TIL about PCMLTFA

The Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario supports 30 percent of all trade by road between Canada and the United States.

Blockades closed the Ambassador Bridge for for about a week. The financial losses were estimated between 300 and CA$ 400 million each day.

To help put a stop to the funding of these blockades and other illegal activities, the Government of Canada declared a public order emergency.

If your truck is being used in these protests, your corporate accounts will be frozen. The insurance on your vehicle will be suspended. —The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Finance

The act invoked extends the scope of Canada's anti-money laundering (AML) and counter financing of terrorism (CFT) rules. It covers all forms of transactions, including digital assets such as cryptocurrencies.

Following my curiosity led me to wonder about the underlying regulatory framework.

It's called the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. Or PCMLTFA.

The Act has 5 regulations.

It comes down to:

  1. How to register a Money Services Business.
  2. How to report suspicious transactions.
  3. How to report of big cross-border transactions.
  4. Compliance requirements. Things like KYC, record keeping, and what kind of transactions to report.
  5. Penalties for not being compliant.

FINTRAC has a privacy policy. One of the annexes describes the provisions that the PCMLTFA contains to promote the privacy of Canadians.

  • Unauthorized disclosure is punishable by up to 5 years in jail, or a fine of up to $500,000 or both.
  • FINTRAC's Annual Report includes the management guidelines and policies for the protection of human rights and freedoms.
  • FINTRAC must report why it needs access to information.
  • Records are kept for 10 years.
  • Records that are no longer under suspicion can be destroyed.
  • There's a long audit trail.
  • The Office of the Auditor General audits FINTRAC's operations.

I don't know how I feel about the powers that can wield financial intelligence agencies.

But with a bit of research I notice that care went into making sure that the information collected is used responsibly.

The question remains: what is the impact of using this kind of control, in this kind of context?

I hope you found this valuable

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