Ottawa, ON, May 14, 2019 — Recent reports highlight real estate in Canada can be a haven for money launderers due to its stability and value. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) fully supports governments’ efforts to crack down on money laundering.
CREA would like to underscore the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s position, “real estate transactions are complicated and don’t just involve REALTORS®.” While REALTORS® work to fulfil their obligations, other parties involved in real estate also play a role. Layering illicit funds within a transaction can be done in different, complex ways and is not easily identified. For example, “For sale by owner” and lawyers aren’t required to comply with the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) regulations.
REALTORS® work to help Canadians achieve their homeownership aspirations, and we agree this issue must be addressed to limit the possible impact on market prices and housing affordability. The anonymity of real estate transactions opens the opportunity for illegal activity, and its critical reporting entities have access to the tools required to gain visibility into these transactions. For example, a publicly accessible registry with beneficial ownership information for corporations would allow reporting entities to remove the anonymity and invisibility within certain transactions and potentially link activities to possible corruption.
CREA continues to work closely with FINTRAC to support REALTORS® by providing tools and resources to assist in complying with requirements of Canada’s Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and regulations.