The federal government has launched a public consultation on strengthening Canada’s anti-money laundering and terrorist financing (AML/ATF) regime, fulfilling a promise made in the 2023 budget.
Feedback received on the consultation paper, released by the Department of Finance on Tuesday, will be used to support a parliamentary review, to be launched this year, of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA), as required every five years under the Act.
“Canada faces continually evolving risks and threats from money laundering and terrorist financing as criminals adopt new strategies to exploit economic sectors and emerging financial technologies,” the government indicated in the paper.
The government added that the “Covid-19 pandemic changed the way people interact with the financial sector and accelerated the trend toward financial sector digitization, which can pose new money laundering and terrorist financing risks.”
Among the topics broached in the consultation paper, the government seeks comment on how different levels of government in Canada can collaborate more effectively on AML/ATF measures, including “advancing a pan-Canadian beneficial ownership registry, exploring risks in the legal profession, and depriving criminals of their property.”
The government is also asking for comments on expanding the scope of the PCMLTFA to cover new sectors such as luxury goods, white label automated teller machines, horse racing betting, title and mortgage insurers, real estate sales by owner or auction, crypto and digital assets technology, as well as financial crown corporations.
The government is also seeking input on the creation of a new Canada Financial Crimes Agency that could become the lead enforcement agency against financial crimes, and on the merits of expanding the mandate of the Financial Reports and Analysis Centre of Canada to include countering sanctions evasion and the financing of threats to national and economic security.
Sanctions imposed by Canada and other countries on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine “makes sanctions evasion an even more pressing and concerning economic threat,” the government indicated in the paper.
The deadline for submissions on AML/ATF is Aug. 1.
Also on Tuesday, Finance launched public consultations on other initiatives, including:
- reviewing the Royal Bank of Canada’s proposed acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada;
- consolidating Canada Mortgage Bonds into the regular Government of Canada borrowing program;
- reforming and modernizing Canada’s transfer pricing rules;
- the design of a number of new clean environment investment tax credits; and
- reviewing Canada’s reciprocal procurement procedures with other countries.