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The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (“FINTRAC”) is Canada’s financial intelligence unit whose mandate is to prevent and deter money laundering and terrorist financing. In order to meet this objective, FINTRAC requires all real estate agents to:
- Verify the identity of all their clients and unrepresented parties to a real estate transaction;
- Report certain transactions to FINTRAC for further scrutiny.
This includes transactions that are:
- Suspicious transactions where reasonable grounds exist that they are related to money laundering or terrorist financing exist;
- Transactions where it is known that the property is controlled or owned by terrorists or a terrorist group;
- Transactions where cash over $10,000 is received by the agent through a single transaction or multiple smaller transactions (such as to pay the deposit on the property)
When requested, your agent must also submit all transactions requested by FINTRAC within 30 days.
To meet FINTRAC’s obligations, your real estate licensee will need to verify your identity, and confirm the existence of any entity (such as a corporation) you may be representing.
- Your agent will ask you to provide a piece of government issued photo identification which includes your name, your photo, and a document number. They will record this information on a form which will be kept confidential in their brokerage file should FINTRAC request it;
- Your agent may also verify your identity through a credit file check from a Canadian credit bureau and match your name, birth date, and address you provided to that document;
- If you are representing a corporation, your agent will search for verifying information such as a certificate of incorporation and will record the corporation’s name, address and names of the directors.
Depending on your circumstances, there may be additional information required by your agent before they can assist you in the purchase or sale of real estate.
Like all aspects of your real estate transactions, your agent’s obligations to you are governed by the Real Estate Services Act and its Rules. Within those Rules is the duty to always maintain the confidentiality of information respecting a client. This means, that other than when required by law, your agent will keep all personal information about you confidential in perpetuity.
If you have any concerns, we invite you to contact one of our Professional Standards Advisors for further information.