Record keeping requirements for financial entities

September 2020

September 2020

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

In order to comply with your record keeping requirements, you are required to 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 financial entity, you have record keeping requirements in addition to those described in this guidance. These additional requirements are detailed in the following Know your client guidance documents:

As a financial entity, you must keep the following records:

  1. Suspicious transaction report records
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. 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
    2. If you redeem $3,000 or more in one or multiple money orders
  4. Records of electronic funds transfers of $1,000 or more
  5. Foreign currency exchange transaction records
  6. Account opening records
    1. Signature cards
    2. Intended use of an account
    3. Accounts for individuals or entities other than corporations
    4. Accounts for corporations
    5. Account records created in the normal course of business
  7. Account records
    1. Deposit slips
    2. Account statements
    3. Cleared cheque records
  8. Credit arrangement records
  9. Credit card account opening records
  10. Trust records
  11. 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 must keep a copy of it. This includes STRs for completed and attempted transactions.

Retention: You must keep STRs 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 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.

If the large cash transaction is received for deposit, you must keep a record of:

  • the name of each person or entity in whose account the cash is deposited. If the cash was deposited to more than one client’s account, all names must be included in the record; and
  • the time of the deposit, if it was made during your normal business hours, or an indication of "night deposit" if the deposit was made outside of your normal business hours.

In any case other than a deposit, the large cash transaction record must include the name of the individual from whom you received the cash and that individual's address, date of birth, and principal business or occupation.

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

3. Record of transactions of $3,000 or more

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

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

b. If you redeem a total of $3,000 or more in one or multiple money orders, you must record the:

  • date it was redeemed;
  • name and address of the person who requested the redemption of the money order(s);
  • name of the issuer of each money order; and
  • total amount of the money order(s).

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.

4. Records of electronic fund transfers of $1,000 or more

When you send an electronic funds transfer (EFT) of $1,000 or more at the request of a client, including an EFT sent within Canada that is a SWIFT MT 103 message, you must record:

  • if the client is an individual, their name, address, date of birth, telephone number and the nature of their principal business or their occupation;
  • if the client is an entity, the name, address, date of birth, and telephone number of the person who made the request on behalf of the entity and the nature of the individual’s principal business or their occupation;
  • the relevant account number and the reference number of the transaction (if applicable);
  • the date of the transaction;
  • the name and, if applicable, account number of the beneficiary of the transaction; and
  • the amount and currency of the transaction.

If you send an EFT in any amount at the request of a client, including an EFT sent within Canada that is a SWIFT MT 103 message, you must include originator information.

If you receive an EFT in any amount, including an EFT sent within Canada that is a SWIFT MT 103 message, you must take reasonable measures to ensure that it includes originator information. In this context, reasonable measures could include contacting the institution that sent the payment instructions.

Retention: You must keep electronic funds transfer records for at least five years from the date the record was created.

5. Foreign currency exchange transaction records

You must keep a transaction ticket for every foreign currency exchange transaction you conduct, regardless of the amount. Each transaction ticket must include:

  • the date, amount, and currency of the purchase or sale;
  • the method, amount, and currency of the payment made or received; and
  • if the transaction was of $3,000 or more, the name, address and date of birth of the person who carried out the transaction.

Retention: You must keep foreign currency exchange tickets for at least five years from the date the record was created.

6. Account opening records

Every time you open an account for a client, you must keep the following records:

a. Signature cards

You must keep a record of a signature card for each account holder of that account. A signature card is a document signed by an individual authorized to give instructions on an account, or electronic data that constitutes the signature. It can include the handwritten signature of an individual or an electronic signature that is created or adopted by an individual. The electronic signature can be numeric, character-based, or biometric, so long as it is unique to the individual and a record can be kept.

An electronic signature may be encrypted. For example, a personal identification number (PIN) can be used as an electronic signature. FINTRAC’s expectation is that it will be able to review a document during an examination, but the “electronic signature” does not need to be unencrypted.

You must keep signature card records for individual members of group plan accounts when contributions are not made by payroll deduction, by the plan’s sponsor or when the existence of the plan sponsor is not confirmed.

You can keep a single signature card record for a client with multiple accounts; you do not need to create a new signature card record every time the client opens a subsequent account.

Retention: You must keep signature cards for at least five years from the day the account is closed.

b. Intended use of an account

You must keep a record of the intended use of an account.

Examples of intended use for personal accounts include the following:

  • for general chequing services, such as payment of family and household expenses;
  • to receive directly deposited employment or pension income;
  • to save for the eventual payment of children's education;
  • to save for retirement;
  • to save for a trip.

