FinTRAC not doing its part enough – CREA

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Amid tighter federal legislation on large-sum transactions, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said that the government’s watchdog is not doing its part in ensuring that industry professionals get a better understanding of the rules.
CREA vice president of government and public relations Randall McCauley said that while there is indeed an immediate need for a better compliance rate, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC) should address policy questions as clearly as possible.
“Any rule, regulation or law is subject to interpretation. We're asking, ‘How would you interpret this regulation?’ ... and they won't give us a clear answer,” McCauley told The Canadian Press.
“If you were doing nothing and you do something then technically, I guess, yes that's an improvement,” McCauley said of the FinTRAC’s recent efforts to improve its realtors’ education program.
For instance, the latest rules hold that those who conduct two transactions within a few years would be more closely monitored under suspicion of high risk and illicit activity. McCauley countered that this is an extremely common practice, especially among growing families looking for more and more space.
“I think there's room for FinTRAC to work with us to understand the nature of the business,” McCauley said.
FinTRAC maintained that it has allotted “significant time and effort” in collaborating with the association. The agency said that it has assisted with the CREA’s drive to improve its anti-money laundering manual and online training.
“What we have found more generally in the real estate sector are issues with compliance regimes, policies and procedures, training, as well as record-keeping and reporting,” FinTRAC spokeswoman Renee Bercier wrote in an email.

  • Michael Hemmings on 2016-04-20 11:21:49 AM

    It's curious. In the financial services world we are stringently monitored for compliance at multiple levels, as we should be given both the potential for not just inadvertent but purposeful non compliant activities. How is it that the real estate world has escaped similar ongoing scrutiny? Could it possibly be that there is a significant self interest in the real estate industry that fuels a reluctance to engage watchdogs like fintrac?

  • Evan on 2016-04-20 11:41:20 AM

    Is it FINTRAC not doing their part, or is it the Realtor?

    If a buyer comes up and says I have 1 million cash to buy a house, is the Realtor actually doing the required reporting?

    I would bet that 99.9% of the time... they are not. Why? Too focused on the big commission cheque.

  • Oliver on 2016-04-20 10:48:46 PM

    FinTrac reporting is mandatory and we hard working realtors won't receive our commission cheque unless all paperwork has been submitted to the brokerage. You clearly don't know what your talking about and are quick to be ignorant.

  • G. Stuart on 2016-04-21 4:11:30 PM

    Read the most recent 41-page guideline to "suspicious activities" from FINTRAC. to see how suspicious every single reader here past the age of majority is in the eyes of our lords and masters on the Rideau.

    The Stasi had nothing on these guys 'n gals.

    Note how evading the "laws" of human rights dictatorships by "money laundering" is a crime in Canada. Wouldn't want to upset those paragons of virtue Xi Jinping or Robert Mugabe now would we? Prime Minister Selfie certainly wouldn't.

  • Mike on 2016-04-22 10:24:44 AM

    @Oliver You are wrong, not all realtors are doing the correct reporting to FINTRAC, that is exactly the issue at hand.

    If it was being done, none of the media would be happening around all the money flowing into Canada on real estate transactions that is NOT being reported.

    If Evan didn't know what he was talking about... why is it a fact that in Vancouver most realtors are NOT reporting to FINTRAC?

    It would seem to me that you are the one who is ignorant.

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