Anti-money laundering policy

Money laundering is a global issue which is illegal, unethical and harmful. In Canada, it poses threats to our national reputation, economy, and society. CPA Canada recognizes these threats and contributes to federal policy development.

As part of CPA Canada’s commitment to serve the public interest, the organization has consistently taken a strong stand against money laundering.

Accountants and accounting firms are reporting entities under Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, with specific regulatory requirements when they engage in certain activities.

STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK FOR AML

In the fight against money laundering, Canada needs a strategic framework of cooperation to combat and prosecute the crimes and to minimize the collateral damage from money laundering and terrorist financing.

Elements of such a strategic framework, in our view, include:

Corporate transparency

  • increased corporate ownership transparency via improved access to beneficial ownership information, while maintaining the ease of doing business in Canada

Whistleblowing framework

  • a national framework for the reporting by and protection of whistleblowers, instead of the current patchwork quilt of provisions at the federal and provincial government levels

Organizational compliance programs

  • development of new, national standards outlining expectations for organizational integrity and compliance programs

Enforcement

  • development of enhanced, transparent, and streamlined processes for law enforcement, prosecutors, and other parties to address allegations of misconduct

CPA CANADA’S ROLE IN AML POLICY

On behalf of the profession and in the public interest, we engage with the federal government in efforts to strengthen Canada’s anti-money laundering regime.

CPA Canada is represented and actively participates on Finance Canada’s public-private sector Advisory Committee on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ACMLTF) and on two of its public-private subcommittees.

Our organization and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), which includes CPA Canada among its members, also work with international organizations such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Business at the OECD, and the B20.

In February 2018, Finance Canada released a discussion paper seeking stakeholders’ views on how to improve the Canadian AML/ATF regime. Among other subjects, the paper sought views on corporate ownership transparency and mechanisms to improve timely access to beneficial ownership information by authorities while maintaining the ease of doing business in Canada. CPA Canada submitted a response to the discussion paper providing input on several legislative and regulatory subjects.

In November 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance completed its review of the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. Among its recommendations, the committee recommended that the federal government work with the provinces and territories to create a pan-Canadian beneficial ownership registry, which would be accessible to certain law enforcement authorities and other public authorities.

The federal government passed legislation in 2018 that amends the Canada Business Corporations Act to require any federally-incorporated corporation that meets certain criteria to keep a register of information on beneficial ownership. This requirement came into force in June 2019. CPA Canada and the federal government teamed up to prepare Canadian CPAs for changes to comply with requirements for new beneficial ownership registers.

Provinces and territories have agreed to pass similar legislation applicable to provincially-incorporated companies. Several provinces and territories joined with the federal government in Spring 2020 for public consultations on public registries of beneficial ownership information.

Additionally, as reporting entities with obligations under the AML/ATF regime, accountants and accounting firms have seen changes to regulations in 2019 with some changes regarding identity verification immediately in effect and others which came into effect in June 2020, or in some cases, will be coming into effect in June 2021.

CONSULTATIONS

  • CPA Canada submission in response to Strengthening Corporate Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada, April 2020
  • CPA Canada submission to the Department of Finance Canada discussion paper, Reviewing Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime, May 2018

BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

Approaches to Beneficial Ownership Transparency: The Global Framework and Views from the Accountancy Profession
CPA Canada and IFAC | May 2020

Strengthening Corporate Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Canada.
Government of Canada | February 2020

Prepare for changes to comply with requirements for new beneficial ownership registers (Recorded webinar)
Corporations Canada | Spring 2019

Reporting Entities: Accountants
Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC)

Guidance for a Risk-Based Approach for the Accounting Profession
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) | 2019

Confronting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing: Moving Canada Forward
House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance | November 2018

Reviewing Canada's Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime
Department of Finance Canada | February 2018