The federal government has introduced several new regulations for Realtors that go into effect Monday, June 23rd, to help detect and deter money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities. It is also to facilitate investigations and prosecutions of money laundering and terrorist activity financing offences.
How does this affect you? You will now be asked to produce government issued documentation, such as a drivers license or passport, to verify your identity for most real estate transactions. The information will be recorded and kept on file. All information recorded is held in strict confidence.
Among other things, real estate agents are now required to:
- Collect personal information on all parties with a financial connection to a real estate deal;
- Verify this information with proof of identity
- Maintain these records for seven years
Failure to comply with the record keeping or client identification requirements can lead to criminal charges against Realtors and their brokerages. Conviction of failure to retain records could lead to up to five years imprisonment, to a fine of $500,000, or both. Alternatively, effective December 30, 2008, failure to keep records or identify clients can lead to an administrative monetary penalty.
For more information, visit the federal government's webpage regarding FINTRAC, The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, at http://www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca/fintrac-canafe/1-eng.asp.