Examples of the intended use for business accounts include the following:

  • for deposits of daily receipts for a business (sales, etc.);
  • for payments to employees (payroll);
  • for general business operating expenses;
  • for payments to suppliers.

Retention: You must keep intended use of an account records for at least five years from the day the account is closed.

c. Accounts for individual or entities other than corporations

When you open an account for an individual you must record the name, address, date of birth and the nature of their principal business or occupation.

When you open an account for an entity other than a corporation, you must record its name, address and the nature of its principal business.

Retention: You must keep these records for at least five years from the date they were created.

d. Accounts for corporations

When you open an account for a corporation, you must keep a copy of the part of official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the account.

  • This could be a certificate of incumbency, the articles of incorporate or the bylaws of the corporation that set out the officers duly authorized to sign on 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 regarding the account and these changes were in effect at the time the account was opened, then the board resolution stating the change would be included in this type of record.

Retention: You must keep these records for at least five years from the date they were created.

e. Account records created in the normal course of business

You must keep the following records if they are created in the normal course of operating your business:

  • every account operating agreement. An account operating agreement is a document you create in the normal course of business that outlines the agreement between you and your client about the account's operation. For example, an application for a deposit account or a mortgage can include a reference to a separate document setting out the terms and conditions of the account's operation. The account operating agreement record in that case would include both the application and the separate document.
  • every debit and credit memo that you create or receive regarding an account. However, you do not need to keep a debit memo that relates to another account held at the same branch of the financial entity that created the debit memo.

Retention: You must keep account operating agreements for at least five years from the closure of the account. Whereas, you must keep debit or credit memos for at least five years from the date they were created.

7. Account records

a. Deposit slips

You must keep a deposit slip for every deposit to an account. A deposit slip means a record that includes:

  • the date of the deposit;
  • the holder of the account in whose name the deposit is made;
  • the account number; and
  • the amount of the deposit, and any part of the deposit that was made in cash.

Retention: You must keep all deposit slips for at least five years from the date they were created.

b. Account statements

You must keep a copy of every account statement you send to a client.

Retention: You must keep these records for at least five years from the date they were created.

c. Cleared cheque records

You must keep a record of every cleared cheque drawn on an account, and a copy of every cleared cheque that is deposited to an account. This does not apply to cheques drawn on an account and deposited to an account at the same branch of your financial entity. It also does not apply if an image of the cheque has been recorded electronically or on microfilm and can be readily produced.

Retention: You must keep these records for at least five years from the date they were created.

8. Credit arrangement records

You are required to keep the following information with respect to a credit arrangement that you have entered into with a client:

  • a record of your client’s financial capacity;
  • the terms of the credit arrangement; and
  • if your client is an individual, the address of their business or place of work.

Please note that it continues to be a best practice to also keep a record of the name of the business or place of work.

Retention: You must keep credit arrangement records for at least five years from the day the account is closed.

9. Credit card account opening records

Every time that you open a credit card account, you have to keep the following records:

  • The name, address and telephone number of every account holder of a credit card of the account.
  • When the credit card account is opened in the name of an individual, their name, address, date of birth and the nature of their principal business or occupation. When the credit card account is opened in the name of an entity, other than a corporation, the entity’s name, address, telephone number and the nature of its principal business.
  • When the credit card account is opened in the name of a corporation, a copy of the part of official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation in respect of the credit card account.
  • The date of birth of every holder of a credit card for the account, if the information is known after taking reasonable measures to obtain it.
  • Every credit card application that you receive from a client in the normal course of business.
  • A copy of every credit card statement that you send to a client.

Retention: You must keep every credit card application that you receive from a client for at least five years from the closure of the account.

You must keep other credit card account opening records for at least five years from the date they were created.

10. Trust records

A trust company is a financial entity that is regulated by the Trust and Loan Companies Act or by an equivalent provincial Act. As a trust company you have obligations to keep records that are related to trusts.

A trust is a legal agreement in which financial assets are held by an individual or entity (a trustee) in trust for the benefit of another individual, group of persons or entity (beneficiaries). The settlor of a trust is an individual or entity that creates a trust with a written trust declaration. A settlor includes any individual or entity that contributes financially to that trust, either directly or indirectly.

In addition to the transaction and account records, you must keep the following records for every trust where you are trustee:

  • a copy of the trust deed; and
  • a record of the settlor's name, address, and the nature of its principal business if the settlor is an entity. If the settlor is an individual, you must record their name, address, nature of their principal business or their occupation, and date of birth.

You may also have record keeping obligations for certain institutional and personal trusts. Institutional trusts are established by a corporation, partnership or other entity for a particular business purpose. Whereas, personal trusts (inter vivos) are established by a living individual for the benefit of another individual, such as a trust created by a parent for a child where its assets can be distributed to the beneficiary during or after the settlor’s lifetime.

