FINTRAC or Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada is a Canadian intelligence unit and a regulatory body that is primarily responsible for preventing money laundering and terrorism while at the same time maintaining the safety and protection of the personal information under its domain.
There are 13 federal agencies in Canada that overlook Canada’s Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorist Financing Regime and FINTRAC is one of them.
This mandate has been drawn up by the center to ensure that all business enterprises comply with the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. It allows the law enforcements like the police and national security to obtain necessary information avoid terrorist or unlawful activities such as money laundering and other terrorist activitis that threaten the financial security of the country and its people at large.
FINTRAC is an independent body that functions without any close association to the police service or other such entities. However, when necessary the Centre is able to produce data that help law enforcements in other proceedings.
FINTRAC has its headquarters in Ottawa, and has its regional offices in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto. FINTRAC is affiliated and reports to the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance directly reports the functions of the Centre to the Parliament.
These are some of the responsibilities that FINTRAC is required to fulfill as per the mandate.
- According to PCMLTFA, they receive reports on financial transactions and other voluntary informations
- They are also required to protect personal information that is shared in their confidence.
- Under PCMLTFA and Regulations, they are required to ensure that all business entities abide by the rules and regulations.
- They also maintain a registry that records all kinds of monetary services and transactions in Canada
- They also gather reports and intelligence on terrorist activities and issues like money laundering. Their reports are meant to aid in the investigations on such unlawful activities.
- They produce data on money laundering and terrorist activities by researching and studying data patterns and trends.
- They also spread awareness for public benefits regarding money laundering and other terrorist activties.
FINTRAC is associated with Egmont Group, an international organized that works together to prevent terrorist activities and money laundering through their information exchange and collaborative efforts.
FINTRAC also lends its support to various other organizations such as Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering(APG), and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force( CFATF) by sharing information.
Personal Information and Privacy Protection
FINTRAC falls under Privacy Act which strictly regulates and protects all personal information collected from individuals. Failing to protect the privacy of the individuals can result in heavy penalization, upto a fine of $500,000 or imprisonment of five years.
However, there are exceptions when information can be disclosed by FINTRAC to the police or any other investigating body on grounds of emergency.
Information collected by FINTRAC is retained for 10 years. If it is not authorized for disclosure within that stipulated time, it is destroyed.