HomeRegulatorsFinancial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

On this page, you will learn about FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada) and how it helps money transfer customers have confidence in the Canadian financial markets. The topics we will cover include their responsibilities, importance, the crimes they stop, and when you might encounter them. You will also learn that FINTRAC is a noteworthy regulator that helps you have confidence when sending money to Canada and any other financial transactions.

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FINTRAC is the national financial intelligence agency of Canada. They were established in 2,000 as a result of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act to help investigate and detect money laundering. However, the organization was consequently expanded to include other financial crimes in its list of responsibilities.

The FINTRAC headquarters are in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and they have 342 employees. Also, their annual budget is $51.5 million, and the agency executive is Sarah Paquet. The parent agency of FINTRAC is the Department of Finance, with whom they work closely on several issues.

Since June 2002, FINTRAC has been a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units. This is an international organization that has the aim of providing organizations for intelligence agencies around the world. Collaborating with intelligence agencies abroad enables FINTRAC to protect the Canadian financial markets better.

What Is FINTRAC Responsible for?

Now let us turn our attention toward the various responsibilities of FINTRAC so you can better understand how they can help protect money transfer customers. You will see that they are an essential regulator in the Canadian economy.

  • Information: FINTRAC is responsible for receiving data from regulated financial entities about suspicious transactions, suspected terrorist property, large cash transactions and cross-border currency reporting. This allows them to spot potential money laundering activity.

  • International transfers: FINTRAC examines all incoming and outgoing transactions of over 10,000 CAD within 24 hours. These transactions are flagged since money laundering typically involves large sums of money.

  • Stops crime: one of the primary mandates of FINTRAC is to prevent money laundering, terrorist activity financing and threats to the security of Canada. However, it must achieve these objectives while ensuring that consumer personal information is under control.

  • Cooperation: FINTRAC is 1 of 13 key organizations that work toward stopping money laundering and anti-terrorist financing. Therefore, FINTRAC cooperates with these other organizations to ensure that they are put in the best position to succeed.

Under Bill C-25 in 2006, FINTRAC’s responsibilities were expanded to:

  • Create a registration scheme for money transfer companies and foreign exchange dealers.

  • Create new offences for not registering with their organization.

  • Enhance client identification and record-keeping practices.

Back in 2009, FINTRAC estimated that annually the total amount laundered is about $5 to $15 billion, and since then, it has most likely increased. Overall, FINTRAC analyzed 19 million transactions per year, and in 2017 they disclosed 2,000 of them to the police forces.

What Is the Importance of FINTRAC?

This section looks at the importance of FINTRAC and how they help stabilize the Canadian economy. You will learn how they can positively affect the financial markets, which is essential when sending money to Canada.

  • Trust: economies that support money laundering and terrorist financing are not viewed favourably by the general public. Therefore, eliminating such activities will improve consumer confidence in the economy and their financial institutions. In addition, FINTRAC contributes significantly by monitoring the bad actors using Canadian financial services.

  • Reduces crime: if it is harder to launder money in Canada, then arguably, the crime rates will decrease. In addition, it means criminals will have to go elsewhere, which means Canada will be safer.

  • Helps the police: FINTRAC regularly reports financial transactions to the police that they have determined are noteworthy. This allows the police to catch criminals since following the money trail can lead to the location of bad actors.

A case study of FINTRAC in action involves Nu Stream Realty Inc, which is a real estate broker in Burnaby, British Columbia. According to a filing on the 12th of July, 2022, the broker was fined $230,423 for committing seven violations, and the case was closed.

FINTRAC regularly fines individuals for various violations of the laws they are monitoring. Each case is left on FINTRAC’s official website for up to 5 years so the general public can see that the organization has been busy at work.

FINTRAC Regulations

This section analyses the specific aspects of the FINTRAC that allow you to understand the organization at a glance. You can figure out why it is a noteworthy regulator in protecting the integrity of the Canadian economy.

Regulations: FINTRAC reports to the Parliament of Canada via the Minister of Finance. Additionally, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act states that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada must audit FINTRAC. This is also the act they must follow to enforce the rules and catch questionable transactions.

Furthermore, FINTRAC’s activities are monitored by the National Security and Intelligence Review Agency and the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians.

Crimes: FINTRAC may spot various financial crimes through its monitoring system. However, they focus on money laundering and terrorism financing. When questionable transactions are found then, FINTRAC reports them to the authorities.

Industry: FINTRAC deals with all transactions entering and leaving the Canadian border. Therefore, they are arguably involved with all sectors of the Canadian economy. Automated systems help FINTRAC deal with the large volume of transactions they need to monitor annually.

Accountability: FINTRAC is accountable to the Government of Canada; more specifically, they report to the parliament. Also, the various government-appointed organizations monitor FINTRAC’s activities to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities correctly.

What Regions Does FINTRAC Cover?

FINTRAC covers all regions of Canada. That is because they oversee all transactions that enter and leave the Canadian border. Also, they collaborate with international organizations to ensure they can complete their work. This includes money transfer companies that you might be used to send funds to Canada.

When Might You Encounter FINTRAC?

You might encounter FINTRAC when you have made a questionable transaction. The regulator will contact you and ask for more details about the transaction. This is to ensure that it does not meet the criteria of terrorism financing or money laundering.

Also, you need to proactively share transactions that you make over $10,000. This helps FINTRAC keep an eye on transactions since there is a lot to get through annually.

Can FINTRAC Make New Rules?

FINTRAC does not have the power to update the legislation it must follow when trying to meet its objectives. The Government of Canada dictates how their work must be carried out. However, FINTRAC can update the methodology of its processes to ensure they are better equipped to catch questionable transactions.

How to Contact FINTRAC?

Now we will share the details that you can use to contact FINTRAC. This enables you to get clarification on what you must understand when sending money to Canada.

Other Regulators

Bottom Line

To summarize, FINTRAC has the critical role of ensuring the Canadian financial markets are not used for money laundering or financing terrorism. This arguably improves trust in the Canadian economy and reduces financial crimes in the country. Therefore, money transfer customers can have more faith that they will be sending money to a trusted financial market.

We encourage you to learn more about the process of sending money to Canada. You can start with Send Money To Canada and Send Money from the United States to Canada. Taking a closer look at these pages enables you to get the best FX rates and choose companies that offer the lowest transaction fees.

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Martynas Pupkevicius
Martynas Pupkevicius
Martynas is a seasoned freelance writer that has written on a broad range of topics over his 10 year career. He enjoys diving into the research and sharing what he's learned with readers.