In a survey of over 80 real estate firms, the FINTRAC uncovered multiple instances of failure in identifying clients of high-end properties, keeping proper records, and assessing transaction risks. 55 cases showed that Vancouver realtors’ practices are “significantly” below federal standards.
The agency warned that this situation might further aggravate the city’s already inflamed real estate costs.
“[Vancouver housing] is at risk for being used for money laundering,” FINTRAC spokesperson Darren Gibb told CBC News
The statement has triggered a word war with the Canadian Real Estate Association. CREA vice president of government and public relations Randall McCauley admitted that while there’s still room for improvement in the association’s training of realtors, FINTRAC real estate rules change at a rate difficult to keep up with.
Gibb responded to the CREA’s stance by saying that it’s up to the realtors to become intimately familiar with anti-money-laundering legislation, which has been in effect since 2001.
“The real estate sector needs to understand that that we all have a shared responsibility. They simply need to follow the law, which FINTRAC will enable, but we'll also ensure that they do,” Gibb stated.
An assessment of Vancouver’s housing market by the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) revealed that dozens of real estate companies in the city do not comply with regulations.