FinTRAC beefs up efforts on realtors’ education

by Ephraim Vecina15 Apr 2016
A series of documents uncovered by The Canadian Press revealed that the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FinTRAC) has taken steps to beef up its efforts on the education of real estate agents to improve industry compliance.
Acquired through an access-to-information request, the documents outlined FinTRAC’s webinar and work book, both of which are now on offer for realtors. The educational packages—which also included a presentation in front of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) last summer—are mainly focused on the industry’s responsibility to observe and report suspicious deals.
As reported by The Province, the closer scrutiny encouraged by FinTRAC is in line with its mission to address money laundering in Canadian real estate. In an email, the agency said that it’s looking at the quantity and quality of resources available to realtors.
“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 the email.
“The level of compliance knowledge and resources varies across the sector and is often a function of an entity’s size, capacity and access to resources,” Bercier said.
Industry professionals acknowledged the need for a better compliance rate, while emphasizing that greater harmony should exist between the rules and how the real estate sector goes about its business.
“I think there’s room for FINTRAC to work with us to understand the nature of the business,” CREA vice president of government and public relations Randall McCauley said, adding that the CREA is currently hard at work in ensuring that all of its members are in synch with existing federal regulations.


  • by Thomas M. 4/15/2016 9:49:10 AM

    I went through a FINTRAC audit last summer. It ruined a few weeks of my summer. This agency doesn't know what it is doing when it comes to our industry. They dragged us around for a month, made us fearful for no reason at all, and actually, at one point stated that our forms as supplied by CREA were insufficient and non compliant. When I challenged this guy to the senior team and to CREA, he backed down. Bully tactics. And what is this useless 4 page identification document? Most paragraphs are not applicable in 99% of deals. Should be a simplified process...unless you suspect there is a reason to have more detail. I am pretty sure this is just a big make work project for the government. Im all for stopping terrorism and money laundering, but I should not have to become a police investigator to do my job. We do our best to stay compliant and train our staff, but this organization is severely flawed.

  • by 4/15/2016 11:51:04 AM

    Well said 100% agree! layering of the political agenda is chronic, more people trying to control the industry then actually working in it, some real change needed.

  • by Bill Johnston 4/15/2016 3:09:50 PM

    I entered the real estate brokerage business so I could be a tax collector (HST) and spy (FINTRAC) for the federal government. Didn't you? :) Downloading money laundering and terrorist detection obligations onto thousands of brokerages, financial institutions, jewelers, and others is among the stupidest things the Harper government did. I am all for nabbing terrorists and money launderers, but the job should be assigned to professionals (e.g. RCMP, CSIS, etc.), not amateurs.

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