Role of FINTRAC
The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) is the financial intelligence unit for Canada that was created in 2000. It is an independent federal government agency that reports to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Finance.
FINTRAC has four objectives:
- To collect, analyse, assess and disclose information to assist in the detection, prevention and deterrence of money laundering and terrorist financing.
- To ensure that personal information under its control is protected from unauthorized disclosure.
- To enhance public awareness and understanding of matters related to money laundering.
- To ensure compliance with the record keeping, verifying identity, reporting and registration requirements of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
FINTRAC’s head office is in Ottawa and its analysis centre is in Toronto.
FINTRAC must disclose information from the reports it receives if it has reasonable grounds to suspect the information would be relevant to investigating or prosecuting a money laundering or terrorist financing offence to the following:
- police forces.
- Canada Revenue Agency.
- Canada Border Services Agency.
Reports are also made to the Canada Border Services Agency in cases where the information may be relevant to determining if a foreign national is inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or relevant to investigating or prosecuting an offence of smuggling and to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service if FINTRAC has reasonable grounds to suspect that designated information would be relevant to threats to the security of Canada.
The Privacy Commissioner must review the operations and measures undertaken by FINTRAC every two years to ensure compliance with the Privacy Act.
FINTRAC is not an investigative body and it does not have powers to gather evidence, lay charges, seize and freeze assets or create watch lists of suspected money launderers or terrorist financiers. Likewise, it does not investigate or prosecute suspected offences. It does, however, conduct reviews and audits of reporting entities and may assess penalties for violations of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.