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.

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