Guideline 2: Suspicious Transactions

December 2010

This replaces the previous version of Guideline 2: Suspicious Transactions issued in December 2008. The changes made are indicated by a side bar to the right of the modified text in the PDF version.

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. Who Must Report Suspicious Transactions?
  3. What are Suspicious Transactions?
  4. How to Make a Suspicious Transaction Report
  5. Additional Information Related to Reporting FINTRAC
  6. Identifying Suspicious Transactions
  7. Examples of Common Indicators
  8. Examples of Industry-Specific Indicators
  9. Comments?
  10. How to Contact FINTRAC

Guideline 2: Suspicious Transactions (PDF version, 138 kb)

1. General

The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (the Act) requires reporting of suspicious transactions by the individuals and entities described in section 2 of this guideline. If you are one of these, this guideline can help you meet your obligation to report suspicious transactions to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).

A suspicious transaction is one for which there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the transaction is related to a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence. A suspicious transaction can include one that was attempted. Throughout this guideline, any mention of a “transaction” includes one that is either completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2.

This guideline contains indicators of suspicious transactions (see sections 6 to 8) that might be useful in helping you assess whether a transaction is suspicious and should be reported. It is not intended as a substitute for your own assessment, based on your knowledge and experience as well as the specific circumstances of the financial transaction.

This guideline uses plain language to explain common reporting situations under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act as well as the related Regulations. It is provided as general information only. It is not legal advice and is not intended to replace the Act and Regulations. For more information about money laundering, terrorist activity financing or other requirements under the Act and Regulations, see the guidelines in this series:

If you need more help after you read this or other guidelines, call FINTRAC's national toll-free enquiries line at 1-866-346-8722.

Throughout this guideline, several references are provided to additional information that may be available on external Web sites. FINTRAC is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of the information contained on those external Web sites. The links provided are based on information available at the time of publishing of this guideline.

Throughout this guideline, any references to dollar amounts (such as $10,000) refer to the amount in Canadian dollars or its equivalent in foreign currency. Furthermore, all references to cash mean money in circulation in any country (bank notes or coins). In this context, cash does not include cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments.

2. Who Must Report Suspicious Transactions?

If you are one of the following individuals or entities (called reporting entities), or you are an employee of such individual or entity, you must report suspicious transactions to FINTRAC.

2.1 Financial entities

Financial entities are banks (those listed in Schedule I or II of the Bank Act) or authorized foreign banks with respect to their operations in Canada, credit unions, caisses populaires, financial services cooperatives, credit union centrals (when they offer financial services to anyone other than a member entity of the credit union central), trust companies, loan companies and agents of the Crown that accept deposit liabilities.

If you are a financial entity and you have foreign subsidiaries or foreign branches, the suspicious transaction reporting requirement does not apply to their operations outside Canada.

2.2 Life insurance companies, brokers and agents

A life insurance company means one regulated by provincial legislation, or a life company or foreign life company under the Insurance Companies Act. A life insurance broker or agent means an individual or entity registered or licensed provincially to carry on the business of arranging contracts of life insurance.

If you are a life insurance company and you have foreign subsidiaries or foreign branches, the suspicious transaction reporting requirement does not apply to their operations outside Canada.

2.3 Securities dealers

A securities dealer is an individual or entity authorized under provincial legislation to engage in the business of dealing in securities or any other financial instruments or to provide portfolio management or investment advising services.

If you are a securities dealer and you have foreign subsidiaries or foreign branches, the suspicious transaction reporting requirement does not apply to their operations outside Canada.

2.4 Money services businesses

A money services business means an individual or entity engaged in the business of any of the following activities:

Money services businesses include alternative money remittance systems, such as Hawala, Hundi, Chitti, etc.

For more information about who is engaged in the money services business, see the FINTRAC Interpretation Notice No. 1.

2.5 Agents of the Crown

Agents of the Crown are government departments or agents of her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province. If you are an agent of the Crown that sells or redeems money orders, you are subject to the reporting requirement explained in this guideline.