If the trust is an institutional trust and the settlor is a corporation, you have to keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the settlor/corporation in respect of the trust.

If the trust is a personal trust (other than a trust created by a will), you have to keep a record about each of the beneficiaries that are known to you. The information required in this record is the name, address and the nature of its principal business if the beneficiary is an entity. If the beneficiary is an individual, you have to record their name, address, date of birth and the nature of their principal business or their occupation. This information needs to be recorded for each beneficiary at the time you become a trustee for the trust.

11. 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 carrying on activities as a credit card acquiring business, the record keeping requirements described in this guideline do not apply to those activities. A credit card acquiring business is a financial entity that has an agreement with a merchant to provide the following services:

  • enabling a merchant to accept credit card payments by cardholders for goods and services and to receive payment for credit card purchases;
  • processing services, payment settlements and providing point-of-sale equipment (such as computer terminals); and
  • providing other ancillary services to the merchant.

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 are not required to keep the following records if you open an account, including a credit card account, or conduct a transaction for a public body or a very large corporation. The same is true regarding a subsidiary for either of those entities, if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body or very large corporation.

  • Records of transactions of $3,000 or more
  • Record of electronic funds transfer of $1,000 or more
  • Foreign currency exchange transaction records
  • Account opening records
  • Account records
  • Credit arrangement records
  • Credit card account opening records
  • Trust records

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

If you open an account or a credit card account for a corporation that is a securities dealer, you do not have to keep records of the names of the corporation’s directors.

You are not required to keep the transaction and account records identified in this guidance for the following activities:

  • the purchase of an exempt policy as defined in subsection 306(1) of the Income Tax Regulations;
  • the purchase of a group life insurance policy that does not provide for a cash surrender value or a savings component;
  • the purchase of an immediate or deferred annuity that is paid for entirely with funds that are directly transferred from a registered pension plan or from a pension plan that is required to be registered under the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, or similar provincial legislation;
  • the purchase of a registered annuity policy or a registered retirement income fund;
  • the purchase of an immediate or deferred annuity that is paid for entirely with the proceeds of a group life insurance policy;
  • a transaction that is part of a reverse mortgage or of a structured settlement;
  • the opening of an account for the deposit and sale of shares from a corporate demutualization or the privatization of a Crown corporation;
  • the opening of an account in the name of an affiliate of a financial entity, if that affiliate carries out activities that are similar to those of persons and entities referred to in paragraphs 5(a) to (g) of the Act;
  • the opening of a registered plan account, including a locked-in retirement plan account, a registered retirement savings plan account and a group registered retirement savings plan account;
  • the opening of an account established pursuant to the escrow requirements of a Canadian securities regulator or Canadian stock exchange or any provincial legislation;
  • the opening of an account where the account holder or settlor is a pension fund that is regulated by or under an Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province;
  • the opening of an account in the name of or in respect of which, instructions are authorized to be given by a financial entity, a securities dealer or a life insurance company or by an investment fund that is regulated under provincial securities legislation;
  • in the case of a group plan account, you do not have to keep a signature card for any individual member of the plan if the plan's sponsor is an entity whose existence you have already confirmed and the member’s contributions are made by the sponsor of the plan or by means of payroll deductions; or
  • an account opened solely to provide customer accounting services to a securities dealer.
March 2021

March 2021

This guidance comes into effect on June 1, 2021.

Financial entities (FEs) have record keeping requirements under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations.

This guidance outlines certain record keeping requirements for FEs. 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 the record keeping requirements?

**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 Transaction Reports
    • Electronic Funds Transfer Reports
  2. Large cash transaction records
  3. Large virtual currency transaction records
  4. Records of transactions of $3,000 or more
  5. Records of electronic funds transfers of $1,000 or more
  6. Records of virtual currency transfers in amounts equivalent to $1,000 or more
  7. Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets
  8. Virtual currency exchange transaction tickets
  9. Account records
    • Records for account holders and persons authorized to give instructions
    • Signature cards
    • Intended use of an account
    • Applications
    • Account operating agreements
    • Debit and credit memos
    • Deposit slips
    • Account statements
    • Cleared cheque records
    • Credit arrangement records
  10. Credit card account and transaction records
  11. Prepaid payment product account and transaction records
  12. Trust 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 1

Retention: At least five years after the day the STR was submitted.Footnote 2

Terrorist Property Reports

When you submit a Terrorist Property Report (TPR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 3

Retention: At least five years after the day the TPR was submitted.Footnote 4

Large Cash Transaction Reports

When you submit a Large Cash Transaction Report (LCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 5

