Record keeping requirements for departments and agents of the Crown

June 2017 

Record keeping requirements for departments and agents of the Crown that sell or redeem money orders

June 2017

This guidance on record keeping is applicable to departments and agents of the Crown that are subject to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and its associated Regulations.

This guidance will only describe your record keeping requirements if you are a department or agent of the Crown that sells or redeems money orders or other similar negotiable instruments in the course of providing financial services to the public.

If you are a department or an agent of the Crown that accepts deposit liabilities, your requirements can be found on the financial entities sector page.

If you are a department or agent of the Crown that sells precious metals in the amount of $10,000 or more in a single transaction, your requirements can be found on the dealers in precious metals and stones sector page.

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements you must keep records in a manner in which they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days upon request. These records may also be requested through a judicial order by law enforcement to support an investigation of money laundering or terrorist activity financing. A record (or a copy) may be kept in a machine-readable or electronic form, so long as a paper copy can easily be produced.

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after the end of their employment with you. The same is true for individuals in a contractual relationship with you, after the end of that contractual relationship. This means that you have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by any employee or contractor before the end of that individual's employment or contract with you.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than your requirements under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator for your sector may require you to keep records in addition to those described in this guidance. If this is the case, you must still meet the requirements described in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

Please note that as a department or agent of the Crown that sells or redeems money orders, you have record keeping requirements in addition to those included in this guidance. These additional requirements are detailed in the following Know your client guidance documents:

As a department or agent of the Crown that sells or redeems money orders, you must keep the following records:

  1. Suspicious transaction report records
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Client information records
  4. Records of transactions of $3,000 or more
    1. If you receive $3,000 or more for the issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments from a person or entity
    2. If you cash a money order of $3,000 or more
  5. Reasonable measures records

**Note: Exceptions to your record keeping requirements are listed in the last section of this guidance.

**Note: When recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client, you must be as descriptive as possible in order to be able to determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, in the case of a person who is a manager, the occupation recorded should reflect the area of management, such as “hotel reservations manager” or “retail clothing store manager.” The same is true when recording the nature of the principal business of an entity. For example, in the case of an entity in the field of sales, the nature of the principal business should specify the type of sales, such as “pharmaceutical sales” or “retail sales”.

1. Suspicious transaction report records

If you submit a suspicious transaction report (STR) to FINTRAC, you have to keep a copy of it. This includes STRs for completed and attempted transactions.

Retention: You must keep an STR for at least five years from the date the report was submitted.

2. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a record of every large cash transaction. A large cash transaction occurs when you receive $10,000 or more in cash from a client in a single transaction. A large cash transaction also occurs when there are multiple cash transactions of less than $10,000 each that total $10,000 or more within a 24-hour period, when you know they are conducted by, or on behalf of, the same individual or entity.

When a client conducts a large cash transaction, your record must indicate the receipt of an amount of $10,000 or more in cash, along with the following:

  • the name, date of birth and address of the individual from whom you received the cash, and the nature of their principal business or occupation;
  • the amount and currency of the cash received;
  • the date of the transaction;
  • the purpose and details of the transaction, including:
    • the type of transaction (for example, the cash was used to purchase a money order, etc.); and
    • whether any other individuals or entities were involved in the transaction;
  • how the cash was received (for example, in person, by mail, by armoured car, or any other way); and
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account;
    • the full name of the account holder; and
    • the currency in which the transactions are conducted in the account.

Retention: You must keep large cash transaction records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

3. Client information records

You must create a client information record for an ongoing business relationship with a client.

If the client is an individual, you must record their name, date of birth and address, as well as the nature of their principal business or occupation. If the client is an entity, you must record its name and address, as well as the nature of its principal business.

If the client is a corporation, you also need to keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction. This could be a certificate of incumbency, the articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

If there are changes to the articles or bylaws that relate to the power to bind the corporation to the transaction and these changes were in effect at the time, then the board resolution stating the change would be included in this type of record.

Retention: You must keep client information records for five years from the day the last business transaction was conducted.

4. Records of transactions of $3,000 or more

a. If you receive $3,000 or more for the issuance of money orders or other similar negotiable instruments, you must record:

  • the date it was received;
  • the amount received and whether the amount was received in cash, cheques, traveller’s cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments; and
  • the name, address and date of birth of the individual who gave you the amount.

b. If you cash a money order of $3,000 or more you must record:

  • the name, address and date of birth of the individual cashing the money order;
  • the name of the issuer of the money order.

Retention: You must keep a record of transactions of $3,000 or more for at least five years from the date the record was created.

5. Reasonable measures records

The term “reasonable measures” refers to activities you are expected to undertake in order to meet certain obligations. The PCMLTFA and associated Regulations explicitly state when you must take reasonable measures to meet an obligation.

As of June 17, 2017, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations have been changed to require that a record be kept when reasonable measures were taken, but were unsuccessful. A reasonable measure is unsuccessful when you do not obtain a response, such as a yes or no, and you are unable to make a conclusive determination. Refer to section 67.3 of the Regulations for every activity where you are required to keep records when reasonable measures were unsuccessful.