If you are an agent of the Crown that accepts deposit liabilities in the course of providing financial services to the public, such as a provincial savings office, you are considered a financial entity (see subsection 2.1).

If you are an agent of the Crown that sells precious metals to the public, you are considered a dealer in precious metals and stones (see subsection 2.9).

2.6 Accountants and accounting firms

An accountant means a chartered accountant, a certified general accountant or a certified management accountant. An accounting firm means an entity that is in the business of providing accounting services to the public that has at least one accountant who is a partner, an employee or an administrator.

If you are an accountant or an accounting firm, you are subject to the reporting requirement explained in this guideline when conducting any of the following activities on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer) or giving instructions in respect of those activities on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer):

You are not subject to these obligations for the receipt of professional fees. This means that the receipt of professional fees does not trigger your obligations. However, you are subject to the reporting requirements when you engage in any of the activities mentioned above, regardless of whether or not you received any fees or have a formal letter of engagement to do so. In other words, you are subject to the obligations even if you were doing the activities on a volunteer basis.

Activities of accountants or accounting firms other than those listed above, such as audit, review or compilation engagements carried out according to the recommendations in the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) Handbook, do not trigger record keeping or client identification obligations.

Giving advice to a client, in the context of your accountant-client relationship, is not considered providing instructions. If you need further clarification about this, refer to FINTRAC Interpretation Notice No. 2.

2.7 Real estate

Real estate brokers or sales representatives

Real estate brokers or sales representatives are individuals or entities that are registered or licensed in a province to sell or purchase real estate. They are subject to suspicious transaction reporting requirements when they act as an agent regarding the purchase or sale of real estate. This includes the buying or selling of land, buildings, houses, etc. Such activities trigger these obligations whether or not the real estate broker or sales representative gets a commission for the real estate transaction and whether or not they have fiduciary duties regarding it.

If you are a real estate broker or sales representative, these obligations do not apply to you for activities related to property management. This means that if you only deal in property management transactions, such as leases or rental management, not purchases or sales, the obligations explained in this guideline do not apply to you.

Real estate developers

A real estate developer means an individual or an entity other than a real estate broker or sales representative, who in any calendar year after 2007 has sold the following to the public:

If you are a real estate developer, you are subject to the reporting requirement explained in this guideline when you sell any of the following to the public:

If you are an entity that is a corporation, you are subject to this whether you sell those buildings on your own behalf or on behalf of a subsidiary or affiliate. In this context, an entity is affiliated with another entity if one of them is wholly-owned by the other or both are wholly-owned by the same entity.

2.8 Casinos

Casinos are those authorized by a Canadian provincial, territorial or federal government to do business and that conduct their business in a permanent establishment. It only includes those where roulette or card games are played in the establishment, or where there is a slot machine. For these purposes, a slot machine does not include a video lottery terminal.

Registered charities may be authorized to carry on business temporarily as a casino for charitable purposes. If this type of business is carried out in the establishment of a casino for no more than two consecutive days at a time under the supervision of the casino, the activities are considered to be the supervising casino's. In this case, the supervising casino is responsible for the reporting requirements and other obligations related to the charity casino.

2.9 Dealers in precious metals and stones

A dealer in precious metals and stones (DPMS) means an individual or an entity that buys or sells precious metals, precious stones or jewellery, in the course of its business activities. Precious metals include gold, silver, palladium or platinum whether in coins, bars, ingots, granules or in any other similar form. Precious stones include diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, tanzanite, rubies or alexandrite. Jewellery means objects made of precious metals, precious stones or pearls intended for personal adornment.

If you are a DPMS, you are subject to the reporting requirement explained in this guideline if you engage in the purchase or sale of precious metals, precious stones or jewellery in an amount of $10,000 or more in a single transaction. However, you are not subject to this if you engage only in purchases or sales carried out for, in connection with, or for the purpose of manufacturing jewellery, extracting precious metals or precious stones from a mine or cutting or polishing precious stones.