Retention: At least five years from the date the LCTR was created.Footnote 6

Large Virtual Currency Transaction Reports

When you submit a Large Virtual Currency Transaction Report (LVCTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 7

Retention: At least five years from the date the LVCTR was created.Footnote 8

Electronic Funds Transfer Reports

When you submit an Electronic Funds Transfer Report (EFTR) to FINTRAC, you must keep a copy of it.Footnote 9

Retention: At least five years from the date the EFTR was created.Footnote 10

b. Large cash transaction records

You must keep a large cash transaction record when you receive $10,000 or more in cash.Footnote 11

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 12

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 13

A large cash transaction record must include:Footnote 14

  • the date you received the cash;
  • if the amount is received for deposit into an account:
    • the account number(s);
    • the name of each account holder—if the cash was deposited into more than one client account, all names must be included in the record; and
    • the time of the deposit, if it was made during your normal business hours, or an indication of "night deposit" if the deposit was made outside of your normal business hours;
  • 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 nature of their principal business;
  • the type and amount of each fiat currency received;
  • 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);
  • if other accounts are affected by the transaction, include:
    • the account number and type of account (for example, business, personal, etc.); and
    • the name of each 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) of, or exchange for, the cash received:
    • the method of remittance (for example, wire transfer, 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 (for example, virtual currency, etc.) and 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 15

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 16

If you authorize a person or an 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 the VC when it is received by the person or entity, and you must keep a large VC transaction record.Footnote 17

**Note: This requirement is subject to the 24-hour rule.Footnote 18

A large VC transaction record must include:Footnote 19

  • the date you received the VC;
  • if you received the amount for deposit into an account, the name of each account holder;
  • 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 other accounts are 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 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 20

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

Issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or similar negotiable instruments

When you receive $3,000 or more in funds or an equivalent amount in VC, from a person or entity, for the issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments you must record:Footnote 21

  • the date you received the funds or VC;
  • if you received the amount from 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 you receive the amount from an entity, its name, address and nature of its principal business;
  • the amount received;
  • the type and amount of each type of funds and each type of the VC's 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;
  • if the received amount is in VC, every transaction identifier including transaction hashes or similar identifiers (if applicable), and every sending and receiving addresses.

Redemption of money orders

When you redeem one or more money orders, for a total value of $3,000 or more, in funds or in an equivalent amount of VC you must record:Footnote 22

  • the date the money orders were redeemed;
  • if the 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 the client is an entity, its name, address and nature of its principal business;
  • the total amount of the money orders or 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 transaction hashes or similar identifiers (as applicable), and every sending and receiving address.

Retention: At least five years from the date the record for a transaction of $3,000 or more was created.Footnote 23

e. Records of electronic fund transfers of $1,000 or more

Initiating an international EFT of $1,000 or more

When you initiate, at the request of a person or an entity, an international electronic funds transfer or any other electronic funds transfer (EFT) that is a SWIFT MT-103 message or equivalent valued at $1,000 or more you must record:Footnote 24

  • the date the EFT was initiated;
  • the type and amount of each type of funds involved in the initiation;
  • if the client is a person, their name, address, date of birth, telephone number and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the client is an entity, its name, address, telephone number and nature of its principal business;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • the name and address of each beneficiary;
  • if an account is affected by the initiation
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • the number of every account that is affected by the EFT, other than those affected by the initiation; and
  • every reference number that is connected to the EFT and is meant to be similar to an account number.

Sending an international EFT of $1,000 or more

When you send, as an intermediary, an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was initiated by another reporting entity, you must record:Footnote 25

  • the date the EFT was sent;
  • if fiat currencies were exchanged in the course of sending the EFT, the type and amount of each fiat currency involved in the exchange;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • for every account affected by the sending:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to sending the EFT that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • the name and address of the person or entity who requested the initiation of the EFT, unless after taking reasonable measures that information was not included with the transfer and it is not otherwise known; and
  • the name and address of each beneficiary, unless after taking reasonable measures that information was not included with the transfer and it is not otherwise known.

Final receipt of an international EFT of $1,000 or more

When you are the final recipient of an international EFT of $1,000 or more, you must record:Footnote 26

  • the date the EFT was finally received;
  • the type and amount of each type of funds involved in the final receipt;
  • the name, address, date of birth and nature of the principal business, in the case of a sole proprietor, or occupation of each person who is a beneficiary;
  • the name, address and nature of the principal business of each entity that is a beneficiary;
  • the date of the remittance;
  • the exchange rates used for the remittance and their source;
  • if the remittance is in funds, the type and amount of each type of funds involved in the remittance;
  • if the remittance is not in funds, the type of remittance (for example, virtual currency, precious stones, etc.), and its value, if different from the amount of funds finally received;
  • for every account affected by the final receipt or remittance:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the EFT that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • the name and address of the person or entity that requested the initiation of the EFT, unless after taking reasonable measures, that information was not included with the transfer and it is not otherwise known; and
  • the number of every account that is affected by the EFT, other than those affected by the final receipt or remittance.

