Keeping Canada Safe

On June 23, 2008 changes to the federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act will come into effect. These will change how we do real estate in Canada. All real estate transactions completing after June 23rd will need to comply. This means you will be asked for identification when you buy or sell a home. All transactions will require your name, address, date of birth, and information about your occupation or principal business. You will also need to produce government issued identification to verify your information (ie. a driver's licence or passport). Not all of this is new. Currently a Contract of Purchase and Sale requires the name, address and occupation of the Buyer and Seller. These changes are aimed at fighting money laundering and terrorism...currently 2 - 5 per cent of our global economy (up to $2.25 trillion) is from money laundering, says Charles Gonzales, a Compliance Officer with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. He spoke at a seminar for members of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver on April 17th aimed at explaining what FINTRAC is and how it affects all of us. He reported that Canada has the second highest number of terrorists after the USA and that FINTRAC's main concern is terrorist financing. In 2007, FINTRAC made 193 case disclosures with a total of $9.8 billion and reported that more than half had a real estate component to them. He said this confirms an old RCMP report which said over 50 per cent of money laundering involves real estate. These changes will help create a level playing field for all financial transactions in Canada (ie. matching information required for the bank, mortgage broker, casino, life insurance broker and accountant). Real estate companies will also be required to report suspicious transactions, check for client names on terrorist lists and report cash deposits of $10,000 or more. Now we all will have a part in fighting terrorism in Canada!

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