An agent of the Crown (that is, a government department or an agent of her Majesty in right of Canada or of a province) is considered to be a DPMS when it sells precious metals to the public in an amount of $10,000 or more in a single transaction.

2.10 British Columbia notaries

A British Columbia notary means a British Columbia notary public or a British Columbia notary corporation. In this context, a notary public means an individual who is a member of the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia. Also in this context, a notary corporation means an entity that provides notary services to the public in British Columbia under the Notaries Act of that province.

If you are a British Columbia notary, you are subject to the reporting requirement explained in this guideline when you engage in any of the following activities on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer), or give instructions on behalf of any individual or entity (other than your employer):

3. What are Suspicious Transactions?

3.1 Reasonable grounds to suspect

Suspicious transactions are financial transactions that you have reasonable grounds to suspect are related to the commission of a money laundering offence. This includes transactions that you have reasonable grounds to suspect are related to the attempted commission of a money laundering offence.

Suspicious transactions also include financial transactions that you have reasonable grounds to suspect are related to the commission of a terrorist activity financing offence. This includes transactions that you have reasonable grounds to suspect are related to the attempted commission of a terrorist activity financing offence.

“Reasonable grounds to suspect” is determined by what is reasonable in your circumstances, including normal business practices and systems within your industry. While the Act and Regulations do not specifically require you to implement or use an automated system for detecting suspicious transactions, you may decide that such a system would be beneficial to your business.

In this context, transactions include those that are completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2.

Your compliance regime has to include an assessment, in the course of your activities, of the risk of money laundering or terrorist financing. According to this assessment, in higher risk situations, you have to take reasonable measures to conduct ongoing monitoring for the purpose of detecting suspicious transactions. For more information about risk assessment requirements, see Guideline 4: Implementation of a Compliance Regime.

More information about a money laundering offence and a terrorist activity financing offence is provided below. Sections 6, 7 and 8 have more information about how to identify a suspicious transaction.

Money laundering offence

Under Canadian law, a money laundering offence involves various acts committed with the intention to conceal or convert property or the proceeds of property (such as money) knowing or believing that these were derived from the commission of a designated offence. In this context, a designated offence means most serious offences under the Criminal Code or any other federal Act. It includes, but is not limited to those relating to illegal drug trafficking, bribery, fraud, forgery, murder, robbery, counterfeit money, stock manipulation, tax evasion and copyright infringement.

A money laundering offence may also extend to property or proceeds derived from illegal activities that took place outside Canada.

For information about money laundering methods, see Guideline 1: Backgrounder. You can access federal acts, including the Criminal Code, at the Justice Laws Web Site (http://www.laws.justice.gc.ca).

Terrorist activity financing offence

Under Canadian law, terrorist activity financing offences make it a crime to knowingly collect or provide property, such as funds, either directly or indirectly, to carry out terrorist crimes. This includes inviting someone else to provide property for this purpose. It also includes the use or possession of property to facilitate or carry out terrorist activities.

There are other offences associated with terrorist activities that are not specifically related to financing, such as participating in or facilitating terrorist activities, or instructing and harbouring terrorists. Only suspicion that a transaction is related to a terrorist activity financing offence triggers a requirement to report the suspicious transaction to FINTRAC as related to terrorist activity financing.

For more information about terrorist financing and other anti-terrorism measures, including other reporting requirements related to terrorist property, see Guideline 1: Backgrounder.

3.2 Completed or attempted transactions

The requirement for you to report a suspicious transaction applies if you have reasonable grounds to suspect, as explained in subsection 3.1. This applies not only when the financial transaction has been completed, but also when it has been attempted.

Completed transactions

A completed transaction is one that has occurred. For example, if you process a deposit from a client towards the purchase of an asset such as a life insurance policy or a house, a financial transaction has occurred. This is true even if the final sale associated to the deposit does not go through. In this example, the refund of the deposit would also be a financial transaction.

