What Is Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)?
FINTRAC monitors financial transactions to prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illegal activities. Every year, the financial intelligence unit conducts a review of over 25 million transaction reports. To assist with investigations into money laundering and terrorist funding, FINTRAC released 2,046 instances of actionable intelligence during the 2020–21 reporting period.
At the heart of Canada's financial defense lies the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC). Tasked with combating illicit activities, such as money laundering and funding terrorist organizations, this vital agency keeps a watchful eye on monetary transactions. Reporting directly to the Minister of Finance and ultimately accountable to Parliament, FINTRAC stands as an unwavering pillar of integrity.
Headquartered in the nation's capital, Ottawa, FINTRAC strategically extends its reach with offices in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. These regional outposts serve as operational hubs, allowing swift and comprehensive action against financial crimes.
Under the astute leadership of Sarah Paquet, the Director and Chief Executive Officer, FINTRAC demonstrates an unwavering commitment to its mission. In the 2020-21 budget year, the agency allocated a substantial C$62 million and employed a dedicated team of 372 full-time equivalent staff. Through their collective efforts, FINTRAC ensures the stability and security of Canada's financial landscape.
Protecting Financial Transactions: The Power of FINTRAC
Established in 2000 under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, FINTRAC ensures the integrity and security of financial transactions. By diligently monitoring and analyzing reports, it unveils patterns of money laundering and terrorist financing, preserving the nation's financial landscape.
As part of its comprehensive operations, FINTRAC collects pertinent personal data from individuals and organizations, a necessary step to fulfill its mission. Adhering to all relevant regulations, including the Privacy Act, the agency keeps this information protected, under lock and key.
Despite operating independently, FINTRAC maintains a pivotal role in collaboration. Authorized to share vital discoveries, such as identifying financial criminals, with legal authorities, it fuels the efforts of law enforcement agencies. By bridging the gap, FINTRAC enables swift action, allowing for the detainment or arrest of suspects.
An essential component of Canada's financial ecosystem, FINTRAC operates under the watchful eye of the Minister of Finance. It is an unwavering accountability pillar, reporting its findings in compliance with the Access to Information Act. As a result, the public gains insight into the agency's tireless efforts to combat financial crimes.
Recognized globally for its unwavering dedication, FINTRAC joined the prestigious Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in 2002. This esteemed network unites financial analysis organizations worldwide in a collective effort to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Among its notable members are the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in the United States and the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the United Kingdom.
Amidst its unyielding pursuit of justice, FINTRAC made 2,046 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence during the 2020-21 reporting period. This remarkable figure exemplifies the agency's commitment to uncovering the truth and securing Canada's economic prosperity.
Data Management: Strengthening Privacy at FINTRAC
Safeguarding privacy is a paramount concern for FINTRAC, which operates within the boundaries set by Canada's Privacy Act. This legislation ensures that personal information collected by the agency is used solely for its intended purpose. Moreover, individuals can access their data and rectify inaccuracies, fostering transparency and accountability.
In 2009 and 2013, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) conducted audits that shed light on concerning practices at FINTRAC. The audits uncovered the collection of irrelevant information, prompting the agency to take action. While a commitment to minimizing the data held was made following the 2009 audit, the subsequent 2013 review revealed a failure to fulfill this pledge. This revelation drew criticism from the OPC and other observers who urged FINTRAC to promptly address its excessive data accumulation.
Under mounting pressure, FINTRAC recognizes the urgency of implementing efficient measures to curtail unnecessary data retention, aligning its practices with privacy standards and the expectations of stakeholders.
FINTRAC prevents money laundering and terrorist financing through robust monitoring of financial transactions. Led by Director Sarah Paquet, it allocates significant resources and collaborates with legal authorities to identify and apprehend financial criminals. Committed to privacy protection, FINTRAC addresses concerns and reduces data retention. As a member of the Egmont Group, it contributes globally to combat financial crimes. With an unwavering commitment, FINTRAC ensures Canada's financial security.