What is the Role of FINTRAC in Canada?
You may have heard of the term FINTRAC but may not understand what it entails. So, to understand what FINTRAC entails, this article will answer the following questions: what is FINTRAC, what does FINTRAC stand for, and what does FINTRAC do?
So, what is FINTRAC?
FINTRAC is a financial intelligence unit in Canada; the acronym stands for Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. Its mandate is to detect, prevent and deter money laundering and terrorist financing activities while ensuring the protection of personal information.
FINTRAC's headquarters are in Ottawa, Canada, while its analysis centre is in Toronto. It has other offices in Vancouver and Montreal. Despite being independent, FINTRAC reports directly to the Minister of Finance and adheres to the guidelines stipulated.
So, to have a clear understanding of the role of FINTRAC in Canada, this article will further discuss the following:
- The basics of FINTRAC
- How FINTRAC works
- The international role of FINTRAC
- The responsibilities of FINTRAC
- What are the objectives of FINTRAC?
Let's get started.
What is FINTRAC Canada: What You Need to Know
It is a financial intelligence unit that checks any crime associated with money laundering and financing of terror attacks. It plays a significant role in combating money laundering, terrorism financing, and any security threats to Canadians.
FINTRAC’s responsibility is to gather and investigate information that links to money laundering or terrorism financing and report it to Canada's law enforcement and national security agencies, as well as the police.
FINTRAC works with Canadian businesses and ensures they comply with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to fulfil its mandate.
When businesses comply with the Act, it helps deter criminals from laundering proceeds from crime or finance terror activities.
As well, FINTRAC makes sure the information collected is safeguarded for privacy purposes. However, the financial intelligence is shared with Canada's police, law enforcement, and national security agencies.
The information remains private and confidential and is only traceable by the relevant authorities. Keeping all the information confidential is critical to maintaining Canadians' confidence in FINTRAC and Canada's broader Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing operations. FINTRAC adheres to Canadian privacy law and guidelines.
The privacy law stipulates that the personal information received should be for financial crime detection. So, FINTRAC does not subject a person’s data to other unauthorized purposes. Also, the person can access their information and make any necessary changes.
How FINTRAC Works
FINTRAC is an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) institution in Canada, founded in 2000. The centre has to monitor financial transaction reports for any suspicious behaviour to protect the integrity and security of Canada's financial transactions.
FINTRAC collects personal information and ensures privacy and security. Thus, it complies with the regulations under Canadian privacy law. The centre was established under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act. Hence, its mandate is to conduct regular audits and reviews to ensure financial institutions comply with the PCMLTFA.
However, FINTRAC does not have the authority to collect evidence, investigate, accuse, arrest, seize, and create criminal lists. Instead, it is responsible for the examination and supervision of suspicious individuals or organizations. The centre reports the findings to the relevant authorities who have the power to arrest, detain and press charges.
The International Role of FINTRAC
FINTRAC acts as a clearinghouse for financial information and activities from suspicious individuals or organizations. So, if there is any suspicion of breaching the anti-money laundering or counter-terrorism financing laws and regulations, FINTRAC will look into the financial information.
FINTRAC joined Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in 2002. It is a global financial analysis network that works together to combat money laundering and terrorist financing at the international level. So, beyond the Canadian border, FINTRAC works alongside other FIUs and Egmont Group members to exchange critical information.
The Responsibilities of FINTRAC
The primary responsibilities of FINTRAC include:
- Collecting, analyzing, and disclosing information to assist efforts to deter and prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.
- Promoting public awareness of the matters related to money laundering and terrorism financing.
- Providing its findings to the public.
- Uncovering money laundering and other financial crimes activities.
- Receiving and analyzing any financial information obtained from individuals, organizations, or financial institutions.
- Making sure the financial information received is protected from unauthorized disclosure.
- Ensuring that businesses comply with the PCMLTFA guidelines and fulfill the reporting obligation.
- Complying with all relevant authorities and regulations like PCMLTFA and the privacy guidelines.
What are the Objectives of FINTRAC?
The primary goal of FINTRAC is to uncover any suspicious activities of money laundering or terrorism financing. To achieve this goal, FINTRAC has set several objectives to help actualize its operations. These objectives include:
Although FINTRAC is an independent body, it works alongside other bodies that see the success of its mandate. For instance, FINTRAC has to closely work with financial institutions to gather all the information needed before concluding any case.
Also, it should strengthen its relationship with policy-makers and make them understand its role and mandate.
FINTRAC is an entity whose responsibilities increase with time. Today, money laundering and terrorism financing are more rampant than a decade ago.
FINTRAC anticipates becoming an international leader combating financial crimes. FINTRAC will share information with other FIUs and enhance cooperation to achieve their mission by having a global role.
Like any other entity, FINTRAC faces various operational challenges. However, it is working towards better systems and processes to enhance its operations to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
FINTRAC is a centre for combating money laundering and terrorism financing activities in Canada. Its mandate is to safeguard your information and not disclose it to unauthorized parties.
Also, FINTRAC adheres to the Canadian Privacy law and should not disclose your personal information to unauthorized parties. So, it is a critical body that detects and prevents financial crimes in Canada.