Attempted transactions

An attempted transaction is one that a client intended to conduct and took some form of action to do so. An attempted transaction is different from a simple request for information, such as an enquiry as to the fee applicable to a certain transaction. An attempted transaction includes entering into negotiations or discussions to conduct the transaction and involves concrete measures to be taken by either you or the client.

The following are examples of attempted transactions:

For you to have to report an attempted transaction it must be one that you have reasonable grounds to suspect was related to money laundering or terrorist financing (as explained in subsection 3.1). An attempt to conduct a transaction does not necessarily mean the transaction is suspicious. However, the circumstances surrounding it might contribute to your having reasonable grounds for suspicion.

3.3 Transactions related to terrorist property

If you suspect that a transaction, whether completed or attempted, is related to terrorist financing, you have to make a suspicious transaction report to FINTRAC.

If you know, rather than suspect, that a transaction is related to property owned or controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist or a terrorist group, you should not complete the transaction. This is because terrorist property must be frozen under Canadian legislation, such as the Regulations Implementing the United Nations Resolutions on the Suppression of Terrorism and the Criminal Code. You can access these at the Justice Laws Web Site (http://www.laws.justice.gc.ca).

For more information about terrorists, terrorist groups, freezing of property, and the associated reporting requirement to FINTRAC, read Guideline 5: Submitting Terrorist Property Reports to FINTRAC.

4. How to Make a Suspicious Transaction Report

Once you have detected a fact that amounts to reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence, a suspicious transaction report must be sent to FINTRAC within 30 days. This applies to attempted or completed transactions, as explained in subsection 3.2.

Please refer to Guideline 3: Submitting Suspicious Transaction Reports to FINTRAC for more information about reporting timelines and for information on how to make a report. When you have to report a suspicious transaction to FINTRAC, you have to keep a copy of the report.

Making a suspicious transaction report to FINTRAC does not prevent you from reporting suspicions of money laundering or terrorist financing directly to law enforcement. FINTRAC encourages you to maintain established relationships with law enforcement.

When you have to send a suspicious transaction report to FINTRAC, you have to take reasonable measures, before the transaction is reported, to identify the individual who conducted it. This does not apply in the following circumstances:

For more information about this and other client identification requirements, see Guideline 6: Record Keeping and Client Identification as applicable to your sector.

5. Additional Information Related to Reporting to FINTRAC

5.1 Confidentiality

You are not allowed to inform anyone, including the client, about the contents of a suspicious transaction report or even that you have made such a report, if your intent is to harm or impair a criminal investigation. This applies whether or not such an investigation has begun.

Because it is important not to tip your client off that you are making a suspicious transaction report, you should not be requesting information from the individual conducting or attempting the transaction that you would not normally request during a transaction. See section 4 for additional information about identifying an individual conducting a suspicious transaction.

Mandatory fields in the suspicious transaction report

Many of the fields that are mandatory in the suspicious transaction report apply only for transactions that have occurred. These are for information that you would need to be able to complete a transaction. The rest of the fields are reasonable efforts, for you to provide information if it is available in your records or as a result of the transaction.

If the suspicious transaction was attempted, you may not have as much information as you would have if it had been completed. In this case, if the information for any field in the report is not available because it was an attempted transaction, you can leave the field blank.

5.2 Immunity

No criminal or civil proceedings may be brought against you for making a report in good faith concerning a suspicious transaction. This also applies if you are not required to submit a report to FINTRAC, but decide to provide information voluntarily to FINTRAC because of your suspicions of money laundering or financing of terrorist activity.

5.3 Penalties for non-compliance

There are penalties if you fail to meet the suspicious transaction reporting obligations. Failure to report a suspicious transaction could lead to up to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $2,000,000, or both. Alternatively, failure to meet the suspicious transaction reporting obligations can lead to an administrative monetary penalty.

Penalties for failure to report do not apply to employees who report suspicious transactions to their superior.