**Note: When you initiate, send as an intermediary, or finally receive an EFT, you must include with the transfer the prescribed information in accordance with the travel rule. Please see FINTRAC's travel rule guidance for more information.

Retention: At least five years from the date the EFT record was created.Footnote 27

f. Records of virtual currency transfers in amounts equivalent to $1,000 or more

VC transfer in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more

When you transfer VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more at the request of a person or entity, you must record:Footnote 28

  • the date of the transfer;
  • the type and amount of each VC that is involved in the transfer;
  • if the client is a person, their name, address, date of birth and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the client is an entity, its name, address and the nature of its principal business;
  • the name and address of each beneficiary;
  • for every account affected by the transfer:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • every transaction identifier including transaction hashes or similar identifiers (if applicable) and every sending and receiving address; and
  • the exchange rates used and their source.

Receipt of VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more for remittance to a beneficiary

When you receive VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more for remittance to a beneficiary, you must record: Footnote 29

  • the date of the receipt;
  • the type and amount of each VC that is received;
  • if the beneficiary is a person, the name, address, date of birth and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business of each beneficiary;
  • if the beneficiary is an entity, the name, address and the nature of principal business of each beneficiary;
  • the date of the remittance;
  • the exchange rates used for the remittance and their source;
  • if the remittance is in VC, the type and amount of each VC involved in the remittance;
  • if the remittance is not in VC, the type and value of the remittance, if different from the value of the received VC;
  • for every account affected by the transaction:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to an account number;
  • every transaction identifier, including transaction hashes or similar identifiers (if applicable), and every sending and receiving address; and
  • the name and address of the person or entity that requested the transfer, unless that information was not, despite the taking of reasonable measures, included with the transfer and is not otherwise known.

**Note: When you transfer VC, you must include with the transfer the prescribed information in accordance with the travel rule. When you receive VC, you must take reasonable measures to ensure that the transfer includes the prescribed information. Please see FINTRAC's travel rule guidance for more information.

Retention: At least five years from the date the VC transfer or VC receipt record was created.Footnote 30

g. Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets

You must keep a transaction ticket, which may take the form of an entry in a transaction register, for every foreign currency exchange transaction you conduct, regardless of the amount.Footnote 31 Each transaction ticket must include:Footnote 32

  • the date of the transaction;
  • if the transaction was of $3,000 or more and requested by a person, their name, address, date of birth and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the transaction was of $3,000 or more and requested by an entity, its name, address and the nature of its principal business;
  • type and amount of each fiat currency received from the client and the type and amount of each fiat currency given to the client;
  • the method by which the payment was made and received;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • for every account 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 that of an account number.

Retention: At least five years from the date the foreign exchange transaction record was created.Footnote 33

h. VC exchange transaction tickets

You must keep a VC exchange transaction ticket, which may take the form of an entry in a transaction register, for every VC exchange transaction you conduct, regardless of the amount.Footnote 34 Each transaction ticket must include:Footnote 35

  • the date of the transaction;
  • if the VC transaction was equivalent to $1,000 or more and requested by a person, their name, address, date of birth and occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the VC transaction was equivalent to $1,000 or more and requested by an entity, its name, address and the nature of its principal business;
  • the type and amount of each fund and each VC involved in the payment made and received by the client;
  • the method (VC currency exchange business) by which the payment was made and received;
  • the exchange rates used and their source;
  • for every account affected by the transaction:
    • the account number and account type; and
    • the name of each account holder;
  • every reference number connected to the transaction that is meant to be similar to that of an account number; and
  • every transaction identifier, including transaction hashes or similar identifiers (if applicable), and every sending and receiving address.

Retention: At least five years from the date the VC exchange transaction record was created.Footnote 36

i. Account records

For every account opened for a client, you must keep the following records:

Records for account holders and persons authorized to give instructions

You must keep a record for every account holder (person, corporation, or other entity) and for every other person (up to three, in the case of a business account) who is authorized to give instructions in respect of the account.Footnote 37

For a person, the record must include their name, address, date of birth and their occupation, or in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business.Footnote 38

For an account holder that is a corporation or an entity other than a corporation, the record must include its name, address and the nature of its principal business.Footnote 39

For a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of its official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation regarding the account.Footnote 40 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 behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

Retention: At least five years from the date the record was created. However, if this information is kept in one of the other account records, then the retention of that other record applies – at least five years from the date the account is closed.Footnote 41

Signature cards

You must keep a signature card for every person authorized to give instructions on an account you open.Footnote 42 It can include the person's handwritten signature or an electronic signature that was created or adopted by the person.

