FinTRAC not doing its part enough ? CREA

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Ephraim Vecina

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.

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