There are also penalties if you tip anyone off about a suspicious transaction report, if your intent is to harm or impair a criminal investigation. For more information on penalties, you can also consult the Penalties for non-compliance section of FINTRAC's Web site (http:www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca).

5.4 Dealing with clients

There is no requirement under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to close a client's account or stop dealing with the client when you have reported or are preparing to report a suspicious transaction. This is entirely up to you and your business practices.

If you do decide to close an account or to stop dealing with an account, and this decision is made before you submit the suspicious transaction report to FINTRAC, include information about this as action taken in Part H of the report.

6. Identifying Suspicious Transactions

6.1 How to identify a suspicious transaction

Transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, may give rise to reasonable grounds to suspect that they are related to money laundering or terrorist activity financing regardless of the sum of money involved. There is no monetary threshold for making a report on a suspicious transaction. A suspicious transaction may involve several factors that may on their own seem insignificant, but together may raise suspicion that the transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering offence, a terrorist activity financing offence, or both.

As a general guide, a transaction may be connected to money laundering or terrorist activity financing when you think that it (or a group of transactions) raises questions or gives rise to discomfort, apprehension or mistrust.

The context in which the transaction occurs or is attempted is a significant factor in assessing suspicion. This will vary from business to business, and from one client to another. You should evaluate transactions in terms of what seems appropriate and is within normal practices in your particular line of business, and based on your knowledge of your client. The fact that transactions do not appear to be in keeping with normal industry practices may be a relevant factor for determining whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the transactions are related to money laundering or terrorist activity financing.

An assessment of suspicion should be based on a reasonable evaluation of relevant factors, including the knowledge of the customer's business, financial history, background and behaviour. Remember that behaviour is suspicious, not people. Also, it could be the consideration of many factors–not just one factor–that will lead you to a conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering offence, a terrorist activity financing offence, or both. All circumstances surrounding a transaction should be reviewed.

You have to assess whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction, whether completed or attempted, is related to a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence. The following information concerning indicators is provided to help you with this.

6.2 Indicators relating to terrorist activity financing

Indicators to help establish suspicion that a transaction, whether completed or attempted, may be related to the commission or attempted commission of a terrorist activity financing offence mostly resemble those relating to money laundering. In fact, the indicators in this guideline are combined for both money laundering and terrorist financing. These are all intended to complement each other and reinforce already existing vigilance practices in dealing with financial transactions.

There are some small differences between money laundering and terrorist financing indicators. For example, amounts relating to terrorist financing generally may be smaller. However, there is no distinction made in the indicators included in sections 7 and 8.

Lists of individuals and entities believed to be associated with terrorists

As part of international efforts to combat terrorism, the Government of Canada has published lists to prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist activities. Property of those whose names are published on any of these anti-terrorism lists is to be frozen. This means that transactions related to that property are prohibited.

A consolidated list for use by anyone in Canada and by Canadians outside Canada is published and maintained by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). You can find this list on OSFI's Web site: http://www.osfi-bsif.gc.ca/Eng/fi-if/amlc-clrpc/atf-fat/Pages/default.aspx.   

If you determine that you are in control or possession of property that is owned by or on behalf of anyone on this list, you must report its existence, as well as any transactions or proposed transactions related to the property, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. Please refer to Guideline 1: Backgrounder for more information about this.

Others outside Canada, such as the United States, the United Nations Security Council, among others, have also published lists. Some or all of the names on these foreign lists may also be added on the Canadian lists, if Canada has reasonable grounds to believe they are associated to terrorist activity.

If you suspect, rather than know, that a transaction, whether completed or attempted, is related to terrorist financing, you have to make a suspicious transaction report to FINTRAC.

Distinguishing between money laundering and terrorist activity financing suspicion

It may be difficult for you to distinguish between suspicion of money laundering and suspicion of terrorist activity financing. In fact, it is possible that a transaction, whether completed or attempted, could be related to both. For example, funds to be used for terrorist activity could be proceeds of criminal activity as well as from legitimate sources.

It is the information about the transaction and about what led to your suspicion, including why any attempted transaction was not completed, that is important in a suspicious transaction report. Provide as many details as possible in your report about what led to your suspicion, including anything that made you suspect that it might be related to terrorist financing, money laundering, or both. If you cannot make the distinction based on the information available, remember that it is the information about your suspicion that is important, not the distinction between money laundering and terrorist activity offences.

6.3 Indicators of suspicious transactions

The indicators that follow are provided to help assess whether or not transactions might give rise to reasonable grounds for suspicion. They are examples of common and industry-specific indicators that may be helpful when evaluating transactions, whether completed or attempted. They include indicators based on certain characteristics that have been linked to money laundering or terrorist activities in the past.

These indicators were compiled in consultation with reporting entities, law enforcement agencies and international financial intelligence organizations. They are not intended to cover every possible situation and are not to be viewed in isolation. A single indicator is not necessarily indicative of reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering or terrorist financing activity. However, if a number of indicators are present during a transaction or a series of transactions, then you might want to take a closer look at other factors prior to making the determination as to whether the transaction must be reported.

The indicators have to be assessed in the context in which the transaction occurs or is attempted. Each indicator may contribute to a conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering offence or a terrorist activity financing offence. However, it may also offer no indication of this in light of factors such as the client's occupation, business, financial history and past investment pattern. Taken together, the presence of one or more indicators as well as your knowledge of your client's business or financial affairs may help you identify suspicious transactions.

Some of the indicators provided could result in the transaction being aborted if the client requests a service that is prohibited by your business or by your anti-terrorism measures. Your policies, standards and procedures may already reflect these as inappropriate or questionable. As explained earlier, when a suspicious transaction is not completed, you have to report the attempted transaction to FINTRAC.

In the case of a transaction aborted because you believe the property is owned or controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist or a terrorist group, you must make a terrorist property report as explained in subsection 3.3. If you also have reasonable grounds to suspect that the transaction is related to an attempted commission of a terrorist activity financing or money laundering offence, you would also be required to make a suspicious transaction report about the attempted transaction, as explained in subsection 3.2.

Becoming aware of certain indicators could trigger reasonable grounds to suspect that one or more transactions from the past (that had not previously seemed suspicious) were related to money laundering or terrorist financing. For example, this could happen if it were reported in the media or some other reliable source that one of your clients is suspected of being involved in illegal activity. If this amounts to suspicion regarding a previous transaction with this client, you would have to report it to FINTRAC within 30 days of detecting this new fact.

7. Examples of Common Indicators

The following are examples of common indicators that may point to a suspicious transaction, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2. Please read section 6 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions and how to use these indicators.

7.1 General

7.2 Knowledge of reporting or record keeping requirements

7.3 Identity documents

7.4 Cash transactions

7.5 Economic purpose

7.6 Transactions involving accounts

7.7 Transactions involving areas outside Canada

7.8 Transactions related to offshore business activity

Any individual or entity that conducts transactions internationally should consider the following indicators.

8. Examples of Industry-Specific Indicators

8.1 Industry-specific indicators

In addition to the general indicators outlined above, the following industry-specific indicators may point to a suspicious transaction, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2. Remember that behaviour is suspicious, not people. Also, it is the consideration of many factors–not any one factor–that will lead to a conclusion that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering or terrorist activity financing offence. All circumstances surrounding a transaction should be reviewed, within the context of your knowledge of your client.

Taken together, the general and industry-specific indicators that apply to your business may help you identify suspicious transactions. Depending on the services you provide, you may need information about indicators in more than one of the following sections. For example, if you are a financial advisor, you might sell both life insurance products and securities products. In this case, you should consider the indicators in subsection 8.5 (Life Insurance Companies, Brokers and Agents), as well as under subsection 8.6 (Securities Dealers).

8.2 Financial entities

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators.

The following indicators are for your consideration if you are an institution that opens accounts and holds deposits on behalf of individuals or entities. This includes banks, credit unions, caisses populaires, trust companies and loan companies and agents of the Crown that accept deposit liabilities.

Personal transactions

Corporate and business transactions

Some businesses may be susceptible to the mixing of illicit funds with legitimate income. This is a very common method of money laundering. These businesses include those that conduct a significant part of their business in cash, such as restaurants, bars, parking lots, convenience stores and vending machine companies. On opening accounts with the various businesses in your area, you would likely be aware of those that are mainly cash based. Unusual or unexplained increases in cash deposits made by those entities may be indicative of suspicious activity.

Transactions for non-profit organizations (including registered charities)

8.3 Businesses who send or receive electronic funds transfers, or remit or transmit funds

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are involved in the business of electronic funds transfers or the remittance or transmission of funds, consider the following indicators.

8.4 Businesses who provide loans

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are involved in the business of providing loans (including mortgages) or extending credit to individuals or corporations, consider the following indicators.

8.5 Life insurance companies, brokers and agents

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you provide life insurance or annuities as your main occupation or as one of the many services that you offer, consider the following indicators. For insurance companies that provide loans, read subsection 8.4 also.

8.6 Securities dealers

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are involved in the business of dealing in securities, segregated fund products or any other financial instruments, including portfolio managers and investment counsellors, consider the following indicators.

8.7 Money services businesses

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are involved in the money services business, including foreign exchange dealers, money remitters, issuers of traveller's cheques and agents of the Crown that sell or redeem money orders, consider the following indicators. If you remit or transmit funds, read subsection 8.3 also.

8.8 Accountants and accounting firms

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are an accountant, consider the following indicators when you are carrying out certain activities on behalf of your client, as explained in subsection 2.6.

More information on which countries these characteristics may apply to can be found on the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's Web site (http://www.oecd.org), by navigating by topic to locate “Tax” under the area heading “Finance”.

8.9 Real estate

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are in the real estate industry, consider the following indicators when you act as an agent in the purchase or sale of real estate, as explained in subsection 2.7. If you are a real estate developer, consider the following indicators when you sell a new house, a new condominium unit, a new commercial or industrial building or a new multi-unit residential building to the public, as explained in subsection 2.7.

The following indicators apply to real estate brokers and sales representatives.

8.10 Casinos

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are engaged in the casino business, consider the following indicators.

More information on which countries these characteristics may apply to can be found on the Financial Action Task Force's Web site (http://www.fatf-gafi.org). It contains information about non-cooperative countries and territories in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (see “High-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions” section).

8.11 Dealers in precious metals and stones

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. Consider the following indicators if you purchase or sell precious metals, precious stones or jewellery or if you are an agent of the Crown that sells precious metals to the public.

General

Wholesalers and suppliers

The Financial Action Task Force's Web site (http://www.fatf-gafi.org) has information about non-cooperative countries and territories in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing (see “High-risk and non-cooperative jurisdictions” section).

8.12 British Columbia notaries

Please read sections 6 and 7 and subsection 8.1 for general information about identifying suspicious transactions, whether completed or attempted as explained in subsection 3.2, and how to use these indicators. If you are a British Columbia notary or a British Columbia notary corporation, consider the following indicators when you are carrying out certain activities on behalf of your client, as explained in subsection 2.10.

9. Comments?

These guidelines will be reviewed on a periodic basis. If you have any comments or suggestions to help improve them, please send your comments to the mailing address provided below, or by email to guidelines-lignesdirectrices@fintrac-canafe.gc.ca.

10. How to Contact FINTRAC

For further information on FINTRAC and its activities, reporting or other obligations, please go to FINTRAC's Web site (http://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca) or contact FINTRAC:

Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
234 Laurier Avenue West, 24th floor
Ottawa, ON  K1P 1H7
Canada

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