An electronic signature can be numeric, character-based, or biometric, so long as it is unique to the person and a record can be kept. An electronic signature may also be encrypted. For example, a client's personal identification number (PIN) can be used as an electronic signature. FINTRAC's expectation is that it will be possible to review a signature card record during an examination, but the electronic signature does not need to be unencrypted.

You can keep a single signature card for a client that holds multiple accounts; you do not need to create a new signature card every time a client opens a subsequent account.

Retention: At least five years from the date the account was closed.Footnote 43

Intended use of an account

You must keep a record of the intended use of an account.Footnote 44

Examples of the intended use of personal accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • general chequing services, such as payment of family and household expenses;
  • saving to fund a large purchase, retirement, or for a child's education; or
  • receiving directly deposited employment or pension income.

Examples of the intended use of business accounts include, but are not limited to:

  • depositing of daily business receipts (sales, etc.);
  • making payments to employees (payroll);
  • general business operating expenses; or
  • making payments to suppliers.

Retention: At least five years from the date the account was closed.Footnote 45

Applications

You must also keep a record of every application in respect of an account.Footnote 46

Retention: At least five years from the date the account was closed.Footnote 47

Account operating agreements

You must keep every account operating agreement that you create or receive. An account operating agreement is a document that outlines the agreement between you and your client about the account's operation. For example, an application for a deposit account or a mortgage can include a reference to a separate document setting out the terms and conditions of the account's operation. The account operating agreement record in that case would include both the application and the separate document.Footnote 48

Retention: At least five years from the date the account was closed.Footnote 49

Debit and credit memos

You must keep every debit and credit memo that you create or receive regarding an account. However, you do not need to keep a debit memo that relates to another account held at the same branch.Footnote 50 That is, you do not have to keep duplicate debit memos. If you have kept a debit memo in relation to two accounts at a given branch, you are only required to keep one memo on record.

Retention: At least five years from the date the debit or credit memo was created.Footnote 51

Deposit slips

You must keep a deposit slip for every deposit to an account.Footnote 52 A deposit slip means a record that includes: Footnote 53

  • the date of the deposit;
  • the name of the person or entity that made the deposit;
  • the amount of the deposit, and any part of the deposit that was made in cash;
  • the method by which the deposit was made; and
  • the number of the account the deposit went into and the name of each account holder.

Retention: At least five years from the date the deposit slips were created.Footnote 54

Account statements

You must keep a copy of every account statement you send to an account holder.Footnote 55

Retention: At least five years from the date the account statements were created.Footnote 56

Cleared cheque records

You must keep a record of every cleared cheque drawn on an account, and a copy of every cleared cheque that is deposited to an account.Footnote 57

This does not apply to cheques drawn from an account and deposited to an account at the same branch.

It also does not apply if an image of the cheque has been recorded electronically or on microfilm, which can be readily reproduced, and it can be readily ascertained where the image is recorded.

Retention: At least five years from the date the cleared cheques records were created and at least five years from the date the image was recorded in the case of a microfilm or electronic medium.Footnote 58

Credit arrangement records

You are required to keep the following information with respect to a credit arrangement that you have entered into with a client: Footnote 59

  • a record of the client's financial capacity;
  • the terms of the credit arrangement;
  • the nature of the client's principal business or their occupation; and
  • if the client is a person, the name and address of their business or place of work.

Retention: At least five years from the date the account was closed.Footnote 60

j. Credit card account and related transaction records

Records for account holders and persons authorized to give instructions

You must keep a record for every credit card account holder (person, corporation, or other entity) and for every other person (up to three, in the case of a business account) that is authorized to give instructions in respect of the account.Footnote 61

For a person, the record must include their name, address, date of birth and occupation or, in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business.Footnote 62

For an account holder that is a corporation or an entity other than a corporation, the record must include its name, address and the nature of its principal business.Footnote 63

For a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of its official corporate records that contains provisions relating to the power to bind the corporation in respect of the credit card account or credit card transactions.Footnote 64 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 behalf of the corporation, such as the president, treasurer, vice-president, comptroller, etc.

Retention: At least five years from the date the record was created. However, if this information is kept in one of the other credit card account records, then the retention of that other record applies – at least five years from the date the account is closed. Footnote 65

Other account records

You must keep the following records for every credit card account:

  • every credit card application related to the account;Footnote 66 and
  • a copy of every credit card statement that you sent to an account holder.Footnote 67

Retention: You must keep a credit card application for at least five years from the date the account was closed and credit card statements for at least five years from the day they were created.Footnote 68

Transaction records

You must keep the following records when transactions are related to a credit card account:

  • a foreign currency exchange transaction ticket for every foreign currency exchange transaction (See Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets);Footnote 69
  • a VC exchange transaction ticket for every VC exchange transaction (See VC exchange transaction tickets);Footnote 70
  • a record of the initiation of an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was requested by a person or an entity and for which the funds were transferred from the account (See Initiating an EFT of $1,000 or more);Footnote 71and
  • a record of the final receipt of an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was remitted to a beneficiary by payment to the credit card account (See Final receipt of an international EFT of $1,000 or more).Footnote 72

Retention: At least five years from the date the transaction records were created.Footnote 73

k. Prepaid payment product account and transaction records

Records for account holders and authorized users

You must keep a record for every prepaid payment product (PPP) account holder (person, corporation, or other entity) and for every authorized user.Footnote 74

For a person, the record must include their name, address, date of birth, occupation and in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business.Footnote 75

For each PPP account holder that is a corporation or an entity other than a corporation, the record must include its name, address and the nature of its principal business.Footnote 76

When you open a PPP account for a corporation, you must also keep a copy of the part of its official corporate records that contains any provision relating to the power to bind the corporation in respect of the PPP account or PPP account transactions.Footnote 77

Retention:  At least five years from the date the record was created. However, if this information is kept in one of the other account records, then the retention of that other record applies – at least five years from the date the account is closed.Footnote 78

Other account records

You must keep the following records for every PPP account:

  • every application related to the PPP account;Footnote 79
  • every debit and credit memo you created or received related to the PPP account;Footnote 80
  • a copy of every account statement sent to the holder of the PPP account;Footnote 81 and
  • a prepaid payment product slip for every payment made to the PPP accountFootnote 82 that includes:
    • the date of the payment;
    • the name of the person or entity that made the payment;
    • the type and amount of each type of funds or each of the VC's involved in the payment;
    • the method by which the payment was made;
    • the name of each PPP account holder; and
    • the account number and, if different, the number that identifies the PPP that is connected to the account.Footnote 83

Retention: You must keep PPP account applications for at least five years from the date the account was closed and the other records listed above for at least five years from the date they were created.Footnote 84

PPP account transaction records

You must keep the following records when transactions are related to a PPP account:

  • a foreign currency exchange transaction ticket for every foreign currency exchange transaction (See Foreign currency exchange transaction tickets);Footnote 85
  • a VC exchange transaction ticket for every VC exchange transaction (See VC exchange transaction tickets);Footnote 86
  • a record of the initiation of an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was requested by a person or an entity for which the funds were transferred from a PPP account (See Initiating an EFT of $1,000 or more);Footnote 87
  • a record of the final receipt of an international EFT of $1,000 or more that was remitted to a beneficiary by payment to a PPP account (See Final receipt of an EFT of $1,000 or more);Footnote 88
  • a record of the transfer of VC in amount equivalent to $1,000 or more from a PPP account (See VC transfer in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more);Footnote 89 and
  • a record of the receipt of VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more that was remitted to a beneficiary by payment to a PPP account (See Receipt of VC in an amount equivalent to $1,000 or more).Footnote 90

Retention: At least five years from the date the transaction records were created.Footnote 91

**Note: Please see FINTRAC's Prepaid payment products and prepaid payment product accounts guidance for more information.

l. Trust records

A trust company is an FE that is regulated by the Trust and Loan Companies Act or by an equivalent provincial Act. Trust companies have record keeping obligations related to the trusts for which they are the trustee.

A trust is a legal agreement by which financial assets are held by a person or an entity (a trustee) in trust for the benefit of another person, group of persons or entity (beneficiaries). The settlor of a trust is the person or entity that creates a trust with a written trust declaration.

You must keep the following records for every trust for which you are trustee, in addition to the transaction and account records listed previously in this guidance:Footnote 92

  • a copy of the trust deed;
  • if the settlor is a person, their name, address, date of birth and occupation or, in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business; and
  • if the settlor is an entity, its name, address and nature of its principal business.

You may also have record keeping obligations for certain institutional and inter vivos trusts. Institutional trusts are established by a corporation, partnership or other entity for a particular business purpose. Whereas, inter vivos trusts are established by a living person for the benefit of another person, such as a trust created by a parent for a child so that the trust's assets can be distributed to the child (beneficiary) during or after the parent's (settlor) lifetime.

If the trust is an institutional trust and the settlor is a corporation, you have to keep a copy of the part of the official corporate records that contains provisions relating to the power to bind the settlor/corporation in respect of the trust.

If the trust is an inter vivos trust (personal trust other than a trust created by a will), you have to keep a record about each of the beneficiaries that are known to you which must include:Footnote 93

  • if the beneficiary is a person, their name, date of birth, address, telephone number and occupation or, in the case of a sole proprietor, the nature of their principal business;
  • if the beneficiary is an entity, its name, address, telephone number and the nature of its principal business.

This information needs to be recorded for each beneficiary known to you at the time you become trustee of the trust.

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 94 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 95

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 96 You have to obtain and keep the records that were kept for you by an 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 the record keeping requirements?

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 97

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. Any requirement related to keeping the large cash transaction record would still apply, such as verifying identity.

Payment card processing activities

If you are processing credit card or PPP payments on behalf of a merchant (for example, credit card acquiring), the record keeping requirements described in this guidance do not apply to those activities.Footnote 98

A credit card acquiring business is an FE that has an agreement with a merchant to provide the following services:

  • enabling the merchant to accept credit card payments by cardholders for goods and services and to receive payment for credit card purchases;
  • processing services, payment settlements and providing point-of-sale equipment (such as computer terminals); and
  • providing other ancillary services to the merchant.

Financial entities, public bodies, and very large corporations or trusts

You do not have to keep a large cash transaction record or a large VC transaction record if the cash or VC was received from another FE, a public body, or a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is an FE or public body.Footnote 99

If you receive $3,000 or more from a client that is an FE, or a person who is acting on behalf of a client that is an FE, for the issuance of traveller's cheques, money orders or other similar negotiable instruments, you are not required to keep a record of the transaction.Footnote 100

If you open an account, a credit card account, a PPP account, or conduct a transaction for a public body, a very large corporation or trust, or a subsidiary of those entities if the financial statements of the subsidiary are consolidated with those of the public body, very large corporation or trust, you are not required to keep the following records:Footnote 101

  • Records of transactions of $3,000 or more;
  • Records of EFTs of $1,000 or more;
  • Records of VC transfers and receipt equivalent to $1,000 or more;
  • Foreign currency exchange transaction records;
  • VC exchange transaction records;
  • Account records;
  • PPP account records;
  • Credit card account records; and
  • Trust records.

Virtual currency

When you transfer or receive VC as compensation for the validation of a transaction that is recorded in a distributed ledger, or when you exchange, transfer, or 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 record of: Footnote 102

  • large VC transactions;
  • transfers of $1,000 or more in VC at the request of a person or entity;
  • receipt of $1,000 or more in VC for remittance to a beneficiary; or
  • VC exchange transaction tickets.

Other record keeping exempted activities

You do not have to keep the transaction and account records identified in this guidance for the following activities:Footnote 103

  • the sale of an exempt policy as defined in subsection 306(1) of the Income Tax Regulations;
  • the sale of a group life insurance policy that does not provide for a cash surrender value or a savings component;
  • the sale of an immediate or deferred annuity that is paid for entirely with funds that are directly transferred from a registered pension plan or from a pension plan that is required to be registered under the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, or similar provincial legislation;
  • the sale of a registered annuity policy or a registered retirement income fund;
  • the sale of an immediate or deferred annuity that is paid for entirely with the proceeds of a group life insurance policy;
  • a transaction that is part of a reverse mortgage or a structured settlement;
  • the opening of an account for the deposit and sale of shares from a corporate demutualization or the privatization of a Crown corporation;
  • the opening of an account in the name of an affiliate of an FE, if that affiliate carries out activities that are similar to those of persons and entities referred to in paragraphs 5(a) to (g) of the PCMLTFA;
  • the opening of a registered plan account, including a locked-in retirement plan account, a registered retirement savings plan account and a group registered retirement savings plan account;
  • the opening of an account established in accordance with the escrow requirements of a Canadian securities regulator, the Canadian stock exchange, or any provincial legislation;
  • the opening of an account where the account holder or settlor is a pension fund that is regulated under federal or provincial legislation;
  • the opening of an account in the name of or in respect of which, instructions are authorized to be given by an FE, a securities dealer or a life insurance company or by an investment fund that is regulated under provincial securities legislation; or
  • an account opened solely to provide customer accounting services to a securities dealer.

These exceptions do not apply to large cash transactions, large VC transactions, or suspicious transactions.

Group Plans

If you open a group plan account (other than those for which exceptions already apply) you do not have to keep a signature card for a person who is a member of the plan if:

  • the identity of the entity that is the plan sponsor has been verified; and
  • the individual member contributions are made by the sponsor of the plan or by payroll deductions.Footnote 104
Date Modified: