integrated Security Enforcement Team (INSET) that a man was in the process of collecting funds from his place of residence and businesses for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a listed terrorist entity in Canada. The person was arrested in Vancouver. INSET found various materials in his possession, including donation forms for the LTTE which were used for a Can$600 donation and a Can$300 pledge. The accused was charged with four counts of “Providing or making available property for a terrorist organization” under CC 83.03, three of which were later withdrawn. He pled guilty in 2010 and was sentenced to six months of imprisonment.

161. LEAs actively pursue the threat of individuals radicalized to violence, and in particular, those seeking to travel abroad for terrorist purposes. The RCMP’s priority is to pursue charges that are in the best interest of public safety, and to mitigate the possible threat of terrorist activity as efficiently as possible. TF charges are not always determined to be the most appropriate means to mitigate threat. In these instances, alternative measures are used. The below case showed that while a boy obtained funds by robbery for travel abroad to join a terrorist organization, RCMP had pursued terrorism and criminal charges instead of TF charges.

Young Foreign Terrorist Fighter

In 2014, a 15-year-old boy who had become radicalized to violence became determined to travel abroad to join a terrorist organization. He had previously tried unsuccessfully to purchase an airline ticket for Syria with his father’s credit card. In October 2014, the father discovered Can$870, a knife, and a balaclava in the boy’s backpack. Feeling suspicious of money might have been stolen, the father made a report to police. Investigation revealed that the boy had committed an armed robbery in order to purchase ticket for Syria. The boy was charged and convicted of armed robbery. Additional national security investigation by C-INSET resulted in the youth being convicted of attempting to leave Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group (CC 83.131) and commission of an offense for a terrorist group (83.2). He was sentenced to 24 months in youth custody plus one-year probation, consecutive to the sentence of armed robbery.

162. This and other cases discussed establish the authorities’ ability to pursue TF activities. However, the results obtained so far are not entirely commensurate with Canada’s risk profile, which, as assessed in the NRA, points to more frequent and diverse TF occurrences. As a result, Canada has demonstrated to some extent that it pursues the different types of TF activities that it faces.

TF Identification and Investigation

163. The RCMP investigates the financial component of all terrorism-related incidents. It employs various avenues to identify and investigate potential TF activities including human source or intelligence, referrals from international or domestic partners (e.g., the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), FINTRAC, CRA, and CSIS, direct reporting from Canadian FIs), and national security investigations.

164. FINTRAC regularly provides proactive disclosures and responses to VIRs on TF cases, which supports the prioritization of TF investigations. It mostly disseminates disclosures related to TF to CSIS, but also to the RCMP, CBSA, CRA, municipal and provincial police, and foreign FIUs. According to FINTRAC, roughly half of TF disclosures were proactive, and half in response to VIRs. The authorities do not keep figures on the results of TF investigations arising from proactive disclosures.

Table 15.

TF-Related VIRs and FINTRAC Disclosures (from and to RCMP only)

article image

165. LEAs and FINTRAC accord priority to TF investigations, although there are exceptions where priority would be accorded to other terrorism files, as highlighted in the Project Investigation below. In urgent cases, FINTRAC provides TF-related financial intelligence to the RCMP within hours. In normal circumstances, it may take days or weeks to respond to the VIRs. In one of the cases provided, which dated back more than 10 years, timely intelligence from FINTRAC was instrumental in identifying domestic and foreign accounts, as well as in establishing the foundations for the necessary judicial authorization applications.67 The CBSA also assists in the identification of an investigation into TF activities.

166. For example, in the case of Project Investigation, a person was intercepted by the CBSA at a Canadian airport for carrying undeclared currency in excess of Can$10,000. CBSA notified the RCMP, which assumed control of the investigation because of the nexus to TF. The investigation revealed that funds destined to a foreign country to support an organization listed by Canada as a terrorist entity had been collected across Canada by multiple individuals. Information received from FINTRAC resulted in the identification of the funding networks of the entity and of its key members. Due to operational and resource constraints imposed by higher priority national security investigations, the RCMP was unable to proceed further with the file. A different approach was therefore adopted: the suspect was charged under PCMLTFA for not reporting the importation or exportation of currency or monetary instruments. He pleaded guilty and was fined Can$5,000, and the funds previously seized were forfeited to the Crown.

167. All TF investigations are conducted by the RCMP’s INSET field units. These units are located in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, and are comprised of officers deployed from other partners (including municipal and provincial LEAs and the CSIS) in numbers that fluctuate depending on operational needs. They are tasked by FPCO, which it is responsible for the prioritization of investigations. TF activities are investigated in proportion with their scope and complexity. As investigations become more complex and require more resources, the RCMP uses a management tool to ensure that investigations align with national security priorities. Between 2009 and 2013, it identified five investigations as major TF cases, which led to two charges being laid (see previous core issue).

Table 16.

TF Investigations

article image

An Assistance file is created when assisting domestic or foreign non-PROS/SPROS units or agencies.

Information File is information received is not a call for service, or the person or agency supplying the information does not expect police action.

Crime Prevention are activities directed toward the tangible objective of preventing a specific type of crime, e.g., breaking and entry, approved or accepted community-based policing program such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE).

National Security Survey Codes are the combined collection of two different survey types: Threat Assessments and VIP/Major Events.

TF Investigation Integrated with—and Supportive of—National Strategies

168. CFT is an integral part of Canada’s strategy to combat terrorism. The RCMP confirms that it assesses the existence of a TF component in every national security investigation. Cases provided (including IRFAN-CANADA described in IO.10) showed that the authorities use TF investigations to identify the structures, key persons, and activities of terrorist organizations. TF investigations are integrated with, and used to support, national counter-terrorism strategies and investigations.

Effectiveness, Proportionality and Dissuasiveness of Sanctions

169. Canada successfully pursued and convicted two individuals on TF charges. The first case (R v. THAMBITHURAI described above) only attracted a six-month imprisonment despite PPSC appealing against the sentence. In the second case (R v. KHAWAJA, see Box 9 below), the Court sentenced the defendant to two years’ imprisonment for TF and to life imprisonment for “developing a device to activate a detonator.”

R v. Khawaja

In 2004, Canada initiated an investigation into a Canadian citizen linked to a terrorist group under investigation in the United Kingdom (U.K.) for planning a fertilizer bomb attack targeting pubs, nightclubs, trains and utility (gas, water and electric) supply stations in the U.K. The evidence collected indicated that the Canadian subject attended a training camp in Pakistan in July 2003 and transferred on three occasions a total of about Can$6,800 to his associates in the U.K. with the help of a young woman to avoid suspicion of link. His parents were persuaded to evict tenants from their residence in Pakistan so that the subject may make the facility available for use by the group’s members. He also planned 30 devices to strap explosives onto model airplanes with remote triggers. He was arrested by the RCMP in 2004, detained, and charged in 2008 with seven counts of offenses under the CC, including one count of TF under 83.03(a). MLA requests were sent to the U.S. authorities for the subject’s Internet Service Provider and payment records as well as the testimony of a U.S. witness. In December 2010, upon the appeal by the PPSC, the subject was sentenced to life imprisonment for “developing a device to activate a detonator” and 24 years of imprisonment for the other offenses, including two years’ imprisonment for TF.

170. While low, the number of instances prosecuted appears in line with Canada’s threat profile and considering the alternative mitigating measures taken (see below). Sanctions applied appear to be proportionate with the amounts involved and dissuasive. No legal person has been convicted of TF offenses. No designations were made to the relevant UN bodies but Canada has been co-sponsor to a number of designations.

Alternative Measures Used Where TF Conviction is Not Possible (e.g., Disruption)

171. Canada’s primary goal in counter terrorism efforts is to maintain public safety, and Canada places a strong focus on disrupting terrorist organizations and terrorist acts before they occur. The RCMP defines disruption in national security matters as the interruption, suspension or elimination, through law enforcement actions of the ability of a group(s) and/or individual(s) to carry out terrorist or other criminal activity that may pose a threat to national security, in Canada or abroad. It includes disruption of TF activities

172. During national security investigations, activities of participants and peripheral participants may be tactically disrupted for a variety of reasons, including triggering reactions or behavioral changes of the main targets. TF investigations therefore do not always result in TF charges, if other charges for terrorism or other offenses are being laid and the evidence is most cogent and appropriate or would best serve the public interest. The authorities shared several cases (including Project Smooth below) where despite clear evidence to substantiate a TF charge, other means were preferable to ensure the public interest.

Project SMOOTH

In August 2012, CSIS reported to RCMP that a male (“CE”) residing in Montreal had met another male (“RJ”) in Toronto. RJ was known to the RCMP for recently distributing pro Al-Qaeda propaganda. Investigation, including the use of an undercover U.S. FBI agent who had gained the trust of CE and RJ, revealed that the two men had plotted to cut a hole in a railway bridge to derail the Canadian Via Rail passenger train between Toronto and New York. The FBI agent had surreptitiously recorded their conversations, which made up the bulk of the case’s evidence, including CE’s description on the hierarchical structure and mode of communication of a terrorist group and that CE was receiving orders from Al Qaeda through a middleman. It was also unveiled during the investigation that CE had or intended to finance a total of Can$4,200 to the terrorist group. In 2013, CE and RJ were arrested. CE and RJ were both charged with four offenses: conspiring to damage transportation property with intent to endanger safety for a terrorist organization, conspiring to commit murder for a terrorist group, plus two counts of participating or contributing to a terrorist. CE was found guilty of all four charges plus another he faced alone for participating in a terrorist group. RJ was convicted of all charges except that of “conspiring to damage transportation property with intent to endanger safety for a terrorist organization.” In March 2015, both men were sentenced to life imprisonment.

173. In other cases, TF prosecutions were not possible, especially in cases based largely on intelligence that may fall short of the evidentiary threshold required by criminal courts. In instances where prosecution is not deemed to be the best avenue to protect the public or human sources, or is not possible, a wide-range of disruption techniques is employed. Such techniques typically include: arrests; search-and-seizure raids; “intrusive surveillance” (in which police make it obvious to the suspects that they are being watched); civil forfeiture; inclusion of specific persons in Canada’s no fly list (which is particularly relevant considering the growing threat of foreign fighters); revocation of the charitable status of NPOs identified as having been used for TF purposes; listing of terrorist entity under the CC, barring of individuals who pose a threat to the security of Canada and prohibition from entering or obtaining status in Canada or from obtaining access to sensitive sites, government assets or information; and extradition. Canada frequently uses other criminal justice and administrative measures to disrupt TF activities when a prosecution for TF is not practicable.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 9

174. Canada has achieved a substantial level of effectiveness for IO.9.

D. Immediate Outcome 10 (TF Preventive Measures and Financial Sanctions)

Implementation of Targeted Financial Sanctions for TF without Delay

175. Canada implements UNSCR 1267 and UNSCR 1373 (and their successor resolutions) through three separate domestic listing mechanisms: United Nations Al-Qaeda and Taliban Regulations (UNAQTR); the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Suppression of Terrorism (RIUNRST); and the CC. Canada plays an active role in co-sponsoring the listing of new terrorist entities, as appropriate, and delisting defunct entities. The lists of entities whose assets are to be frozen under UNSCR 1267 and its successor resolutions are automatically incorporated into Canadian law by reference through UNAQTR. Accordingly, UNSC decisions to list or delist an individual are given immediate effect in Canada; no additional action by Canadian authorities is needed to give legal effect to a designation. These decisions are rapidly brought to the attention of FRFIs, but not of other REs.

176. The CC is Canada’s primary listing mechanism, and allows it to satisfy the obligations under UNSCR 1373. While the RIUNRST also satisfies UNSCR 1373, no listings have been added to the RIUNRST since 2006. In practice, this CC process entails a criminal intelligence report prepared by the RCMP or a security intelligence report prepared by the CSIS, which is subjected to a legal review by independent counsel to ensure that it meets the CC listing threshold (i.e., reasonable grounds to believe), as well as interdepartmental consultations. The authorities can list an entity to Canada’s domestic list (under the CC) in an expedited manner if necessary.68 The Canadian authorities provided a concrete example (IRFAN Canada, below) of the domestic listing of a NPO.


In 2010, CRA-Charities suspended the receipting privileges of IRFAN-Canada. The suspension was based on the organization’s failure to provide and maintain records, which interfered with CRA-Charities’ ability to carry out the audit that began in 2009. CRA-Charities continued with the audit during the period of suspension and ultimately revoked IRFAN-Canada’s charitable registration in 2011. It shared information regarding IRFAN-Canada’s possible association with the listed organization, Hamas, with partner organizations, including the RCMP. A CRA-Charities analyst seconded to the RCMP was able to provide expertise to facilitate the sharing of information, as authorized by legislation. The RCMP collaborated with and received financial intelligence from FINTRAC.

In 2014, the RCMP officially opened the investigation, which resulted in an RCMP recommendation to PS Canada to have IRFAN-Canada listed as a terrorist organization. The financial intelligence provided by FINTRAC also served to inform deliberations on the listing of IRFAN. The RCMP, PS Canada, and the DOJ worked together to prepare the documentation required for the Government to make a decision as to the listing. In April 2014, IRFAN-Canada was listed as a terrorist entity by the Government of Canada. Following the listing, criminal investigations were initiated by the RCMP’s INSETs in Ontario and Quebec, and were still ongoing at the time the assessment.

177. Third-party requests from foreign jurisdictions are considered under the CC framework. Canada has received numerous requests from foreign jurisdictions since the establishment of the regime and has given effect to both formal and informal requests, though it does not keep records on the number of third-party requests for listing under the CC. The authorities also indicated that they were able to list an entity on an expedited manner when necessary, following third-party requests.

178. As of April 7, 2015, 54 entities were listed pursuant to the CC and 36 terrorist entities under the RIUNRST. Once an entity has been listed, PS issues a news release advising of the new listing and provides a notification on its sanctions website, and the listings are published in the Canada Gazette, approximately two weeks after listing. To assist FIs search their list of customers against these listed terrorist names, OSFI maintains on its website a database of all terrorist names (and known identifiers) subject to Canadian laws, and notifies FIs without delay by posting instantly a notification to its website and by notifying all its e-mail subscribers each time a new terrorist name is listed under Canadian law, or there are changes to existing information. FRFIs are also required to report to OSFI monthly that they have conducted the name screening and report any terrorist property that they have identified and frozen. FINTRAC also provides a link to OSFI’s website on its own website, as well as guidance to REs on the reporting requirements related to terrorist property. Other than in the case of OSFI, the mechanism for informing the private sector about listed entities appears to be rather passive, as it relies on REs consulting the Official Gazette and the websites of the competent authorities and/or, when they are aware of this possibility, subscribing to RSS feeds (or the UN notification system).

179. The FRFIs met during the onsite had a good understanding of their screening obligation regarding targeted financial sanctions (TFS) and implemented sanctions without delay. DNFBPs, however, do not have a good understanding of their obligations (see IO.4). Furthermore, while they are required to check the listings at the beginning of a business relationship, they are not required to conduct a full search of their customer databases on a regular basis, which is a major limitation to an effective implementation of TFS.

180. Persons listed in Canada may apply for revocation of the designation under the framework detailed in R.6.69 Examples of delisting were shared with the assessors. One entity was delisted in December 2012.

181. Canada has not proposed a designation to the UN Sanctions Committees, but acted as co-sponsor on several occasions.

Targeted Approach, Outreach and Oversight of At-Risk Non-Profit Organizations

182. The Canadian NRA concluded that registered charities present a high risk of TF, due to the fact that a large number of the financial transactions that charities conduct may be performed via delivery channels with a high degree of anonymity and some level of complexity (i.e., multiple intermediaries are involved). The NRA also highlights that the significant use of cash may make it difficult for the authorities to establish the original source of funds, and that it may be difficult to know how the funds or resources will be used once transferred to partner organizations or third parties.

183. Canada has implemented a targeted approach regarding the NPO sector vulnerability to TF. In 2015, the CRA, which regulates charities under the Income Tax Act, conducted a review in addition to the NRA, to examine the size, scope and composition of the NPO sector in Canada and to determine which organizations, by virtue of their activities and characteristics, were at greater risk of being abused for terrorist support purposes. The CRA found that, in Canada, the organizations at greatest risk of terrorist abuse because of the nature of their activities and characteristics are charities. As a result, the authorities concluded that, in the Canadian context, NPOs that fall within the FATF definition are charities. Four reports had previously been published regarding the sector, notably a “Non-Profit Organisation Risk Identification Project” in 2009. Canada has a large NPO sector, comprising of approximately 180,000 organizations. The sector can be divided into two groups: charities and NPOs, depending on their legal structures. While both are exempt from paying taxes, federally registered charities (of which there are approximately 86,000) receive additional fiscal privileges and submit annual information returns, which include notably the names of the directors or trustee, a description of its activity and financial information, including sources of funding. Non-charity NPOs (of which there are approximately 94,000) having assets in excess of Can$200,000 or annual investment income exceeding Can$10,000 are not required to register, but must file an annual NPO Information Return with the CRA.70 In addition, non-charity NPOs incorporated provincially or federally would be required to file certain information with the provincial or federal governments on an annual basis depending on the statute under which the organization is formed. This typically includes information related to address, directors, and the date of the last general meeting. In certain cases, organizations may have to provide detailed financial information depending on value of assets or fund received.

184. CRA-Charities reviews all applications for charitable registration and conducts audits of registered charities. From 2008–2014, CRA-Charities completed approximately 5,000 audits in total; 16 these audits comprised a national security concern, eight of which resulted in revocation of registration.71 If an applicant charity does not meet the requirements of registration, e.g., due to terrorism concerns, the CRA denies its application.72 Through its work, CRA-Charities may take administrative action to disrupt an organization’s activities where it has identified a risk of terrorist abuse, and/or relay the information to LEAs. If a registered charity no longer complies with the requirements of registration, for any reason including connections to terrorism, the division can apply a range of regulatory interventions and, in the most the serious cases, may revoke the registration.

185. CRA-Charities conducts outreach to advise charities of their legislative requirements and how to protect themselves from terrorist abuse. This includes general guidance on topics related to sound internal governance, accountability procedures, and transparent reporting, as well as specific tools such as a checklist on avoiding terrorism abuse and a web page on operating in the international context. CRA-Charities will build on this existing outreach through its enhanced outreach plan. CRA-Charities has begun consultations with the sector to educate them on the risk of terrorist abuse and to gain a better understanding of their needs in terms of outreach and guidance.

186. National coordination has been enhanced. The CRA shares information with relevant partners where there are concerns that a charity is engaged in providing support to terrorism. If the division encounters information that is relevant to a terrorism investigation when carrying out its regulatory duties, it shares that information with national security partners and LEAs. The division shared information with domestic national security partners in support of their mandate in 47 cases. Similarly, the division received information from partners in 51 cases to assist with its analysis, in 2014/2015. In addition, to facilitate the sharing of information, a secondment program between the CRA and its partners has been instituted: CRA employees are seconded to the partner agencies and employees from the partner agencies are seconded to the CRA.

187. According to the CRA’s NPO Sector Review of 2015 the 86.000 registered charities represent 68 percent of all revenues of the NPO sector and nearly 96 percent of all donations (see R.8). CRA registered charities also account for a substantial share of the sector’s foreign activities as about 75 percent of internationally operating NPOs are registered as charities. In addition, as detailed above, all registered charities, regardless of the value of their assets, and all NPOs with assets in excess of Can$200,000 or annual investment income exceeding Can$10,000 must file an annual information return with the CRA, which includes the provision of financial information. In addition, registered charities with revenue in excess of $100,000, and/or property used for charitable activities over Can$25,000, and/or that have sought permission to accumulate funds, must provide more detailed financial information. The authorities identify charities as being the organizations falling under the FATF definition of NPOs and reviewed the NPO’s sector (see Box 12).

Canadian NPO’s Sector Review

The national regulator of registered charities, i.e., the CRA, conducted a domestic review of the entire NPO sector in Canada in order to identify which organizations, by virtue of their activities and characteristics, were at greater risk of being abused for terrorist support purposes. The review aimed to ensure that Canada (i) is not taking an overly broad interpretation of the FATF definition of NPO, (ii) focuses on those organizations that are at greatest risk, and (iii) does not burden organizations that not at risk with onerous reporting requirements for TF purposes.

The CRA reviewed existing publications and research by governmental, academic, and non-profit organizations related to the non-profit sector, including reports by Statistics Canada on non-profit institutes, consultations on regulations affecting the sector, and studies on trends in charitable giving and volunteering. In addition, it looked at existing laws and reporting requirements affecting NPOs. To determine where there is risk, NPOs were categorized based on shared characteristics such as purpose, activities, size and location of operation. The CRA compared those characteristics with the elements of the FATF definition of NPO. It also took into consideration the findings of the FATF typologies report Risk of Terrorist Abuse in NPOs to identify features that put organizations a greater risk.

The CRA found that, in Canada, the organizations at greatest risk of terrorist abuse are charities. As a result, the authorities concluded that, in the Canadian context, only charities fall within the FATF definition of NPO. While organizations at greatest risk are charities, not all charities are at risk. The insight obtained from the sector review allowed Canada to focus on charities as the starting point for its NRA.

Source: FATF Best practices paper on combating the abuse of NPOs—October 2015.

188. The registered charity met during the assessment is large and has a number of international connections. It has a good understanding of its vulnerability to TF and has implemented adequate measures to mitigate that risk, without disrupting legitimate NPO activities.

Deprivation of TF Assets and Instrumentalities

189. As of February 2015, the total amount of frozen assets belonging to designated entities is Can$131,235 in 12 bank accounts, Can$29,200 in six life insurance policies, nine house insurance policies, and one automobile insurance policy, totaling Can$3,248,612 frozen. The number of entities that had their assets frozen was not provided.

190. Despite the high number of TF occurrences (see IO.9), no assets and instrumentalities related to TF were seized or confiscated in circumstances other than designations. There are several reasonable explanations for this. LEAs indicated that, in several cases, no assets or instrumentalities were found. In others cases, the lack of confiscation can be due to the fact that TF investigations do not always result in TF charges and other means of disruption (see IO.9). The authorities also provided cases of TF investigations unrelated to the UN designations where the RCMP seized some assets and instrumentalities,73 but did not proceed to seek their confiscation.

Consistency of Measures with Overall TF Risk Profile

191. While the terrorist threat has grown in the recent years, in particular in light of an increased number of Canadian nationals who have joined terrorist groups abroad,74 not all terrorist entities identified have financing or support in Canada. In October 2014, Canada was victim of two terrorist attacks in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Ottawa, perpetrated by two Canadian citizens who intended to travel abroad for extremist purposes, but had been prevented from doing so. The TF investigation related to these events was still ongoing at the time of the assessment. In other instances, the authorities detected the transfer of suspected terrorist funds to international locations. These transfers had been conducted through a number of methods, including the use of MSBs, banks, and NPOs, as well as smuggling bulk cash across borders.

192. Canada has demonstrated to some extent only that it pursues the TF threat that it faces (see IO.9). The system suffers from inadequate implementation of UNSCRs by DNFBPs. Nevertheless, it must also be noted that, in some respect, Canada goes beyond the standard—this in particular the case with respect to the CC terrorist list, which Canada reviews every two years to ensure that the legal threshold for listing continues to be met for each entity listed.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 10

193. Canada has achieved a substantial level of effectiveness for IO.10.

E. Immediate Outcome 11 (PF Financial Sanctions)

Implementation of Targeted Financial Sanctions Related to Proliferation Financing without Delay

194. Canada’s framework to implement the relevant UN CFP sanctions relies on three main components: (i) a prohibition to conduct financial transactions to Iran and the DPRK, with a few regulated exceptions, (ii) an obligation to freeze assets of designated persons; and (iii) an obligation to notify the competent authorities of any frozen assets.

195. Canada implemented the UNSCR 1737 and 1718 obligations, including part of the freezing obligations, by issuing within the UN-requested timeline two regulations dealing with Iran and the DPRK respectively. Both regulations impose freezing obligations that are generally comprehensive (see R.7). The lead agency for their implementation is GAC. Canada also went beyond the standard by imposing additional unilateral sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA). As a result of its Controlled Engagement Policy towards both countries, the Canadian Government does not engage in active trade promotion with Iran and the DPRK, and, with almost all commercial financial transactions between Canada and Iran prohibited, the volume of existing bilateral trade with both countries has dropped considerably. Canada also ensured that the exceptions to the general prohibition of conducting financial transactions75 do not apply with respect to designated persons and entities.

196. Decisions taken by the UNSC under 1737 and 1718 take immediate effect in Canada. The current lists of designated persons and entities are published on the OSFI website. To facilitate the implementation of the TFS, guidance is provided on the GAC and OSFI website.76 In addition, OSFI notifies the FRFIs of any changes to the lists on the same day as the changes occur, or on the day that follows the receipt of the note verbale. It also reminds FRFIs on a monthly basis of their screening and freezing obligations, either per web post or per email. Its guidance requires FRFIs to search their records for designated names in two ways: (i) by screening new customers’ names against the official lists at the time such customers are accepted; and (ii) by conducting a full search of all customers’ databases “continuously,” which the guidance defines as “weekly at a minimum.” No other authorities provide notifications to other REs of changes made to the lists. As a result, while the legal obligations to implement PF-related TFS are the same across the range of REs, swift action is actively facilitated in the case of FRFIs only. REs may nevertheless subscribe to the RSS feeds on the GAC website, or to the UN notification system, in order to be notified of changes to the Iran and DPRK regulations.

Identification of Assets and Funds Held by Designated Persons/Entities and Prohibitions

197. Canada has had some success in identifying funds and other assets of designated persons, and preventing these funds from being used, as indicated in the table below. Two of the larger banks, as well as one provincial FI and two life insurers have identified assets of designated persons, frozen those assets (where available), and reported the case to the RCMP, OSFI, and FINTRAC. The assets were detected through timely screening of the FIs’ customers’ (but not other parties such as the beneficial owner, despite OSFI’s guidance in this respect) against the UN lists. While the freezing are occurrences are low, they nevertheless indicate that FIs and in particular D-SIBs are taking measures to prevent their potential misuse for PF activities. No information was provided on the timing of the freezing measures.

Table 17.

Assets Reported Under the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on both Iran and the DPRK, as of September 2015

article image

198. Canada went beyond the UN listings by investigating the financial components of proliferation activities detected on their territory. The authorities successfully prosecuted one individual for the export of prohibited dual-use goods. The enforcement function is shared between the RCMP and the CBSA, with the former taking the lead in instances that include a potential nexus with national security or OCGs, and the CBSA taking the lead in other instances. So far, the investigations revealed no need for freezing measures: the individuals had little assets, most of which had been used to purchase unauthorized dual use goods.

199. Through the analysis of STRs and other information, FINTRAC has detected potential violations of the SEMA and import-export legislation which it disclosed to the CBSA and CSIS.77 The analysis of STRs notably pointed to some instances of potential wire stripping and sanctions evasion. No figures were provided as the system does not keep track of STRs that also mention suspicion of PF. According to the authorities, in most instances, the REs may not specifically refer to suspicions of PF, but simply highlight that the transactions does not make economic sense. FINTRAC has discussed some of these cases with its partner agencies in the operation meetings of the Counter-Proliferation Operations Committee.

FIs and DNFPBs’ Understanding of and Compliance with Obligations

200. Large FIs, and in particular the D-SIBs, have a good understanding of their freezing obligations, including with respect to PF. They generally have staff dedicated to the implementation of TFS that regularly check the UN lists. They are also aware of the risk of wire stripping and have reported instances of potential wire stripping to FINTRAC. Smaller FRFIs have a relatively good understanding of their obligations, although several do not distinguish the PF-related from the TF-related sanctions. DNFBPs, however, are far less aware of their PF-related obligations, so far, none of them have frozen assets belonging to designated persons.

201. Some outreach has been conducted, notably by the RCMP, with a view to increase the general public’s awareness of the proliferation risk. Although some of the outreach activities include information on red flags for potentially suspicious PF activities, these efforts have, so far, mainly focused on proliferation activities rather than the implementation of related TFS.

Competent Authorities Ensuring and Monitoring Compliance

202. There is no formal mechanism for monitoring and ensuring compliance by FIs and DNFBPs with PF-related obligations. Nevertheless, some monitoring does take place in practice with respect to FRFIs: OSFI, in the exercise of its general functions, has examined the systems put in place by FRFIs to implement the sanctions regimes for both TF and PF. It has also identified shortcomings (in particular the lack of screening of persons other than the customer) and requested improvements in the screening processes. As a result of a sanction recently imposed by the U.S. regulator on a foreign bank with subsidiary operations in Canada and the U.S. for violations of the PF-related sanctions, OSFI increased its dialogue with and monitoring of that specific bank. Ultimately, it was satisfied that the activities conducted in Canada were different than those conducted in the U.S. and that the risk was limited in Canada. OSFI is not, however, habilitated to sanction any potential breach of PF-related obligations.

203. While this ad hoc monitoring by the OSFI is proving helpful with respect to FRFIs and useful in identifying shortcoming in their implementation of TFS, it does not entirely compensate the lack of a more comprehensive monitoring system.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 11

204. Canada has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness with IO.11.

Preventive Measures

A. Key Findings

Several, but not all REs listed in the standard are subject to Canada’s AML/CFT framework:

  • AML/CFT requirements were found to breach the constitutional right to attorney-client privilege by the Supreme Court of Canada, and, as a result, are inoperative with respect to legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries. The exclusion of these professions is not line with the standard and raises serious concerns (e.g., in light of these professionals’ key gatekeeper role in high-risk activities such as real estate transactions and formation of corporations and trusts).

  • TCSPs (other than trust companies), non-FI providers of open loop pre-paid card, factoring companies, leasing and financing companies, check cashing business and unregulated mortgage lenders, online gambling, and virtual currencies do not fall under the AML/CFT regime, but legislative steps have been taken with respect to online gambling, open-loop pre-paid cards and virtual currencies.

FIs including the D-SIBs have a good understanding of the ML/TF risks and of their AML/CFT obligations. While a number of FIs have gone beyond existing requirements (e.g., in correspondent banking), technical deficiencies in some of the CDD requirements (e.g., related to PEPs) undermine the effective detection of some very high-risk threats, such as corruption.

Requirements—on FIs only—pertaining to beneficial ownership were strengthened in 2014 but there is an undue reliance on customers’ self-declaration for the purpose of confirming beneficial ownership.

Although REs have gradually increased the number of STRs and threshold-based reports filed, the number of STRs filed by DNFBPs other than casinos remains very low.

With the exception of casinos and BC notaries, DNFBPs—and real estate agents in particular—are not adequately aware of their AML/CFT obligations.

B. Recommended Actions

Canada should:

  • Ensure that legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries are subject to AML/CFT obligations when engaged in the financial transactions listed in the standard.

  • Ensure that TCSPs (other than trust companies) open loop pre-paid cards, including non FI providers, virtual currency and on line gambling to AML/CFT requirements.

  • Require DNFBPs to identify and verify the identity of beneficial owners and PEP in line with the standard.

  • Require FIs to implement preventive measures with respect to PEPs, and wire transfers in line with the FATF standards, and monitor (e.g., through targeted inspections) and ensure compliance by all FIs of their obligation to confirm the accuracy of beneficial ownership in relation to all customers.

  • Enhance the dialogue with DNFBPs other than casinos to increase their understanding of their respective ML/TF vulnerabilities and AML/CFT obligations, in particular with real estate agents, dealers in precious metals and stones (DPMS) (with greater involvement of the provincial regulators and the relevant trade and professional associations). Update ML/TF typologies and specific red flags addressed to the different categories of DNFBPs to assist in the detection of suspicious transactions.

  • Consider introducing a licensing or registration regime, or other controls for DPMS.

  • Monitor and ensure DNFBPs’ and small retail MSBs’ compliance with TFS obligations.

  • Issue further guidance, especially to non-FRFIs, on the new requirements related to domestic PEPs.

  • Strengthen feedback to small banks and the insurance sector on the use of STRs.

  • Issue guidance for all REs to facilitate the detection of the possible misuse of open loop prepaid cards in ML and TF schemes.

The relevant Immediate Outcome considered and assessed in this chapter is IO.4. The recommendations relevant for the assessment of effectiveness under this section are R.9–23.

C. Immediate Outcome 4 (Preventive Measures)

Understanding of ML/TF Risks and the Application of Mitigating Measures

205. The level of understanding of ML/TF risks and AML/CFT obligations, as well as the application of mitigating measures vary greatly amongst the various REs.

206. FIs are aware of the main threats and high-risk sectors identified in the NRA, as well as of the level of ML/TF vulnerabilities associated to their activities. Recent trends in the FIs’ understanding of risks and AML/CFT obligations is not immediately apparent in the supervisory data (because the latter aggregates as “partial deficiencies” both minor and more severe failures), but, according to the authorities, have been positive. The major banks have developed comprehensive group-wide risk assessments and implement mitigating measures derived from detailed consideration of all relevant risk factors (including lines of business, products, services, delivery channels, customer profiles). Several other FIs stated that their risk assessment and mitigating measures are already in line with the findings of the NRA. Specific attention is paid to cash (including potentially associated to tax evasion) and to the geographic risk (which, especially in the case of large banks, takes into account the index of corruption developed by relevant international organization and includes offshore financial centers). Some FIs also consider trust accounts held by lawyers and other legal professions as presenting a higher risk and, as a result, conduct enhanced monitoring of these accounts. Specific products associated to real estate transactions, such as mortgage loans, are also considered as high-risk products. Over the last three fiscal years, a total of 9,556 STRs were filed with FINTRAC regarding suspected ML/TF activities in relation to real estate, which represents 3,8 percent of the overall amount of STRs received, with most STRs coming from banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, and trust and loan companies. The main typologies identified in this respect range from the use of nominees by criminals to purchase real estate or structuring of cash deposits to more sophisticated schemes where, for example, loan and mortgage schemes are used in conjunction with the use of lawyer’s trust account.

207. In some instances, however, the regulator’s onsite inspections revealed issues with the quality and scope of the risk assessments, especially in relation to the elements taken into account as inherent risk of individuals, and to the consistency among business-lines. Smaller FRFIs display a weaker understanding of ML/TF risks, and tend to regard AML/CFT obligations as a burden.

208. The life insurance sector appears to underestimate the level of risk that it faces. According to FINTRAC supervisory findings, life insurance companies and trust and loan companies that are non-FRFIs show the highest level of deficiency in their risk assessment, as well as the weakest understanding of their AML/CFT obligations. Non-federally regulated life insurance companies have a weak understanding of their ML/TF risks than federally regulated companies, and appear particularly refractory to improving AML/CFT compliance.

209. The representatives of the securities sector recognized the high risk rating of their activities, but also noted that the higher level of risk lie mainly in smaller security firms and individuals. Firms not involved in cross-border activities seem to underestimate their vulnerability to ML risk, having a limited notion of geographic risk, as mainly referred to offshore countries. Overall, securities dealers have a good understanding of their AML/CFT obligations, although supervisory findings highlight that the level of understanding is weaker in more simplified structures and that internal controls are a recurring area of weakness.

210. MSBs’ level of awareness of AML/CFT obligations is consistent with their size and level of sophistication of their business model. MSBs that operate globally as part of larger networks are aware of the specific ML/TF risks that they face (i.e., risks emanating mainly from the fact their activity is essentially cash-based). They have developed specific criteria to evaluate certain risk (e.g., the risks posed by their agents) to enable them to determine the appropriate level of controls. While the assessment team did not have an opportunity to meet with representative from the smaller independent MSBs,78 representatives from other private sector entities as well as FINTRAC confirm that smaller MSBs are far less aware of their AML/CFT obligations and their vulnerabilities to ML/TF. According to FINTRAC, community-specific MSBs are reluctant to apply enhanced due diligence to higher risk customers. To assist mainly small MSBs in the development of a RBA, on September 1, 2015 FINTRAC developed an RBA workbook for MSBs.

211. Casinos vary greatly in size, complexity, and business models. All the relevant gaming activities are subject to AML/CFT requirements where (on the basis of the model in place) the province or the Crown corporation is responsible for their compliance. Representatives from casinos demonstrated a good understanding of their AML/CFT obligations and of the most frequent ML typologies in their sector. Nevertheless, their implementation of CDD measures seems to follow a tick-box approach rather than be based on an articulated risk-assessment. Moreover, casinos seem to be essentially focused on cash, and appear to underestimate to some extent the risk posed by funds received from accounts with FIs.

212. DPMS are highlighted as a high-risk in the NRA. Compliance examinations conducted between 2012 and 2014 revealed industry-wide non-compliance. FINTRAC has worked with two DPMS associations (namely the Canadian Jewelers Association, CJA, and the Jewelers Vigilance Canada, JVC, which, together, represent about one quarter of the Canadian DPMS) to strengthen compliance of this sector. This has led to an increase in these DPMS’ understanding of their AML/CFT obligations, as shown in subsequent examinations. Nevertheless, the absence of licensing or registration system or other forms of controls applicable to the sector in its entirely creates major practical obstacles for FINTRAC to properly establish the precise range of subjects that it should reach out to.

213. The real estate agents met, despite being aware of the results of NRA, consider that they face a low risk because physical cash is not generally used in real estate transactions. As the normal practice is to accept bank drafts—agents consider banks have mitigated the ML/TF risk. In the province of Quebec, notaries trust accounts are used to deposit the funds involved in real estate transactions—real estate agents therefore consider that notaries are in a better position to detect possible ML activities, but Quebec notaries are not currently covered by the AML/CFT regime. Real estate agents are overly confident on the low risk posed by “local customer,” as well as non-resident customer originating from countries with high levels of corruption.

214. The accountants’ level of awareness of AML/CFT obligations is quite low. The competent professional association underlined that, in the absence of guidance and outreach efforts, accountants are often unclear as to when they are subject to the AML/CFT regime.

215. BC notaries provide a wide range of services related to residential and commercial real estate transfers. They are, however, not fully aware of the risk and their gatekeeper role in relation to real estate transactions. Like real estate agents, they consider that all risks have been mitigated by the bank whose account the funds originated from.

216. In May 2015, FINTRAC issued guidance to assist REs in the implementation of their RBA. Most representatives of DNFBPs considered this helpful, but also expressed the need for further initiatives focused on their respective activities.

217. AML/CFT obligations are inoperative towards legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries involved in the activities listed in the standard. In February 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that a portion of Canada’s AML/CFT legislation is unconstitutional as to attorneys, because it violates the solicitor-client privilege. Representatives from the private sector and the Canadian authorities confirmed that lawyers in Canada are frequently involved in financial transactions, often related to high-risk sectors, such as real estate, as well as in the formation of trust and companies. In the context of real estate transactions, in particular, lawyers and Quebec notaries provide not only legal advice, but also trading services,79 and receive sums from clients for the purchase of a property or a business, deposited and held temporarily in their trust accounts. Representatives of the Federation of Law Societies, although aware of the findings of the NRA, did not demonstrate a proper understanding of ML/TF risks of the legal profession. In particular, they appeared overly confident that the mitigation measures adopted by provincial and territorial law societies (i.e., the prohibition of conducting large cash transactions80 and the identification and record-keeping requirements for certain financial transactions performed on behalf of the clients)81 mitigate the risks. While monitoring measures are applied by the provincial and territorial law societies, they are limited in scope and vary from one province to the other. The onsite visit interviews suggested that the fact that AML/CFT requirements do not extend to legal counsels, legal firms and Quebec notaries also undermines, to some extent, the commitment of REs performing related functions (i.e., real estate agents and accountants).

CDD and Record-Keeping

218. CDD obligations, and especially those dealing with beneficial ownership, politically exposed foreign persons (PEFPs) and, for FIs, wire transfers, are not fully in line with FATF standards. In addition, some DNFBPs are not subject to AML/CFT requirements and monitoring (see TCA for more details).

219. Since February 2014, FIs are required to obtain, take reasonable measures to confirm, and keep records of the information about an entity’s beneficial ownership. In practice, FIs seem to interpret this new provision as requiring mostly a declaration of confirmation by the customer that the information provided is accurate, to be followed, in some cases, by an open source search. Only a few of the FIs interviewed stated that they would spend time to check the information received and verify the information through further documents and information, which raises concerns. The undue reliance on a customer’s self-declaration (as a way to replace the duty to confirm the accuracy of the information provided) appears to be a significant deficiency in the implementation of preventive measures and OSFI has issued findings to FRFIs requiring that more robust beneficial ownerships confirmation measures be undertaken. Moreover, REs have limited methods to confirm the accuracy of beneficial ownership information (see IO.5). Several FIs are in the process of implementing the new requirement by reviewing the information gathered for their existing customers, but most of the FIs interviewed were unable to establish the current stage of this review.

220. Due to the recent entry in force of the new beneficial ownership requirements, there is limited information on how well FRFIs are complying with the new obligations. Recent supervisory findings—albeit limited in numbers—suggest that serious deficiencies remain.

221. Discussions with DNFBPs, in particular those with real estate representatives, highlighted that even basic CDD requirements are not properly understood and that the implementation of the “third-party determination rule” seems to be mainly limited to asking the customer whether he/she is acting under the instructions of other subjects, without further enquiry.

222. Measures to prevent and mitigate the risks emanating from corruption and bribery (classified as very high threats in the NRA) are insufficient, because of shortcomings in the legal framework (see TCA) and weak implementation of existing requirements. REs’ capacity to properly detect these criminal activities is significantly undermined. This is in particular the case with DNFBPs considering that they are not required to take specific measures when dealing with PEPs. In order to determine whether they are in a business relationship with foreign PEPs (i.e., PEFPs) or their family members, FIs combine the information gathered through the client identification forms and the screening process (realized mainly through commercial databases). Most FIs interviewed limited their search to the customer and did not seem to establish whether they were dealing with “close associates” of PEFPs. Furthermore, the range of information required by FIs is limited to the source of funds, and does not always include the source of wealth. Most FIs appear to be over-reliant on the self-declaration of the customer to determine the source of funds, and do not perform further verification of the accuracy of the information provided. The approval of senior management can be obtained “within 14 days” from the day on which the account is activated, which will be extended to 30 days when the new provisions on domestic PEPs enter into force. Some FIs confirmed that, during that timeframe, the PEPs can operate the account—the business relationship can therefore be conducted without adequate controls having taken place. According to OSFI’s supervisory findings, in some cases, the involvement of senior management occurs even beyond the prescribed timeframe.

223. There are nevertheless some encouraging signs: over the last four fiscal years, FINTRAC assessed non-FRFIs’ determination of PEFPs82 in the context of 2,508 examinations in four different sectors (credit unions and caisses populaires, trust and loan companies, MSB and securities dealers), and identified shortcomings were identified in only four percent of the cases.

224. Several FRFIs, including the D-SIBs,83 interviewed, apply an onboarding procedure for all customers who include the same determination in relation to “domestic PEPs” and the same enhanced due diligence measures; in order to determine whether a customer is a “domestic PEP,” the large banks rely mainly on the information contained in commercial databases. The notion of “domestic PEP” that they apply varies greatly from one institution to the other, and focuses on customers only, i.e., without taking the beneficial owners into account. Some non-FRFIs expressed the need for timely guidance to clarify and facilitate the implementation of the new requirement regarding domestic PEPs and their close associates.

225. DNFBPs, however, are not required to determine whether they are dealing with foreign PEPs. The interviews conducted confirmed that the political role of customers is not an element that DNFBPs take into account in practice to determine whether further mitigation measures are necessary.

226. While FRFIs have adequate record-keeping measures in place, the smaller credit unions, retail money services business and DNFBPs active mainly in the real estate sector implement weaker measures, which are mainly paper based or based on a combination of paper and manual procedures. FINTRAC identified several deficiencies in record-keeping procedures of BC notaries as well, especially with respect to the conveyancing of real estate.

227. Correspondent banking services are mostly offered by D-SIBs. The D-SIBs have a centralized global management and monitoring of correspondent banking relationships. In some cases, they go above and beyond the current requirements: for example, when reviewing correspondent bank relationships, they also take the quality of AML/CFT supervision into account. Controls on correspondent banking seem to be also reviewed through visits on site and testing procedures by the internal audit. According to OSFI supervisory findings, FRFIs properly assess these services as a higher risk activity, taking necessary mitigation measures.

228. Before introducing new technologies and products, banks typically conduct an assessment of the potential ML/TF risks (and, in doing so, go beyond the requirements of Canadian law). Some banks indicated the lack of information from the authorities regarding typologies on possible exploitation of emerging products that would be helpful in their risk assessment. Among the new products it is worth noting that pre-paid cards are used in Canada but are not currently subject to AML/CFT requirements.84 Nevertheless, OSFI has alerted FRFIs in the context of its inspections to the need to consider that reloadable prepaid cards operate similarly to deposit accounts, and therefore require equivalent mitigation measures. OSFI supervisory findings reveals that in two cases, FIs had failed to integrate their risk assessment regarding prepaid cards into their overall risk assessment methodology as well as to establish effective controls over their agents. Following OSFI’s supervisory interventions, the two institutions are now implementing prepaid access controls in reloadable card programs similar to controls over deposit accounts. Regulatory amendments to include prepaid cards in the regulations are being developed. Other new products currently used—albeit to a very limited extent—include virtual currencies,85 which fall outside the current framework but which the government has proposed to regulate for AML/CFT purposes.86

229. Some of the larger FIs and money transfer companies go beyond current requirements for wire transfers and the filing of EFTRs by applying stricter measures: they notably monitor such transfers on a continuous basis through sample checks of wires received on behalf of customers in order to verify whether they contain adequate originator information, and, if not, take up the matter with the originating banks.

230. FIs have a good understanding of their obligations with respect to TFS (see IO.10). MSBs belonging to large networks, although they are not required to screen on a continuous basis their customer base against the sanctions lists, in practice do so. Onsite supervisory inspections revealed, however, deficiencies in the timeliness of the name-screening processes, as well as in their scope (because they do not always extend the screening to the beneficial owners and authorized signers of corporate entities). According to industry representatives and FINTRAC, this is not the case in smaller independent MSBs, where less sophisticated procedures of record-keeping and monitoring are in place.

231. DNFBPs, in particular in the real estate sector, acknowledged that they do not fully understand the requirements related to TFS. They also recognized that their implementation of these requirements is weak, largely because their procedures are mainly paper-based.

Reporting Obligations and Tipping Off

232. With the exception of casinos, reporting by the DNFBPs sectors is very low, including in high-risk sectors identified in the NRA.

Table 18.

Number of STRs Filed by FIs and DNFBPs

article image

233. Nevertheless, FINTRAC is of the view that the quality of STRs is generally good and improving. The 1,256 examinations conducted in this respect from 2011/12 to 2014/15, revealed that 82 percent of REs examined complied with their obligation. In particular, the REs’ write-up for Part G of the reporting form (which relates to the reason for the suspicions) has evolved over the years from a basic summary to a very thorough and complex analysis of the facts. FINTRAC also noted that the percentage of STRs submitted with errors has significantly decreased, namely from 84 percent (in July 2011) to 17 percent (in July 2015). Most FIs interviewed rely on both front line staff and automated monitoring systems to detect suspicions. At the end of their internal evaluation process, if the STR is not filed, a record is kept with the rationale for the lack of reporting. STRs are generally filed within 30 days.

234. Awareness and implementation of reporting obligations vary greatly amongst the various sections. In particular: casinos are adequately aware of their reporting obligations. The larger casinos detect suspicious transactions not only through front-line staff, but also through analytical monitoring tools developed at the corporate level on the transaction performed and on the basis of video-investigation in order to identify possible unusual behaviors (such as passing chips). They also report to FINTRAC suspicious transactions that were merely attempted. The real estate sector, however, appears generally unaware of the need to report suspicious transactions that have not been executed. In brokerage firms, the detection of suspicious transactions is mainly left to the “feeling” of the individual agents, rather than the result of a structured process assisted by specific red flags. MSBs, securities dealers and DPMS have significantly increased the number of STRs filed, mainly in response to the outreach, awareness raising and monitoring activities performed by FINTRAC. The caisses populaires have also increased their reporting as a result of the centralized system of detection of suspicious transactions developed by the Fédération des Caisses Desjardins du Quebec.

235. The larger REs interviewed had good communication channels with FINTRAC and receive adequate feedback on an annual basis on the quality of their STRs and on the number of convictions related to FINTRAC’s disclosure. In particular, a Major Reporter Group was established in FINTRAC to foster dialogue. In this context, FINTRAC hosted, in May 2014, a first forum for D-SIBs to enhance compliance with STRs obligations and targeted feedback sessions, and another, in 2015, for casinos. D-SIBs and casinos met considered these forums particularly helpful. Small banks and most categories of DNFBPs do not to receive the same kind of feedback.

236. Tipping off does not appear to be a significant problem in Canada. REs have included in their internal policies, controls and training initiatives some provisions that address the prohibition of tipping off. The measures are considered effective by FINTRAC. So far, no charges have been laid as regards tipping off.

Internal Controls and Legal/Regulatory Requirements Impending Implementation

237. OSFI supervisory findings conducted in the last three years confirm that FRFIs apply sufficient internal controls to ensure compliance with AML/CFT requirements with the five core elements of the compliance regime.87 A key OSFI finding is the scope of the two-year review, which is frequently more limited to the existence of controls rather than to their effectiveness.

238. REs with cross-border operations include their overseas branches in their AML/CFT program and extend their internal controls to their foreign subsidiaries. They also adopt the more stringent of Canadian or host jurisdiction rules in their group-wide AML/CFT framework on areas where host country requirements are stricter or more in line with FATF standards. The larger banks reported that they had sharing information mechanisms at group level and, in cases where the local jurisdiction had created obstacles to the information sharing, the local branches were closed.

239. Three of the D-SIBs have branches in Caribbean countries: the two REs interviewed took specific risk mitigating measures by adopting an enterprise-wide management to the highest level. As a result, every high-risk client in the Caribbean must be pre-approved both by senior management in the business and the compliance officer.

240. The data provided by FINTRAC indicates an uneven level of compliance among non-FRFIs. Credit unions and caisses populaires have good internal controls in place, which is not the case for trust and loan companies, securities dealers, insurance sector and MSBs: several deficiencies have been identified, including incomplete or not updated policies and procedures, the limited scope of controls, a lack of comprehensive assessment of effectiveness, and no communication to senior management.

241. DNFBPs other than casino and BC notaries have either no or weak internal controls. The discussions with real estate sector representatives also revealed some concerns about the effective control of the proper implementation of AML/CFT requirements by their agents. Some DNFBPs professional associations are working with their members to assist them in increasing their level of compliance and in increasing their awareness with their obligations. In this context, the associations felt that further engagement with FINTRAC would be useful.

Overall Conclusions on Immediate Outcome 4

242. Canada has achieved a moderate level of effectiveness for IO.4.


A. Key Findings

FINTRAC and OSFI have a good understanding of ML and TF risks; and FIs and DNFBPs are generally subject to appropriate risk-sensitive AML/CFT supervision, but supervision of the real estate and DPMS sectors is not entirely commensurate to the risks in those sectors.

The PCMLTFA is not operative in respect of legal counsels, legal firms, and Quebec notaries—as a result, these professions are not supervised for AML/CFT purposes which represents a major loophole in Canada’s regime.

A few providers of financial activities and other services fall outside the scope of Canada’s supervisory framework (namely TCSPs other than trust companies, and those dealing with open loop pre-paid card, including non FI providers on line gambling and virtual currency, factoring companies, leasing and financing companies, check cashing business, and unregulated mortgage lenders), but legislative steps have been taken with respect to online gambling, open-loop pre-paid cards and virtual currencies..

Supervisory coverage of FRFIs is good, but the current supervisory model generates some unnecessary duplication of effort between OSFI and FINTRAC.

FINTRAC has increased its supervisory capacity to an adequate level but its sector-specific expertise is still somewhat limited. OSFI conducts effective AML/CFT supervision with limited resources.

Market entry controls are good and fitness and probity checks on directors and senior managers of FRFIs robust. There are, however, no controls for DPMS, and insufficient fit-and-proper monitoring of some REs at the provincial level.

Remedial actions are effectively used but administrative sanctions for breaches of the PCMLTFA are not applied in a proportionate and/or sufficiently dissuasive manner.

Supervisory actions have had a largely positive effect on compliance by REs. Increased guidance and feedback has enhanced awareness and understanding of risks and compliance obligations in the financial sector and to a lesser extent in the DNFBP sector.

B. Recommended Actions

Canada should:

  • Ensure that all legal professions active in the areas listed in the standard are subject to AML/CFT supervision.

  • Coordinate more effectively supervision of FRFIs by OSFI and FINTRAC to maximize the use of resources and expertise and review implementation of Canada’s supervisory approach to FRFIs.

  • Ensure that FINTRAC develops sector-specific expertise, continues to have a RBA in its examinations, and applies more intensive supervisory measures to the real estate and DPMS sectors.

  • Ensure that there is a shared understanding between FINTRAC and provincial supervisors of ML/TF risks faced by individual REs and ensure adequate controls are in place after market entry at the provincial level to prevent criminals or their associates from owning or controlling FIs and DNFBPs.

  • Ensure that the administrative sanctions regime is applied to FRFIs and that AMPs are applied in a proportionate and dissuasive manner including to single or small numbers of serious violations and repeat offenders. Ensure that OSFI’s guidelines relating to AML/CFT compliance and fitness and probity measures are subject to the administrative sanctions regime for non-compliance.

  • Provide more focused and sector-specific guidance and typologies for the financial sector and further tailored guidance for DNFBPs, particularly with respect to the reporting of suspicious transactions.

The relevant Immediate Outcome considered and assessed in this chapter is IO.3. The recommendations relevant for the assessment of effectiveness under this section are R.26–28, R.34 and 35.

C. Immediate Outcome 3 (Supervision)

Licensing, Registration and Controls Preventing Criminals and Associates from Entering the Market

243. Market entry controls are applied at federal and provincial level. After market entry, there are effective measures in place at the federal level to ensure that when changes in ownership and senior management occur, FRFIs conduct appropriate fitness and probity (F&P) checks. The federal prudential regulator, OSFI, applies robust controls when licensing a federally regulated financial institution (FRFI). Due diligence measures, including criminal background checks on individuals, are carried out at the market entry stage and OSFI has refused or delayed applications when issues arise. OSFI provided an example where it became aware of misconduct by a small domestic bank’s former CEO and ultimately undertook a suitability review of the person. OSFI concluded that he was not suitable to be an officer of the bank and recommended that he not be a member of the board. The bank removed the officer and as a result, OSFI’s supervisory oversight strategy of the bank was downgraded. After market entry, FRFIs are responsible for implementing controls around the appointment of senior managers and directors of FRFIs under OSFI Guidelines. OSFI supervises FRFIs for compliance around conducting background checks but this control is not as robust as it is the responsibility of FRFIs to apply fit and proper controls after market entry stage rather than OSFI’s in the approval of the appointment of senior managers in FRFIs. Provincial regulators apply market entry controls for non-FRFIs (e.g., securities dealers, credit unions, and caisses populaires). These controls include criminal checks to verify the integrity of applicants and to ensure that RE’s implement fit and proper controls. The controls are usually conducted by the RE but are subject to oversight by the provincial regulators. These market entry controls differ between provinces and sectors but, overall, the market entry controls being applied by provincial regulators are robust.

244. Since its last MER, Canada has implemented a money service business (MSB) registration system under the supervision of FINTRAC. One exception to the federal system of registration is in Quebec, where MSBs register with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) and FINTRAC. Applicants for registration undergo criminal record checks and fitness and probity checks by FINTRAC and AMF. Individuals convicted of certain criminal offenses are ineligible to own or control an MSB. FINTRAC monitors the control of MSBs as they are required to submit updated information on owning or controlling individuals or entities when changes occur and again when the MSB applies for renewal of its registration every two years. FINTRAC has refused to register applicants and has revoked registration when the applicant was convicted for a criminal offense. An example was given where FINTRAC revoked the registration of two MSBs after the conviction of two individuals that owned both MSBs. Another example was provided where an MSB terminated its relationship with an agent due to fitness and probity concerns about the agent as part of follow-up activity conducted after an examination by FINTRAC. When an MSB registration is denied, revoked, expired, or pending, FINTRAC follows-up appropriately, for example by conducting an offsite review or onsite visit to the MSBs’ last known address to ensure that the entity is not operating illegally.

245. There are market entry controls for most DNFBPs in Canada that require them to be licensed or registered by provincial regulators or by self-regulatory bodies (SRBs). Criminal checks are applied by supervisors and SRBs to casinos, BC notaries, accountants, and real estate brokers and agents during the licensing or registration process. The only exception to this is in the DPMS sector where there is no requirement to be registered or licensed or to be subjected to other forms of controls to operate in Canada. All casinos are provincially owned and apply thorough fit and proper procedures for employees.

246. After market entry, provincial regulators conduct some ongoing monitoring of non-FRFIs and DNFBPs and withdraw licenses or registration for criminal violations. The assessment team was provided with examples of restrictions or cancellations of investment dealers’ registration by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) due to misconduct or a violation of the law. However, FINTRAC does not have responsibility for the licensing or registration of FIs or DNFBPs (apart from MSBs) and non-federal supervisors do not appear to implement the same level of controls to monitor of non-FRFIs and DNFBPs to ensure that they are not controlled or owned by criminals or their associates after the licensing or registration stage.

Supervisors’ Understanding and Identification of ML/TF Risks

247. Supervisors in Canada participated in the NRA process and understand the inherent ML/TF risks in the country. FINTRAC and OSFI have a good understanding of ML/TF risks in the financial and DNFBP sectors.

248. FINTRAC is the primary AML/CFT supervisor for all REs in Canada and is relied upon by provincial regulators to understand ML/TF risks within their population and to carry out AML/CFT specific supervision. Provincial supervisors integrate ML/TF risk into their wider risk assessment models and leverage off FINTRAC for their assessment of ML/TF risks as FINTRAC has responsibility for AML/CFT compliance supervision in Canada.

249. OSFI is the prudential regulator for FRFIs and conducts an ML/TF specific risk assessment that applies an inherent risk rating to entities on a group-wide basis rather than an individual basis. It is also able to leverage off its prudential supervisors to better understand the vulnerabilities of individual FRFIs complementing the results of the NRA. OSFI demonstrated that it understands the FRFIs’ ML/TF risks through its risk assessment model that appropriately identifies the vulnerabilities in the different sectors and REs under its supervision. It also collaborates well with FINTRAC and other supervisors on their understanding of ML/TF risk. This is very important strength of Canada’s system because FRFIs account for over 80 percent of the financial sector’s assets in the country. The sector is dominated by a relatively small number of FRFIs: the six D-SIBs control the banking market and hold a significant portion of the trust and loan company and securities markets in Canada. The largest life insurance companies in Canada are also federally regulated. OSFI has identified 34 FRFIs as high-risk, 32 as medium-risk, and 66 as low-risk. The D-SIBS are all rated as high-risk, given their size, transaction volumes and presence in a range of markets. OSFI updates its risk category for an FRFI or FRFI group on an ongoing basis following onsite assessments, ongoing monitoring and follow-up work. The outcomes from OSFI’s risk assessment are effective.

250. FINTRAC has recently developed a sophisticated risk assessment model that assigns risk ratings to sectors and individual REs: the model was reviewed in detail by the assessment team and was compared against the data being collected and analyzed in FINTRAC’s case management tool. The model is a comprehensive ML/TF analytical tool that considers various factors to predict the likelihood and consequence of non-compliance by a RE. On the basis of its analysis, it rates reporting sectors and entities and the rating is then used to inform its supervisory strategy. FINTRAC’s risk assessment has rated all 31,000 REs under the PCMLTFA and identified banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, securities dealers, MSBs and casinos as high-risk. FINTRAC has incorporated the findings of the NRA into the model to take account of the inherent risk ratings identified in the real estate and DPMS sectors.

251. Other supervisors, notably AMF and IIROC, integrate ML/TF risk into wider operational risk assessment models of entities that they supervise. They rely on FINTRAC to understand the ML/TF risks among all REs and to disseminate this information to prudential or conduct supervisors, given FINTRAC’s role as primary supervisor for AML/CFT compliance in Canada. This appears to be happening in cases where AML/CFT issues arise in the course of prudential or conduct supervision. However, FINTRAC does not share with other supervisors its understanding of ML/TF risks in particular sectors on a regular basis. Provincial supervisors are therefore not aware of the ML/TF risks faced in their respective sectors, particularly around vulnerabilities relevant to ownership and management controls in the non-FRFI and DNFBP sectors. Similarly, FINTRAC and OSFI do not sufficiently share their understanding of detailed risks in FRFIs, e.g., through sharing of existing tools to carry out an integrated risk assessment of all FRFIs. As a result, they do not adequately leverage off their respective knowledge of the different business models and compliance measures in place.

Risk-Based Supervision of Compliance with AML/CFT Requirements

252. The regulatory regime involves both federal and provincial supervisors. FINTRAC is responsible for supervising all FIs and DNFBPs for compliance with their AML/CFT obligations under the PCMLTFA. Other supervisors may incorporate AML/CFT aspects within their wider supervisory responsibilities although the assessment team found that in instances where an AML/CFT issue arose, the primary regulator would refer the issue to FINTRAC. Given the primary responsibility held by FINTRAC for all REs and the federal and provincial division of powers for financial supervision other than in the areas of AML/CFT, combined with the geographical spread of the Canadian regulatory regime, the assessment team focused primarily on FINTRAC and OSFI’s supervisory regime, but also met with provincial supervisors (e.g., AMF in Quebec) and other supervisors (e.g., IIROC for investment dealers).

253. FINTRAC has increased its resources and the level of sophistication of its compliance and enforcement program (“supervisory program”) in recent years. In 2014/2015, there was 79 full-time staff employed in FINTRAC’s supervisory program. Of this, 57 staff members were involved in direct enforcement activities including outreach and engagement (10), reports monitoring (5), examinations (37), and AMPs/NCDs (5). It has also developed, and continues to develop, its supervisory capabilities on a RBA. Its understanding of the different sectors and business models and of how AML/CFT obligations apply taking into account materiality and context is somewhat limited. This was communicated to the assessors by REs in the banking and real estate sectors during the onsite visit. FINTRAC has nevertheless increased its understanding of its different reporting sectors which is a challenge given the large number and diverse range of entities it supervises.

254. A range of supervisory tools is used by FINTRAC to discharge its supervisory responsibilities and, for the most part, those tools are applied consistently with the risks identified. A case management tool determines the level and extent of supervision to be applied to sectors and individual REs scoping specific areas for examinations, recording supervisory findings and managing follow-up activities. High-risk sectors are subject to onsite and desk examinations (details of which are contained in this report). Less intensive supervisory tools are used for lower-risk sectors. These tools include self-assessment questionnaires (Compliance Assessment Reports or CARs); observation letters (setting out deficiencies that require action); Voluntary Self Declarations of Non-Compliance (VSDONC); and policy interpretations on specific issues that require clarification. The use of observation letters was piloted with the caisses populaires sector in 2013/2014. FINTRAC had identified that caisses populaires were reporting large cash transactions of more than Can$10,000 through automated teller machines which was not possible given the low limit on transactions through such machines. Observation letters were used to correct a misinterpretation of reporting obligations and clarify the correct way to report these types of transactions. FINTRAC also uses outreach tools for lower risk sectors assistance and awareness building tools among smaller REs with limited resources, compliance experience and works with industry representatives. While supervisory measures are generally in line with the main ML/TF risks, more intensive supervisory measures should be applied in higher risk areas such as the real estate and DPMS sectors. FINTRAC has updated its risk assessment to identify those sectors as high-risk, in line with the findings of the NRA.

255. OSFI applies a close touch approach to AML/CFT supervision of FRFIs. It engages with FRFIs through its prudential supervisors on an ongoing basis and is well placed to supervise higher-risk entities from an AML/CFT perspective given its knowledge of RE’s business models OSFI has a particular focus on the large banking groups (D-SIBs) and insurance companies that dominate the financial market in Canada. These are identified as not only high-risk for prudential purposes but also for ML/TF as identified by OSFI and in the NRA. There is a specialist AML compliance (AMLC) division solely responsible for AML/CFT and sanctions supervision in OSFI and allocates its resources on a risk sensitive basis to supervise FRFIs. OSFI’s “AML and ATF (i.e., CFT) Methodology and Assessment Processes” assesses the adequacy of FRFIs’ risk management measures through its program of controls and assesses FRFIs’ compliance with legislative requirements and OSFI guidelines. The AMLC division has expertise in the sectors it supervises and is covering the principal FRFIs leveraging off prudential supervision. OSFI has a good understanding of its sector, its staff has a high degree of expertise and it is adequately supervising FRFIs for AML/CFT compliance (in conjunction with FINTRAC). The number of OSFI AML/CFT supervisors (i.e., currently 10 supervisors including senior management) is, however, too low given the size of supervisory population and the market share and importance of FRFIs in the Canadian context.

256. FINTRAC and OSFI provided comprehensive statistics, case studies, and sample files relating to examinations of FIs and DNFBPs. There were a greater number of examinations of FIs than DNFBPs; in line with Canada’s understanding of ML/TF risk and there were more desk-based than onsite examinations. Between April 2010 and March 2015, 3,431 examinations (1,949 desk-based and 1,482 onsite) of FIs were conducted. During the same period, there were 1,300 examinations (895 desk-based and 405 onsite) of DNFBPs.

Table 19.

AML/CFT Examinations Conducted by FINTRAC/OSFI in Canada 2009–2015

article image
article image