When reasonable measures are unsuccessful, you must record the following information:

  • the measures taken;
  • the date on which each measure was taken; and
  • the reasons why the measures were unsuccessful.

You must outline the reasonable measures that you take in your compliance policies and procedures. This can form part of your unsuccessful reasonable measures record, or you could document, on a case-by-case basis, the measure taken in each record for unsuccessful reasonable measures.

For example, if you ask a client if they are conducting a large cash transaction on behalf of a third party and they refuse to answer your record should indicate that you asked, the date you asked and the fact that the client refused to answer yes or no.

Should you take a measure that is not included in your policies and procedures, you would have to include details of that measure taken in your record of unsuccessful reasonable measures.

Retention: You must keep records of your unsuccessful reasonable measures for at least five years following the date they were created.

Exceptions to record keeping requirements

If you are required to keep a record about information that is readily available in other records that you have kept, you do not have to record the same information again. This means that if you keep the required information and can produce it during a FINTRAC examination you do not need to create a new record to meet your obligations.

You do not have to keep a client information record, or records of transaction of $3,000 or more when issuing or cashing money orders or other similar negotiable instruments, if the transaction is for a public body or a very large corporation. The same is true regarding a subsidiary of either of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body or very large corporation.

You do not have to keep a large cash transaction record if the cash is received from a financial entity or a public body.

March 2021 

Record keeping requirements for departments and agents of the Crown

March 2021

This guidance comes into effect on June 1, 2021.

Departments and agents of the Crown have record keeping requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

This guidance will only describe the record keeping requirements of departments and agents of the Crown that issue, sell or redeem money orders in the course of providing financial services to the public.Footnote 1

If you are a department or an agent of the Crown that accepts deposit liabilities in the course of providing financial services to the public, your requirements can be found on the financial entities sector page.Footnote 2

If you are a department or agent of the Crown that sells precious metals in the amount of $10,000 or more in a single transaction, your requirements can be found on the dealers in precious metals and precious stones sector page.Footnote 3

This guidance outlines certain record keeping requirements for departments or agent of the Crown. You have additional record keeping requirements that are detailed in the following guidance:

This guidance answers the following questions:

  1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?
  2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?
  3. What are the exceptions to my record keeping obligations?

**Note: Throughout this guidance, all references to dollar amounts (such as $10,000) are in Canadian dollars.

1. What records must I keep and what must they contain?

You must keep the following records:

  1. Reports — a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC
    • Suspicious Transaction Reports
    • Terrorist Property Reports
    • Large Cash Transaction Reports
    • Large Virtual Currency (VC) Transaction Reports
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Large VC transaction records
  4. Records for transactions of $3,000 or more
  5. Information records

**Note: When you are required to keep records about clients, you should be as descriptive as possible. Being descriptive when recording the nature of the principal business or occupation of a client will help determine whether a transaction or activity is consistent with what would be expected for that client. For example, when the client's occupation is "manager", the record should reflect the area of management, such as "hotel reservations manager" or "retail clothing store manager". When an entity's principal business area is "sales", the record should specify the type of sales, such as "pharmaceutical sales" or "retail sales".

a. Reports — a copy of every report sent to FINTRAC

You must keep a copy of every report that you submit to FINTRAC as a record.

Suspicious Transaction Reports

When you submit a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 4

Retention: At least five years after the day the STR was submitted.Footnote 5

Terrorist Property Reports

When you submit a Terrorist Property Report (TPR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 6

Retention: At least five years after the day the TPR was submitted.Footnote 7

Large Cash Transaction Reports

When you submit a Large Cash Transaction Report (LCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 8

Retention: At least five years from the date the LCTR was created.Footnote 9

Large Virtual Currency Reports

When you submit a Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report (LVCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 10

Retention: At least five years from the date the LVCTR was created.Footnote 11

b. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a large cash transaction record when you receive $10,000 or more in cash.Footnote 12

If you authorize a person or an entity to receive funds on your behalf, and that person or entity receives $10,000 or more in cash in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received the amount when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large cash transaction record.Footnote 13

**Note: This obligation is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 14

A large cash transaction record must include:Footnote 15

  • the date you received the cash;
  • for any person involved in the transaction (including the person from whom you received the cash), their name, address, date of birth, and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • for any entity involved in the transaction (including the entity from which you received the cash), their name, address and the nature of their principal business;
  • the type and amount of each fiat currency involved in the receipt;
  • the purpose of the transaction (for example, the cash was used to purchase a money order, etc.);
  • the method by which you received the cash (for example, in person, by mail, by armoured car, etc.);
  • the exchange rates used and their source (if applicable); and
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account (for example, business, personal, etc.); and
    • the full name of the account holder.
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • the following details about the remittance (i.e. the disposition) or exchange for the cash received:
    • the method of remittance (for example, money order, etc.);
    • if the remittance is in funds, the type and amount of each type of funds involved;
    • if the remittance is not in funds, the type of remittance and its value if different from the amount received in cash; and
    • the name of every person or entity involved in the remittance, their account number or policy number. If there is no account or policy number, their identifying number.

Retention: At least five years from the date the large cash transaction record was created.Footnote 16

c. Large virtual currency transaction records

You must keep a large virtual currency (VC) transaction record when you receive VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more.Footnote 17

If you authorize a person or entity to receive VC on your behalf, and that person or entity receives VC in an amount equivalent to $10,000 or more in accordance with the authorization, you are deemed to have received VC when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 18

**Note: This obligation is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 19

A large VC transaction record must include:Footnote 20

  • the date you received the VC;
  • for any person involved in the transaction (including the person from whom you received the VC), their name, address, date of birth, and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • for any entity involved in the transaction (including the entity from which you received the VC), their name, address and the nature of their principal business;  
  • the type and amount of each VC involved in the receipt;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • if an account was affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account; and
    • the name of each account holder.
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number; and
  • every transaction identifier (this may include a transaction hash or a similar identifier, if applicable), and every sending and receiving address.

Retention: At least five years from the date the large virtual currency transaction record was created.Footnote 21

d. Records for transactions of $3,000 or more

Issuing or selling money orders

When you receive $3,000 or more in relation to issuing or selling one or more money orders that total $3,000 or more, you must record:Footnote 22

  • the date you received the funds or VC;
  • If your client is a person, their name, address, date of birth and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if your client is an entity, the information contained within an information record;
  • the amount received;
  • whether the amount received is in funds or VC;
  • the type and amount of each type of funds and each of the VCs involved;
  • if an account is affected by the transaction:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number that is connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number; and
  • if VC is received, every transaction identifier including the sending and receiving addresses.

Redeeming money orders

When you redeem one or more money orders that total $3,000 or more at the request of a person or entity, you must record:Footnote 23

  • the date the money order was redeemed;
  • if your client is a person, their name, address, date of birth and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if your client is an entity, the information contained within an information record;
  • the total amount of the money orders;
  • the name of the issuer of each money order; 
  • if an account is affected by the redemption:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the redemption that is meant to be similar to an account number; and
  • if the redemption involves VC, every transaction identifier, including the sending and receiving addresses.

Retention: At least five years from the date the record for a transaction of $3000 or more was created.Footnote 24

e. Information records

If the client is a corporation or other entity, you must keep an information record, which is a record of the entity's name and address, as well as the nature of its principal business.Footnote 25

If the information record is kept on a client that is a corporation, you also need to keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the transaction.Footnote 26 This could be found in, for example:

  • the articles of incorporation; or
  • the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on the behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

Retention: At least five years from the day the last business transaction was conducted.Footnote 27

2. What are my responsibilities when maintaining records?

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements, you must keep records in such a manner that they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days of a request.Footnote 28 The records may also be requested through a judicial order by law enforcement to support an investigation of money laundering or terrorist activity financing. A record (or a copy) may be kept in a machine-readable or electronic form, so long as a paper copy can easily be produced.Footnote 29

Employees who keep records for you are not required to keep them after their employment ends. The same is true for persons in a contractual relationship with you, when the contractual relationship ends, they no longer have to keep records for you.Footnote 30 You have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by any employee or a contractor before the end of the person's employment or contract.

There may be situations where you are required to keep records for purposes other than complying with your obligations under the PCMLTFA. For example, a federal or provincial regulator may require you to keep records in addition to those described in this guidance. If this is the case, you must still meet the requirements described in this guidance. For example, the retention period for your records can be longer than what is described, but it cannot be shorter.

3. What are the exceptions to my record keeping obligations?

If you are required to keep a record with information that is readily available in other records, you do not have to record the information again.Footnote 31

For example, when you keep a copy of a Large Cash Transaction Report (LCTR), you may choose to use this as your large cash transaction record for the same transaction, so long as all of the information that would otherwise be kept in the large cash transaction record is captured within the report. All requirements related to keeping a large cash transaction record would still apply, such as verifying client identity.

Financial entities, public bodies and very large corporations or trusts

If you receive $3,000 or more from a client that is a financial entity (FE) or a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is a financial entity for the issuance or sale of one or more money orders, you do not have to keep a record of the transaction.Footnote 32

You do not have to keep a large cash transaction record or a large VC transaction record if the cash or VC is received from a client that is a financial entity or a public body, or from a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is a financial entity or public body.Footnote 33

You do not have to keep records for transactions of $3,000 or more nor information records for:Footnote 34

  • public bodies;
  • very large corporations or trusts; or
  • subsidiaries of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body, very large corporation or trust.

Virtual currency

When you receive VC as compensation for the validation of a transaction that is recorded in a distributed ledger or when you receive a nominal amount of VC for the sole purpose of validating a different transaction or a transfer of information, you do not need to keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 35

Date Modified: